I know we’re just about over it, but seasonal greetings to all our previous guests, regular guests, potential guests, casual browsers and those just interested in our journey to delivering an always improving visitor experience with an increasingly light footprint on our environment. We’ve got more exciting biodiversity action planned for this year, as well as taking a potentially huge stride towards “net-zero” well ahead of Scotland’s / sustainable business targets – indeed, it is possible we could go beyond this! Watch this space for news of further progress…..
2021 was another year full of surprises! Of course, not all of them good; and, unfortunately, the year ended with Covid yet again being a major cause for concern. A huge thank you to all our guests for continuing to book with us, and having trust in the cleaning and sanitising that our amazing Changeover Team continues to deliver (huge gratitude to you too [you know who you are!] – we’re looking forward to continuing to work with you to make a stay at Glencoldon Cottage the guest experience we [all!] get such good reviews for!).
There were certainly still many positives to the year. Despite the impacts of the pandemic, we were still able to make a few improvements, including those below:
Upgrading Heating / Comfort in Shower Room
We upgraded the heating in the (used-to-be-wee-bit-chilly) shower room and installed more modern energy+water efficient taps / sink – this is now the warmest room in the cottage on icy winter mornings!
Creating An “All Weather” Outdoor Seating / Tabled Area
The “all weather” part is yet to be fully tested, but time will tell if the large heavy duty parasol / umbrella will shrug off the worst of Highland winters and winds……
We have tried to make the area a wee bit immersed in the wild garden, with a good view to the forest and bird tables, but also close enough to the lawn / parking area that the barbeque can safely be used reasonably close to the table. Some regular guests have already christened it the “Nature Immersion Zone”. We’re just very happy our guests now have more opportunity to sit or eat out (when the midgies and horizontal rain allow!)!
Kicking Off Our Fund-Raising Support for the Cairngorms Trust
We feel every enterprise should have a purpose beyond profit; recognising the local community, shared environment and resources which enables it to thrive. So, since the very start of upgrading the cottage to become accommodation for Cairngorm visitors, we have worked with the Green Tourism Business Scheme to achieve their highest award. This initiative shares similar aims and values as the Cairngorms Trust, like maintaining and enhancing landscapes, wildlife, habitat, local culture, access / inclusivity, etc., as well as reducing waste, energy, carbon emissions etc.
So, at this time of climate and ecological emergency, when we realised that we had an opportunity to enable our guests to contribute more to the area which they clearly love, the fund-raiser opportunity offered by the Trust was perfect. Flexible, straightforward, supportive! We didn’t know what would be the best ways to collect contributions until we tried a few different methods. However, we are so pleased that we managed to raise £300 to the end of the year after starting in May 2021 – clearly, in no small way, partly due to the generosity of our guests!
We can still do better, but we are finding that a “% For Planet” for“Protecting Our Wild Places” is very much something our guests feel they want to support having just felt the benefit of enjoying time in the wild places of the Cairngorms.
But there are more and ongoing benefits too…..
Apart from the obvious “feel-good” factor from the feeling that we’re all doing the right thing, there are so many knock-on benefits to ourselves, our guests, and perhaps wider too, from highlighting the win-win-win of protecting and regenerating our wild places. Our guests are more likely to return (and do!) because they feel they have more “invested” in the area, and gain insight, which they might pass on, that we all win due to the work of the Trust and others; because it:
- enhances the incredible biodiversity that is the foundation of our overlooked life support systems
- protects the wild places as natural carbon “sinks”, storing vast quantities of carbon, protecting against climate change
- wakes us up to the fact that our own human wellbeing is linked to living as part of the natural world, not constantly fighting against it.
Our guests feel happier and more empowered that they have contributed, and so do we! More wins all round in 2022!
Pop back in a couple of weeks time when we would like to update you on some very exciting local cycle news!