Dirven by an ambitious and visionary philosophy, Mark Gibson was determined to achieve the extraordinary. The philosophy was:
• The restoration and preservation of the main buildings and designed landscape.
• The long-term viability of the estate and its part in the wider community.
• The welfare of the farmed animals.
• The conservation and enhancement of habitats and the wild flora and fauna which inhabit them.
• To act as a catalyst for the economic and environmental regeneration of the Doon Valley and beyond.
All of the restoration work carried out was done with respect to the estate’s history and location. Where possible, the estate have sought to use original materials and techniques. Work carried out to date includes:
• Re-slating and re-leading the roof. Rebuilding the dormer windows and chimneys. Sanding and oiling age-stained panelling and floors. Restoring the Jansen designed interiors and wall paintings. Installing a biomass heating system incorporating the original German radiators. Rewiring and connecting the house to mains water.
• Rebuilding the clock tower and fully restoring the roof, using the original Ballachulish slates. They also refurbished the wooden panelling in the Category A listed stables and re-cobbled the floors.
• Transforming two ruined cottages near the Glessel Burn into exceptional holiday cottages. The estate used as much of the original stone as possible. One of the cottages has a water reed thatched roof, reflecting the traditional roofing of much of Dalmellington in past centuries.
Now that all the listed buildings have been restored, ruined cottages and stone dykes rebuilt, a million hardwoods planted and the fields secured with newly created hedgerows, they we have moved into a new dawn of calm. The restoration work at Craigengillan has led to both permanent and part-time employment, something which is vital for the future of the Doon Valley and East Ayrshire.
“Craigengillan was like sleeping beauty; a marvellous jewel waiting to be rediscovered. Our ambitious aim is to make Craigengillan a living model of environmental excellence within the UNESCO Biosphere and Dark Sky Park.” Mark Gibson, owner.