Guest Blog- A family’s connection with Kingairloch

We know you enjoy reading guest blogs on our website from the emails that we receive. The latest one is about a family’s connection with Kingairloch that has lasted for 45 years; they first came to Kingairloch when the estate was owned by the Strutt family. This in itself is an interest part in the estate’s fabric as there aren’t too many people who know the estate over two ownerships.

We hope you enjoy reading Malcolm Goldrings article about his love of the estate and his and his wife’s home-from-home; South Corrie.

South Corrie, Kingairloch Estate

South Corrie

If you walk across from the Home Farm (also known as North Corrie Farm)  to the far side of Loch a ‘Choire (and you can drive there now!), round towards Seaview Cottage, you may have noticed a house set back from the track and wondered who lives there. South Corrie isn’t a holiday cottage but a leased property, and it’s been a part of my family’s life for about 45 years now.

South Corrie is another home, not just where we come to for our holidays; it’s somewhere Rebecca and I escape to, where we find peace and tranquillity, away from our busy lives elsewhere. (Rebecca is a primary school teacher, and I’m a retired teacher, lecturer, schools’ inspector, choir and orchestra conductor and Official Prison Visitor.) Although we have a landline, there’s no internet, no reliable mobile signal – unless you walk up the hill behind the house where you might just get one bar’s signal if you’re lucky – or unlucky! – and no television.  It’s what I call ‘Paradise on Earth’ and we go there as often as we can; sometimes we come together, and sometimes I come up with a friend or two who appreciate what the estate has to offer.

If you’ve been coming to Kingairloch for a number of years, you may well remember the previous laird, Patricia Strutt. (In fact, I can remember her husband, Arthur, who died in 1977.) She was an extraordinary person, almost larger than life, always happy to stop and chat – provided you patted her dogs in equal measure otherwise they’d get jealous! Rebecca and I live in Leicestershire and often visit Belper, a small town in Derbyshire whose development in the 20thcentury was due very much to the philanthropy of the Strutt family. Last Christmas I directed a concert in the church which George Herbert Strutt attended – Christchurch; the previous summer I conducted a concert in what is now the Strutt Centre. The links between Belper and Kingairloch are very strong.

George Herbert Strutt sat in front of Kingairloch House

George Herbert Strutt (father of Arthur Strutt) sat in front of Kingairloch House

Kingairloch is a part of me. My three sons (now aged 44, 42 and 40) used to spend most childhood holidays here, paddling in the streams in the summer (when they were toddlers, usually with no clothes on!) or making castles with the rocks. Kingairloch is a sanctuary for children. What was wonderful last year was to see one of my grandchildren doing exactly what his dad had done over forty years ago. He lives in Calgary (and another son lives in the States) so visiting the estate isn’t quite as easy for them as it once was. We come whenever we can and to whatever the weather throws at us. We’ve sat in the front garden for too long in sweltering sun, and, in contrast, suffered at the minus 15 degrees winter a few years ago – during which I slipped on some ice just down the drive from South  Corrie and breaking my wrist.Castles built in the river between South Corrie and Seaview CottageCastles built in the river between South Corrie and Seaview Cottage

It may seem odd to say this: in many ways nothing has changed over the years, but in many ways much has changed. When the Larsons took over the Estate from Patricia Strutt, the tranquillity and pace of life remained the same. However, a determination to safeguard its special qualities was matched by a need to ensure its future survival; thus, innovative opportunities were introduced – new hydro and biomass schemes, an expansion of the holiday cottages, a more efficient and humane deer management programme, the wonderful Boathouse. What we have found especially gratifying is that any new building or refurbishment work on the estate has been mindful of the need to preserve original materials and designs as far as possible. The steadings at South Corrie are a case in point; when the roof needed renewal, it would have been much easier to have used cheaper materials, but the finished product has restored it so that it should last a good few decades yet. The way in which a functional Edwardian boathouse (which doubled up as a furniture store in later years) was transformed into a unique restaurant showed great imagination and tasteful creativity.

Re-roofing the steadings at South Corrie

The old Steadings at South Corrie being re-roofed.

In 1996 I fulfilled an ambition by bringing a small choir to give a concert in the kirk at Camus; the church was packed, and it was my way of giving something back to the estate and its community. We are so grateful that we have been, and are, a part of this remarkable and very special place.

Malcolm Goldring

South Corrie, Kingairloch