Inspired by a post first lockdown holiday to the south end of the island, to stay in a friends converted bothy, we decided we would get a plan together to rebuild an old ruin which had been on the radar for a while.
The Shephers Bothy is our newest letting property. Originally built as a house for the estate Shepherd, its most recent use was has been for the gas works which provided the Castle with gas. After the introduction of electricity in the Castle, gas was no longer required and the cottage had fallen into a state of disrepair and had become a home for old cast iron baths, sinks and cookers!!
During Covid, we began the clearout. We recycled as much as we could and all the other junk was taken to the dump. I think we are pretty typical, if we have space to save anything we do!
The cottage sits on a wee farm track, just below the coffee shop. It benefits from the morning sun and some late afternoon/early evening sun as well. When the trees are a bit thinner, the sunset and the sea come into view. The immediate trees around the cottage had grown up around the ruin and had to come down. Three had to be removed, and this would create a lot more light to the property and prevent future damage.
After the trees were removed, the walls of the building were made stable. Parts had to be removed and rebuilt, the banking at the back had to be dug out to prevent dampness, and the whole building had to be picked and pointed and built up until it was to the right heights and level.
The cottage was a typical small cottage, it had one large room and a solid wall which partitioned off another small room with a doorway out to the sea. We decided we would turn the smaller area in to the kitchen, add an internal bathroom and have a full height sitting room with a mezzanine bedroom on top of the bathroom and kitchen.
The large trees surrounding the cottage are really visible from above. They were professionally removed to prevent any damage. The walls are all secured here and the building is almost ready for the roof.
There was a round wall which protruded from the ground beside the cottage. Tom got stuck in with his digger and this is when we discovered this was an old gas tank. The pipes were all still in situ and the tank was about 10ft deep when emptied. It had been filled with old bottles and jars and lots of other old discarded items from the Castle, a lonesome black leather shoe was also discovered. We contemplated doing something with the tank, but we decided to fill it back in and leave for someone else to discover in the future.
When the roof went on the cottage, it really started to take shape. At the time when we started building it was during Covid and money was tight so we could afford to just get it done. It took a while with various different tradesmen coming when they could.
We opted for a black tin roof and added some vellux windows to keep the cottage nice and light. The lintels on the windows were replaced and we installed modern looking doors. We added a panoramic slim window above the bed for the view. The cottage was very well insulted and we hoped to keep a cosy feel, it made sense to add a wood burning stove.
When the roof had gone on, and the walls plastered, it was impressive to see how high the ceiling was. From the outside it has a real old bothy feel, but inside it is very light, airy and contemporary.
As the cottage sits by a farm track, landscaping has been difficult. At present it sits in a field where we generally keep our bulls. Adding some more shrubbery is a waste of time as the bulls like to hang out in the sun trap of a patio! Future landscaping is on the cards when we have cordoned off the area from our four legged neighbours.
This lovely little cottage is available for booking on a weekly basis on our website.