I have deep roots in the Braemar community - my ancestors are mentioned in the earliest records. They were shepherds and blacksmiths, and many of my relatives still live in the village. Braemar has always been a place of fun packed adventures for me. As a young child I came here each summer to visit family and to enjoy running in the hills and taking photos of the stunning surroundings. I still run, I still take photos, and now I’m lucky to share these adventures with my husband Julian and our two spaniels.
Julian and I hadn’t known each other long when we began to discuss a move to the country to run a guesthouse. It was something we had dreamed of for many years. We both enjoyed our jobs at the time - Julian was an academic specialising in energy economics, advising governments and companies around the world. I was an oboist in the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and, towards the end of my career as a musician, I had begun working as a chef in restaurants in Edinburgh. We were both drawn to the Cairngorms and, after looking at over 100 properties, Callater Lodge almost found us. The sale went through on our wedding day and we shared the news with our friends that night (Julian still owes me half a honeymoon!).
Our first guests arrived just minutes after the removal van left, and we traded for two months before closing for an extensive refurbishment. Those days were hard. Working with a loyal team, we put in 16 hour days, seven days a week throughout the winter, and all with no central heating, seats or beds. Each night we would throw down our sleeping bags in any space we could find among the dust.
Three years on, we still feel excited and privileged to live and work in Braemar. We’ve had the time to become part of the community - Julian is now a member of the Braemar Mountain Rescue Team and Chair of the Braemar Tourism Group, and I am one of the Creative Team for the Braemar Mountain Festival. We love sharing our Royal Deeside/Cairngorms with our guests.
There is no place we would rather be.