Diversifying to survive

Mrs Oswald is welcomed to Kinblethmont by owner Robert Ramsay.
Mrs Oswald is welcomed to Kinblethmont by owner Robert Ramsay.

Helen Oswald, Angus Provost, was recently given an insight into how an innovative approach has helped a family retain its estate for the last six centuries.

During a visit to Kinblethmont, Mrs Oswald heard how novel approaches to farming, energy and properties are helping to keep the estate viable in the same family since the 15th century.

Robert Ramsay, who runs the 3,000 acre property near Arbroath, explained that over the last 15 years Kinblethmont has diversified into holiday lettings.

He continued: “This led to a programme of transforming unused estate buildings into spacious, modern holiday cottages.

“We now have seven holiday cottages, sleeping from four to 14 guests, which have good occupancy rates throughout the year. We also started regularly hiring out Kinblethmont House on an exclusive-use basis for large groups, weddings, conferences and other special events.”

To supplement income and reduce costs, renewable energy technology has been introduced including solar panels and wind turbines, straw-fuelled grain dryers and biomass boilers which burn wood from Kinblethmont Estate.

During her visit, Mrs Oswald was also show around Kinblethmont House, the walled garden and the renowned Kinblethmont Art Gallery, which his parents opened 10 years ago.

She said: “Kinblethmont adds to our county’s wealth of first class accommodation providers and is an inspiring example of how new technology and renewable energy can be harnessed to great benefit.”