Restoration of rural cottage ‘a labour of love’ for couple
Deeside: Derelict croft designated a Grade A listed building of national importance
A derelict croft which was last inhabited in 1930 has been painstakingly restored after it was revealed to be a building of “national importance.”
Downie’s Cottage was built in the mid1850s but was last inhabited when its tenant James Downie died.
The cottage at Tomintoul Farm near Braemar in Deeside had become obscured by trees over the years and was set to be flattened to make way for a new family home.
But the new owners of the three-acre site, Jackie and Calum Innes, from Blairgowrie, who bought the property in 2006, quickly realised the significance of the building.
They found box beds with straw mattresses still in place and a large ‘hanging lum’ – a timber chimney flu typical of 19th Century homes in rural Scotland.
The couple also found a range of personal items left behind including clothing, boxes of Christmas cards and pieces of ribbon stored away as keepsakes.
Upstairs, pages from old magazines and newspapers lined the walls and they also discovered a horse-drawn sledge to navigate wintry conditions.
When Historic Environment Scotland (HES) was contacted, Downie’s Cottage was immediately given Grade A listed status.
The property is now viewed as a “building of national importance” and an “exceptionally rare” surviving example of this type of rural building.
A restoration was guided by HES which Jackie has described as a “labour of love” after finally finishing the project.
She added: “It hasn’t made any sense in terms of effort or money but we feel that we have done the right thing.”
The restored cottage, which is built on what is thought to be Scotland’s highest piece of farmland, will open up for a new generation as a holiday home.
It has been left mostly untouched since it was last inhabited in the 1930s and the work used the same methods and materials from the 19th Century.
Downie’s Cottage was built in the 1850s and completely restored to its original glory by new owners Jackie and Calum Innes from Blairgowrie. Pictures: SWNS.