Top marks for restored cottage

Calum and Jackie Innes at restored Downie's Cottage
Calum and Jackie Innes at restored Downie's Cottage

A former Deeside croft house has received a top grading following major restoration.

Donwie’s Cottage at Braemar was built in the 1850s and had become dilapidated and due for demolition to make way for a family home.

But new owners Jackie and Calum Innes had other ideas and after a “labour of love” have restored the building to a luxury self-catering cottage.

And the project has just received a five-star grading from VisitScotland.

Downie’s Cottage - last occupied by tenant James Downie - is thought to have been the highest working farm in Scotland and has breathtaking views over Braemar and the Dee valley in the heart of the Cairngorms National Park.

It was abandoned sometime between the wars, and although the steading was damaged by fire many years ago, the house remained largely as an undisturbed ‘time capsule’ complete with box beds, old shoes and Victorian Christmas cards.

The transformation is complete with the awarding of the highest grading from the national tourist board’s Quality Assurance (QA) scheme.

Downie’s has all of its original features retained and restored - flag floors, exposed beams, lime-washed walls and a wooden ‘hingin lum’.

Jackie Innes said: “I am over the moon with our five-star grading from VisitScotland.

“The restoration of Downie’s Cottage has been a labour of love for myself and Calum and the fact the national tourist board recognises this commitment means a lot.

“We could not be happier with the result and we can’t wait for guests to experience our beautiful holiday home.”

Jo Robinson, VisitScotland regional director said: “What a fantastic achievement for both Jackie and Calum.

“To achieve a five star grading on their first visit is a testament to the hard work that has gone into restoring Downie’s Cottage.”

The organisation’s QA scheme is a benchmark for quality throughout the country’s tourism industry and operates across accommodation, visitor attractions and food sectors.