Callie Bothy has been designed and built by us, Phil and Allie Tomlinson.
In April 2011 we bought six and a half acres of farmland called Lower Calliemuckie. The name comes from the Gaelic coille meaning forest and muc meaning pig. The land was formerly part of Pluscarden Estate which was attached to the 13th century Priory. The ruins of some of the small Crofts that were established during the 18th century are still visible. However the majority of the land that surrounds our property is now farmland with cattle and sheep grazing in the fields all year round.
There is a great deal of forestry nearby and the woods support a good diversity of wildlife including red and roe deer, badgers, foxes, pine martin, red squirrels and brown hare. There are no longer wild boar roaming the woods, however our two Gloucester Old Spot pigs are happily retired here. They help turn over and fertilise the land making tree planting easier. To date we have planted over twelve hundred trees, mainly birch, oak, Scots pine, alder, rowan and willow. In 2014 we created a large wildlife pond in the woods and established eighty meters of hedgerow, comprising of hawthorn, blackthorn, elder, juniper, bird cherry, holly, dog rose and hazel.
We have also sown large areas with wildflower mixes specially developed by Scotia Seeds in Angus.
We will continue to plant many more trees in the main field and plan to develop another large wildlife pond. Now that Callie Bothy is complete and ready to welcome guests, we can finally begin the process of building a permanent straw bale family home.