Borve Estate Newsletter 2

Borve Lodge Estate under new Management

steveOur new manager, Steve Woodhall, has taken the reins at Borve Lodge Estate. Steve has a perfect pedigree for the job, having extensive experience in managing exclusive game estates in both Canada and the UK. A former NCO in the Scots Guards, Steve was also a Regional Officer with the British Association for Shooting and Conservation.

He is a qualified trainer and assessor for wild deer management qualifications, and has strong connectivity with the sporting fraternity. “I am absolutely delighted to have the opportunity to be involved in the development of this wonderful traditional sporting estate,’ says Steve. “Borve Lodge Estate has a long history of sporting excellence and I am looking forward to reaffirming our position as one of the premier sporting destinations in the UK.

“The landscape and scenery are majestic and will provide an incredible backdrop for all of our guests. The island of Taransay provides a truly unique deer stalking experience and with the opportunity to develop the Red Grouse and Woodcock shooting, the future is very exciting. I am looking forward to welcoming all of our guests and working closely with you to ensure that your stay is genuinely unique and exceptional.”

S&TUnder Steve’s management, we will initiate plans to reinvigorate the sportings of the estate, starting with the salmon fisheries on our Laxdale system, Europe’s smallest natural salmon system. Steve, seen here taking advice from a previous factor, Tony Scherr, is already monitoring closely the deer herd on the island of Taransay, which given its location and absence of invasive competition, is probably one of the most genetically pure Red Deer populations in the UK and provides excellent opportunities for Stag and Hind stalking in season.

We will keep you all posted on our plans, but be assured that any visitors planning to stay at the estate for Sporting opportunities will be well-looked after by Steve and his team.

Harris blessed by the Trip Advisors

Taransay-FankIt came as no surprise to us that Harris (and Lewis) recently topped the poll of reviewers on Trip Advisor as the best island in Europe, and ranked fifth in the world, competing with leading tropical locations. The report states that “an island holiday usually conjures images of faraway palm-lined beaches, white sand and crystal clear water, but the results of this year’s awards reveal that the ideal island getaway might be closer to home than you think.”

Our 100% subjective view, and at the risk of being tried for heresy, or being bashed while visiting Stornoway, is that:

a) Harris is demonstrably more wonderful than Lewis (bigger mountains, more beaches);

b) Further, the best part of Harris is the west coast (location of best mountains and best beaches);

c) Further, the best part of west Harris is the coastline of Borve Lodge Estate (yes, you guessed it, right in the middle of best mountains and best beaches)

So those of you who have not yet experienced this wondrous location, please come. Those of you who have already who have already visited, please return, and experience the ever-changing moods of West Harris…

Walls of Water, and Wondrous Wind

Star-Bay-WavesAnd on that topic, a communication from the far north should always include some details on the weather, which to a great degree governs our life in West Harris. While the rest of the UK had a winter that could definitely be described as ‘Hebridean,’ it can also be said that we had more than our fair share of wind and deluge.

We are no strangers to such events, and the landscape is designed to cope with plenty of water. No talk of dredging rivers here, as downpours of whatever intensity flush into streams and rivers, roaring over rocks and around heather to rise to significant volume en route into the Atlantic. Nobody up here would be as daft as to build on a flood plain, so the torrential rain usually passes through with no great harm, beyond leaving some very saturated sheep and grumpy-looking Highland cows. Or to be completely correct, more-grumpy-looking-than-usual Highland cows.

Wave-WallThe wind is not as merciful, and it will blast over in eddies and flows, and if you get caught up in it, there is really no escape. One 10-minute-long fury hit us just before Christmas, and in that time ripped off the roof of a conservatory at the Lodge, and punched a hole in Fiona’s lair, the new polytunnel. These will be repaired, but were salutary events as our buildings can typically withstand a pounding.

The wind will also create high drama on the oceans. When a strong swell is coming in from the Atlantic to the west, and it is met by fierce wind from the east, the result are walls of water that hammer the coast with fearful symmetry. We wimp out of any Taransay trips on these days, and go for the indoors cocoa option. But for those who visited in tranquil summer times, we include a few shots of the estate headland under full Atlantic assault. And be assured that spring is on its way.