Last week, we found out that we had been successful in securing EU funding from the Rural Development Fund, to assist us in building the units and landscaping the garden. It’s been about 18 months since we first submitted our application, before having to delay it due to the planning issues, but we’re finally there.
So… in the next few weeks we will finalise the plans and then we can start building.
Watch this space!
We’ve had great news this afternoon: finally, after many months of wrangling with the planning process, we’ve been given permission to proceed!
We now need to establish whether we’re able to be included in the current funding cycle or whether we’ve missed it due to the delay. We know we were okay if our permission had been given at the previous Planning Committee meeting, on the 25th of September, but the application deadline was the 5th of October (our application was in months before that because it’s been in from before the summer deadline, just waiting for planning permission!) and we haven’t been able to establish whether we needed our permission by that date in order to be allowed to proceed. Fingers crossed we can go through on this cycle, in which case we should be able to start building in January. Otherwise we’ll have to wait until the March cycle; with seven months of build time, that means we’ll miss the whole of next summer and be into the autumn before we can take bookings.
Still, this weekend will definitely be a time of celebration in our house!
We’ve got a bumper crop of blackberries in the garden this year, so we made a batch of jam today. It’s a very simple recipe:
Equal weights of blackberries (washed) and granulating sugar
1 tablespoon of lemon juice for each 0.5kg of blackberries
50ml of water for each 0.5kg of blackberries
- Place the blackberries, lemon juice and water in a large pan and gently heat until the fruit collapses (usually 2-3 hours).
- When the fruit mixture is pretty smooth, place your empty jars in a cold oven and turn on to 100°C.
- Gradually add the sugar into the fruit mixture and stir in.
- Bring the pan to a gentle boil, stirring almost continuously. Keep stirring until a drip will cling to the spoon: to check, lift the spoon out of the pan, turn it a couple of times and hold still. Some of the jam will run back into the pan but when it is ready, the last drip should remain hanging beneath the spoon. This usually takes 10-20 minutes.
- Remove the jars from the oven and stand on a heat-proof surface.
- Take the pan off the heat and use a heat-safe jug to scoop jam from the pan and pour into the jars, taking care not to touch the pan or splash the jam onto your hands.
- After filling all the jars, use a cloth to hold the hot jars while attaching the lids. This should be done while the jam is still hot.
- Leave the jars to stand for 12 hours and print some pretty labels for the sides!
We love this on wholemeal bread for breakfast, or on Scottish pancakes with a cup of tea.
Heart of Scotland Glamping will be a small-scale, family-run site in Polmont, just outside Falkirk, in the middle of Central Scotland. We are right beside Antonine’s Wall, a fifteen minute walk from the Union Canal and the John Muir Way, less than four miles from the Kelpies and the Helix Park, and just a 15 minute drive from the Falkirk Wheel. We’re also ideally situated for urban exploration across Scotland, being just twenty minutes by road from Stirling, thirty to forty minutes (longer at rush hour) from the centres of Edinburgh and Glasgow, about fifty minutes from Perth and just over an hour from Dundee; by rail we’re about 25 minutes to Glasgow and Stirling, 35 minutes to Edinburgh, just over an hour to Perth and about 90 minutes to Dundee.
For those more interested in the fabulous Scottish scenery, we’re just 25 minutes from the foot of the Ochils, 35 minutes from the Trossachs and the Pentlands, around an hour from Loch Lomond and just over an hour from Pitlochry and St Andrews. Even the views from the hill just behind the village are pretty spectacular, giving a panoramic vista from the Trossachs in the West, along the route of the River Forth, with the Ochils in the background, towards the three bridges across the Forth in the East, and the rolling countryside of Fife, beyond. If you’re a fan of the Outlander TV series, we’re perfectly located to follow in Jamie and Claire’s footsteps, with most of the key buildings being within a 35 minute drive and almost all the filming locations being within an hour! Take a look at VisitScotland’s map of Outlander locations and we sit more or less exactly in the middle of the triangle between numbers 4, 20 and 22.
Our site itself is tucked away in the walled garden belonging to the Grade B Listed Kinneil House, which was the former manse for the local church and was built in the 1730s. Indeed, the actual purpose of the glamping site is to generate a revenue to cover the maintenance of Kinneil House, enabling the property to become self-sustaining and thus ensuring that it can be enjoyed by future generations.
At present we are awaiting our final consents; gaining these have been a long and somewhat convoluted process but we are hopefully nearly there. We have been able to proceed with parts of our build but most of it has to wait until the final consents are secured. Once this happens, we’ll complete the six units, each custom-built to tie in with different themed areas of the garden. We’re currently aiming to open towards the end of this year, but that will depend on how quickly we are given our permissions.