Restora­tion of ru­ral cot­tage ‘a labour of love’ for cou­ple

Dee­side: Derelict croft des­ig­nated a Grade A listed build­ing of na­tional im­por­tance

The Courier & Advertiser (Dundee Edition) - - NEWS - sTe­warT alexan­der

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.

Pic­tures: SWNS.

Downie’s Cot­tage was built in the 1850s and com­pletely re­stored to its orig­i­nal glory by new own­ers Jackie and Calum Innes from Blair­gowrie.

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