Edinburgh-based Photographer Ewan Barry runs our popular Photography courses here at Gartmore House. We grabbed him in between shoots for a few questions over a quick cuppa and piece of cake…
Photography Courses at Gartmore House
Q: Give us your top 3 take-away tips for great photos
1. Get to know your equipment, whether it’s a phone or old school film camera – if you don’t know what the buttons do you won’t be in control of the way your image looks.
2. Regular practice – if you only get your camera out on the odd occasion, on holiday for example, the technical side of things will never become second nature.
3. Don’t try to fit everything into an image, try to remove as much as you can.
Tutor – Ewan Barry
Q: What’s your favourite thing to shoot and why?
A: I don’t have a single favourite subject. I think variety keeps things interesting and there’s often crossover – I’ll learn something on one type of shoot that I can apply to another at a later date.
Q: Who is the course at Gartmore House aimed at?
A: Anyone who enjoys the outdoors and landscape photography in particular. I can help identify subject matter, help with composition and I offer technical advice along the way.
A selection of photos from September’s course
Q: What level/type of experience do most people on the course have?
A: Generally, I’d say beginners to intermediate level although more experienced photographers would still benefit from visiting the locations we use and enjoy the evening discussions we often have on the artistic side of things.
Q: What kind of cameras do most people bring/use on the course?
A: All kinds, but you’ll get more from the course as well as better photographs if your camera has manual control settings.
Q: What’s the best thing about learning photography in Scotland?
A: If the weather and/or light conditions aren’t inspiring you at any given time, you won’t have to wait long for it to change.
Find out more about photography courses at Gartmore House, or give us a call on 01877 382991.
Knitting and Crochet breaks are one of the most popular crafting holidays here at Gartmore House. Tutor Samira Hill explains a bit more about what you can expect from a rewarding escape to rural Scotland, where you’ll get to grips with knitting needles and crochet hooks:
Our retreats are the perfect choice for a relaxing, creative and inspiring holiday, based around your favourite hobby! Have you got a project that has been hiding in your bag for ages, but you can’t find the time to finish it? Have you a pattern that you would love to get on with, but need help with it? Or are you a complete beginner who would you like to learn something new?
If so, you’ll find a wide selection of knitting and crochet workshops available, and you’ll choose which of these to work on ahead of your break (see course info for example workshops). During your time at Gartmore House you’ll be working on your chosen topic with me, Samira. The activities and workshops are designed to suit absolutely everyone, encompassing all abilities and levels of experience; there is no prior knowledge of a technique or topic required for those who would like to learn to knit, crochet, and learn Tunisian Crochet. For those with some experience in knitting, there are a lot of new techniques to explore, such as Brioche knitting, Entrelac knitting, Fair Isle, sock knitting, cables etc… For those with some knowledge of crochet, there are also some fun techniques to practice colour work stitches, texture stitches and crochet cables… As well as Tunisian Crochet!
I’ve designed each of the workshops so that by the end of your crafting holiday, you will have one or a few finished items to show off the new skills you have learnt. What’s more, you will have acquired a strong understanding of your new techniques, so that you can carry on exploring further on your own with confidence.
The workshops are suggestions only; I’m always on hand to help you with any topic or project that you would like to work on! The activity weeks are a great opportunity to relax, explore the peaceful surroundings of Gartmore Estate, indulge in the delicious food on offer, and enjoy friendly and inspiring crafty chats by the fire… and naturally the simple pleasure of working with your hands – knitting and crocheting all day of course!
Want to learn to waltz like they do on Strictly? Instead of just admiring the dancers on the telly, why not join them! Studies show that dancing is so good for you. Here are some of the benefits (in case you needed reminding why all those Strictly contestants look so happy and fit!).
Dancing can help you lose weight – you can burn around 400 calories an hour!
Dancing improves the condition of your heart and lungs.
Dancing increases muscular tone and strength
Dancing reduces stress and can significantly improve your mood.
Dancing helps you with your coordination and agility.
Plus, you’re bound to make lots of new friends!
Come to Gartmore House and take your first steps in learning to dance on a couples dancing weekend (if you don’t have a dance partner, don’t worry – you don’t need one to attend!). All levels welcome. All you need is a pair of dance shoes and a willingness to give it a go! Your dance tutor is the lovely Teresa Mcclymont from Dance Time Scotland – she will take you through the steps to learn ballroom dancing, swing, country and modern Jive.Stay in a historic house in Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park, with accommodation and full board included. Have a look at https://bit.ly/dancingweekends for dates and more info on courses or give us a call on 01877 382 991.
All of our bedrooms are en-suite apart from the ELO (a set of 3 rooms that share a bathroom). You will automatically be allocated an en-suite room, unless you specifically request a room in the ELO which will not be en-suite.
Do you have accessible bedrooms?
Yes, we have one accessible room and a lift to access all floors of the property.
Do you have bedrooms on the ground floor?
No, we do not have ground floor bedrooms, but we do have a lift to all levels.
Do all the bedrooms have a good view?
Our family bedrooms have the best views, looking towards Stirling Castle and the Wallace Monument. All other bedrooms have a side or back view of our grounds.
Are there TVs in the bedrooms?
There are no TVs in the bedrooms, however there is a TV that you can use in our Oak Room.
Is there WiFi?
There is no WiFi access in the bedrooms, however there is free WiFi in our public areas.
Are towels provided?
Yes, we provide towels for the en-suite bedrooms in the main house.
Are there hairdryers in the bedrooms?
Yes, there are hairdryers in the bedrooms.
I am under 18 years old, can I stay at Gartmore House without a parent/guardian?
No, if you are under the age of 18 you will require a parent or guardian to accompany you.
What is the booking process for B&B?
For B&B, full payment is taken at the time of booking.
What is the cancellation policy for B&B?
For B&Bs, if you have booked directly with us there is a 72 hour cancellation policy. If you have booked through booking.com, it is a non-refundable advanced purchase booking.
What time is check in/check out?
Check in is from 4pm, and we ask guests to check out by 10am on the day of departure.
I will be arriving late, will there be somebody to check me in?
There will always be somebody on duty to check you in, whether it is the receptionist or the night porter. If you are going to be very late, we would appreciate you letting us know in advance if possible please.
Can I bring my dog?
Yes, we are a pet friendly hotel. You can bring your dog at a charge of £10 per night. Unfortunately dogs must be kept in bedrooms; they will not be able to access food serving areas.
Can we make tea or coffee in our room?
Yes, we supply tea and coffee facilities in the bedrooms. FAQs about finding Gartmore House
How do I find Gartmore House?
Important: If you are using a satnav, it may try and take you through the village, along a rough track unsuitable for normal vehicles. Please do not go this way and follow the directions blow. Arriving from south (Glasgow): Take the A81 from Glasgow city centre, travel via Milngavie and Strathblane towards Aberfoyle. Continue past the sins for Gartmore village and Gartmore House is well sign posted on the left of the A81. Arriving from north (Perth) or east (Edinburgh): Travel towards Stirling on the M9 and leave the motorway at Junction 10 (marked for Stirling). Follow A84, sign posted for Callander. After 4 miles, take the A873 for Aberfoyle. After 17 miles, at the T junction, turn left onto the A81 towards Glasgow. In less than a mile, pass the sign for Gartmore village (continue on A81) and you will see Gartmore House clearly sign posted on your right.
Do you have parking?
Yes, we offer free parking.
Are there buses?
There are no buses, but there are reliable taxi services, Crescent Cabs and Buchanan Cabs. Crescent Cabs can be contacted on 07710 8000 or Buchanan Cabs on 01877 385 666.
Where is the nearest train station?
Stirling train station is the closest train station, it is about 30 minutes by car away from us. Or Milngavie train station (closer to Glasgow) is a 40 minutes drive away. For activity and crafting breaks only we offer a complimentary transfers; from Gartmore House to Stirling station (leaving the House at 10:00am), transfer from Stirling station to Gartmore House (leaving the station at 3:30pm). Please notify us in advance if you require this service.
Where is the nearest shop?
Gartmore village has a community shop that is a 10 minute walk away. For a bigger supermarket, Aberfoyle has a Co-op and is 2 miles away. FAQs about food and drink at Gartmore House
Do you have a restaurant/bar?
We do have a restaurant and a bar. The restaurant is open between 6pm-8pm.
Can I come for dinner even though I am not staying at Gartmore House?
Yes, however we would ask for 24 hours’ notice, as there may be a group in with exclusive use.
What time is breakfast served?
Breakfast is served between 08:00am-9:30am
Are special requests such as gluten free or other dietary requirements available?
Yes, we cater for gluten free, dairy free and vegetarian requirements. If you have any other special dietary requirements please contact us 24 hours prior to arrival. FAQs about craft & activity Breaks
What time is pick up and drop off from Stirling station, for the craft & activity breaks?
We offer a complimentary pick up from the station at 3:30pm on the day of arrival, and the drop-off service departs from the house at 10:00am on the day of departure.
What do I need to bring on my craft and activity break?
Your required kit list for your specific activity break will be listed in the area of the website that your activity break relates to. However, should you have any queries, then please feel free to contact us.
Where can I find out more about the course?
If you need further information about the course that is not on our website, please get in contact with us and we can provide you with the tutor’s contact details who will explain more about it to you.
How does the booking process work?
For craft and activity breaks, a £100 non-refundable deposit is required at the time of booking to secure your place, and the rest of the payment is due 6 weeks prior to arrival.
What is the cancellation policy for craft and activity breaks?
For cancellation of craft and activity breaks, your £100 deposit will not be refunded. The rest of your payment will be refunded if you have cancelled no later than 6 weeks prior to arrival.
Can I bring a ‘plus one’ to stay with me while I am on my craft and activity break?
You are more than welcome to bring someone along to stay with you (sharing the same room), while you are on your break. This is at a rate of £60 per night, on a full board basis. Other
What should I do if I have lost or left something in my room?
Send us an email or call if you think you have left something in you room, and we will do our best to find it and return it to you. However, we ask you to please reimburse us for the postage fee.
To make a booking, please give us a call on 01877 382991 or visit www.gartmoreestate.com
There is so much that goes on during an activity holiday at Gartmore House. We have put together an example activity holiday schedule, so you know what to expect when you arrive and over the next few days of your residential course. Sunday/Day 1 16:00Arrive and settle in. Tea and coffee available with a selection of home baking. You could use your free time to go for a walk along one of the area’s scenic routes, or take a wander up to Gartmore village, where there is a handy community-owned shop and friendly pub. 18:00 Welcome talk in the lounge. A member of our friendly team will give you a brief welcome talk. This is also an opportunity to get to know your tutor and other guests on your activity holiday. 18:30 Dinner time! Our fabulous chefs will make you a scrumptious 3 course dinner to start your week on a high. There is a set menu every day which offers 3 options for you to choose from. Example dinner mains include: Roast Loin of Pork, Pan-fried Fillet of Salmon or Sweet Potato and Chick Pea Curry. Please note: we will always cater to any dietary requirements we have been made aware of in advance. 21:00 Tea/coffee in lounge. Enjoy some down-time in the lounge, before the next busy day ahead.
Delicious dinner at Gartmore House
Monday/Day 2 08:30Breakfast. Get your day off to the best start with our wholesome cooked Scottish breakfast, made by our chefs using local produce. 10:00 Course begins (course will run until 4pm). Now the fun starts! You will get cracking on your projects for the week under the guidance of our expert tutors. For example on the Felting Holiday, previous guests have made hats, mittens or boots. 11:00 Tea/coffee break. Enjoy a little break with some tea/coffee and home baking. 13:00 Lunch. Enjoy a delicious homemade 2 course lunch and take a well-deserved break from the morning’s activities. An example lunch time menu is soup and a baked potato with filling. 15:30 Tea/coffee break. Time for an afternoon tea/coffee break, with some delicious home baking. 18:30 Dinner. Another freshly made 3 course dinner will be served. Further dinner menu examples include Tomato & Mozzarella Salad with balsamic glaze, Braised Beef and Sticky Toffee Pudding for dessert. 21:00 Tea/coffee in the lounge. A chance to chat and reflect on the day’s events.
Tuesday/Day 3 08:30 Breakfast. Another freshly made, traditional Scottish breakfast. 10:00 Course begins (course will run until 4pm). Another day to work on and progress with your projects. On a Photography Holiday for example, previous breaks have taken a trip to Loch Katrine to capture landscapes and water movement. 11:00 Tea/coffee break. Take a short break from your projects, and relax with a tea/coffee and cake. 13:00 Lunch. Another 2 course lunch will be served. An example of lunches includes soup and sandwiches. 15:00 Tea/coffee break. Time for some afternoon tea along with a selection of cakes. 18:30 Dinner. Our dinner menus vary daily, however another sample menu that you may be of your choice is: Trio of Melon Salad, Vegetable Kiev and Eton Mess. 21:00 Tea/coffee in the lounge before bed.
Double or Twin bedroom
Wednesday/Day 4 08:30 Breakfast. 10:00 Course begins. A further opportunity to progress on you projects. On a Watercolour Painting Holiday for example, you may work on your paintings in the studio or outdoors, weather permitting. 10:45 Tea/coffee break. Enjoy your morning tea/coffee break with another one of our chef’s mouth-watering cakes/tray bakes. 12:30 Lunch. An earlier lunch today as you will get the opportunity to go on a day trip later on. 13:30 Day trip. As you’ve been hard at work all week, we offer a complimentary day trip to either go and visit the Woollen Mill in Aberfoyle, or take a cruise on Loch Katrine. 15:30 Tea/coffee break. Return from your day trip to some light cakes and a tea or coffee. 18:30 Dinner. Once again, you will get to make 3 choices from our set menu of the day. More examples include: Breaded Brie Wedges, Breaded Haddock Fillet & Fresh Fruit Salad. 21:00 Tea/coffee in the lounge.
Thursday/Day 5 08:30 Breakfast. Once again a delicious full cooked Scottish breakfast. 10:00 Course begins (course will run until 4pm). This is your final day to work on your projects with the help of your tutor. On previous Knitting & Crochet Holidays, for example, guests have worked on a range of different knitting/crochet including: Tunisian crochet, brioche knitting, Aran Cables knitting or sock knitting. 11:00 Tea/coffee break. Again, with some home baking. 13:00 Lunch. Another 2 course lunch for you to enjoy. 15:30 Tea/coffee break. Your final afternoon tea break. 19:00 Dinner. A celebratory dinner will take place on the final night in our Cayzer room. This is a great opportunity to reflect on your week with your fellow guests. This will be followed by some entertainment in the lounge. We often have Scottish folk singer Gary Spiers come along, so make sure you’re in good voice if you want to join in! 21:00 Tea/coffee in the lounge.
Rainbows dyeing wool
Friday/Day 6 08:30 Breakfast. A traditional Scottish breakfast to finish your week. 10:00 Departure. We offer a complimentary drop off service back to Stirling train station on the day of departure. Please note: For weekend breaks the courses will run from 4pm on Friday, until 4pm on Sunday.
To enquire about any of our courses or to book, please visit our website www.gartmorehouse.com or give us a call on 01877 382991.
Today is National Thread The Needle Day which is the perfect excuse to get out the sewing machine. Although today is a day for sewing and those who enjoy the craft, it also has another meaning. The term “threading the needle” generally means to find a path through two opposing views. Therefore, you can train your skill on Threading the Needle Day to find harmony and balance.
At Gartmore House, we believe that taking time out, in beautiful and relaxing surroundings, allows us to get our balance back. Here are some reasons why we think sewing and ‘threading the needle’ is a fantastic hobby to enjoy. Sewing is a great form of relaxation and mindfulness
Sometimes it’s important to switch off and spend some time doing something with your hands. We all need a little time away from our screens and to do list. Crafting with our hands is extremely therapeutic. Sewing is uplifting
The bright and beautiful colours chosen for sewing items such as blankets and quilts can have an uplifting effect. This contributes towards feelings of happiness and confidence and provides a wonderful opportunity for sharing and socialising. Sewing is not as hard as it looks
At Gartmore House we offer a number of sewing activity breaks and get to watch our guests progress from beginners to advanced. With a little patience, anyone can sew, it’s just a case of learning the basics and then practising. Sewing patterns is fun and good for our brain
The process of sewing patterns together is really good for our brain co-ordination. They are also wonderful to look at and it is so satisfying to see progress. Here at Gartmore, Gill, our professional sewing tutor looks after our guests during their sewing activity breaks and will teach you everything you need to know about sewing patterns and getting the right fit.
To book a sewing break at Gartmore House
Complete the online enquiry form Call us on01877 382 991
This week marks the beginning of National Parks Week. This is National Parks family’s annual celebration of everything that is unique and wonderful about our 15 National Parks across the UK. Here in Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park we are spoilt for choice in terms of stunning Scottish scenery.
There are many things to do in Loch Lomond and The Trossachs, which is a hot pick destination for both tourists and Scottish locals from the likes of Glasgow and Edinburgh in pursuit of beautiful nature and outdoor activities. Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park was Scotland’s first national park, designated in 2002. Loch Lomond is the largest inland stretch of water in Great Britain by surface area, and the park contains 21 Munros, otherwise known as Scottish mountains, two forest parks, 22 lochs, and over 50 designated special nature conservation sites that are home to a variety of wildlife.
Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park is a stunning spot to visit all year round. If you love water related activities, campsites, and boat cruises, then Summer is a fantastic time to come. The most popular time to visit is between April and October as there is warmer weather, longer daylight hours, and more attractions are open.
However, the national park is also magical in the winter and if you are seeking peace and tranquillity then this could be the perfect time to come. We love to see the snow-covered landscape in the winter and of course, it is extremely comforting sitting by our open fire inGartmore Houseand looking out over the views.
Wherever you spend this week, we hope you enjoy some wonderful views.
Where in the world is Gartmore?! Gartmore House enjoys a picturesque location in a private 100 acre estate, located in the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park. We are in the midst of the 50,000 acre Queen Elizabeth Forest Park, stretching from the eastern shores of Loch Lomond to the rugged terrain of Strathyre. Escape to a peaceful place surrounded by mountains and moorland, forests, rivers and lochs. The area is home to red squirrels, osprey, buzzards, peregrines, deer and badgers. You’ll find us just a 5-10 minute walk from the pretty wee conservation village of Gartmore, which has a community-run shop and traditional pub. A few miles away is the larger village of Aberfoyle, the ‘Gateway to the Trossachs’ with a few shops, a small supermarket, several cafes and a Visit Scotland information centre.
Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park is fantastic for walking, cycling and just soaking up the scenery! Here are some useful websites for a bit of background reading on the area:
How to find us – IMPORTANT: If you are using a satnav then it may try to take you through the village, along a rough track unsuitable for normal vehicles (signed ‘no vehicle access to Gartmore Estate’). Please follow the directions below, which access the house from the A81. Our postcode is FK8 3RS. By roadfrom the south (Glasgow) – Take the A81 from the city centre; travel via Milngavie and Strathblane towards Aberfoyle. Continue past the signs for Gartmore village and Gartmore House is well sign-posted on the left off the A81. By road from the north – (Perth) or East (Edinburgh) Travel towards Stirling on the M9 and leave the motorway at Junction 10 (marked for Stirling). Follow the A84, signposted for Callander. After 4 miles (just beyond the Safari Park), take the A873 for Aberfoyle. After 17 miles, at the T-junction (next to the Rob Roy Motel), turn left onto the A81 towards Glasgow. In less than a mile, pass the sign for Gartmore village (continue on the A81), and you will see Gartmore House clearly sign-posted on your right. View a street map of the roads around Gartmore House. By Air – The closest airports to Gartmore are Glasgow International and Edinburgh International. Driving time from Glasgow is approx. 45 minutes and from Edinburgh approx 60 minutes. By Rail – Stirling train station is 18 miles from Gartmore House and has links to Glasgow or Edinburgh train stations. Milngavie train station is 16 miles from Gartmore House and has links to Glasgow and Stirling train stations. For a journey planner and useful information about public transport visit Traveline Scotland. By Bus – Buses to Gartmore are now on the DRT system, where a bus is replaced by a taxi. Request a taxi By Taxi – We recommend both Crescent Cabs and Buchanan Cabs. Both are local and reliable taxi companies.
Should you have any questions, then please feel free to get in touch with our friendly team, on 01877 382 991 or email email@example.com
Crafting is something we are passionate about at Gartmore House. Crafting comes in so many shapes and sizes. Some of our favourites here are knitting, sewing, felting, painting and lace-making.
Crafting offers many benefits. Some of us enjoy the full focus concentration when we are learning something new or doing something tricky or messy. This is a perfect opportunity to practise mindfulness. There is also a lot of social crafting activites – such as knitting. Here at Gartmore, we love bringing people together.
There are loads of fun crafting activites that you can do in the comfort of your home, perhaps to unwind over the weekend. This can be perfect for all the family, why not get the kids involved in a mini project such as a smaller version of the work you are doing?
Crafting also gives us a sense of pride and achievement, and it is also a wonderful opportunity to make personal, handmade gifts for people. In such a fast paced world, a handmade gift is a really special treat. We can all take the easy way out and buy a gift card or a bottle of wine, but homemade gifts are extremely thoughtful and a one-of-a-kind present that friends and family are likely to treasure forever. Nothing beats an original gift you know no one else will have.
At Gartmore House, we offer a wide selection of arts and craft breaks, including Knitting and Crochet and Patchwork and Quilting. Our activity breaks at Gartmore House are in a relaxed and comfortable setting. There is breath-taking scenery to enjoy looking out over The Trossachs National Park and cosy open fires to sit by.
For further information and to book view all our Craft Breaks.
Music is something we love to embrace here at Gartmore House and World Music Day is a fantastic celebration of music in all of its forms and the impact it has on so many of us.
Here are 5 reasons why we love music:
A sense of achievement
Learning to dance (we love ballroom, jazz and Latin American) or play pieces of music on a new instrument can be a challenging, yet extremely rewarding goal to have.
Music is very relaxing which is great for our mental and emotional health. Studies show that music helps to boost our self-esteem and is useful for coping with stress and anxiety.
Music plays a great role in encouraging us to think creatively and solve problems by thinking outside the box. It also inspires us and opens up our mind to new ideas.
Music is a fantastic way to socialise with others as it allows us to relax and have fun. Music also allows each generation their own voice as it is constantly changing and always evolving. Music has the capacity to teach us things about our values and others, other cultures, other periods of history. It always adds something special to a party.
If you are feeling low, there are many wonderful songs that can give you a boost. Music is the soundtrack of life. In fact, researches have showed that listening to music will make you more active and help improve your concentration and memory.
Why not book a singing or dancing weekend at Gartmore House and lose yourself in the music!