The transformaton of Knock Old Castle.
Many meetings and discussions later the plans were finalized and approved. We moved to stage 2….the construction.
I at the time was working partly abroad so we appointed an excellent Project Manager, Andrew Rankin, who brought on board the main contractors, Fleming Masonry.
From the very start we were most impressed by not only Fleming’s work ethic, but also skill, particularly their carpenters and stone masons who produced superb quality work.
You will see from looking around, interesting quirky and imaginative stone and woodwork. OK the general concept was mine in the first place, but soon the Fleming boys ran with it and produced work with little supervision from me. Only once did I tactfully have to suggest that something be changed.
It is an ill wind that blows nobody any good….shortly after we pressed the proceed button for the project there was a hurricane force wind in January 2012 that brought down over 100 trees around the policies. It was heartbreaking at the time, but gradually things fell in to place. I got a woodsman from Perthshire with a mobile tree planker to come over once we had moved the downed trees and he spent about 5 separate weeks milling planks. We went for the oaks first, but then realized that we had a superb asset in the grounds…21 dead and big elm trees that had died of Dutch Elm disease….so we did them next, before going on to mill a selection of horse chestnuts, ashes, limes, sweet chestnuts, yews and sycamores. We gradually came to realise that in this way trees are capable of having a second life, of being born again!
We thus had abundant supplies of many kinds of wood and I asked the carpenters to use whatever they wanted, but with a particular request that I didn’t like straight lines and liked waney edges.
Apart from the oak framework of the two storey extension on the east side, all the timber in the building grew no more than 500 yards from where it is now used. This is what would have happened in the original Castle. As you can see we have tried to use timber whenever we can…the beds are elm. Railings and towel rails etc are yew, panels are oak and elm, doors are mainly elm , but some are oak.