Drumshalloch Croft

After yesterday’s ride from Montrose to Aberdeen, I came back to our current home near Banchory. Since I have lived here for 32 years (more than half my life), I think this house deserves a post to itself.

Yesterday’s 121 km route (running totals now 2483 km, and 24,443m climbing)

A croft is a small farm, with usually enough land attached to enable a small family to be self-sufficient with a bit of trading. Drumshalloch Croft lies on the Leys Estate associated originally with Crathes Castle and when it was crofted, had around six associated fields. Farming in the 20th century tended towards larger, more efficient farms based on an increasing use of machinery (a trend that continues) and Drumshalloch Croft ceased being a farm in the early 1970s. In 1987, Leys Estate sold the buildings to me. The croft house faces south and its downstairs rooms have high ceilings, with correspondingly low ceilings upstairs. This makes the downstairs rooms very light and was probably the one thing that attracted me most. A set of steadings (outbuildings used for cows and a diary) were also on the plot with a couple of sheds completing the buildings. The croft comes with its own water supply and septic tank.

Drumshalloch Croft as purchased in 1987
The trees and bushes have grown higher, there are roof-top solar panels and an extension has been built across the drive. The drystone dyke has been rebuilt. Drumshalloch Croft 2019
The steadings in 1987, the left hand half of these is the oldest building on the plot, probably dating back about 250 years. The right end was added around a century ago.
The steading now forms an extension to the house. The right hand end was added as part of the extension. A chimney was also added. The driveway that was here was dug out entirely by hand and has gone to form the drystone walls around the property (with some left over!). This bed is partly (naturally sown) wildflowers this year. The steading roof contains around 650 soprano pipistrelle bats that emerge each evening from the vent visible in the centre of the roof line.
A view down the driveway in 1987, well before the steading was incorporated into the house
Drumshalloch Croft in August 1973. Farming from the croft seems to have stopped by this date
Drumshalloch Croft in 1992, additions include a greenhouse (bought at auction for £20) and drystone walls taking in the house’s sewage system
Drumshalloch Croft in 2002 shortly after the extension was finished and the back garden had begun to become established.

When I moved to Drumshalloch Croft in 1987, Banchory village was about 2 km away and the little valley it is set within was totally dark at night. Banchory has been expanded, basically as a dormitory town for Aberdeen (though the planners claim otherwise) and nearly all the addition has been on “our” side of the village. The dark was lost in the valley about 15 years ago, and within the next two years it is likely that houses will be built up to about 100m from the croft. Sadly I doubt that we will stay much after that occurs – the peace will be gone too.

4 thoughts on “Drumshalloch Croft

  1. Hi Mark, a big well done on your cycling perseverance! Great to see you’ve made it to your current abode and beyond and good luck to the finish line. Its a shame that urban spread may force a home move, though I’m sure you’ll be able to find somewhere fine and dark (at night) to stay…may be able to persuade a few bats to move in with you.


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