Following a near-£2m investment a former farm shed is now ready to welcome happy couples, writes JULENA DRUMI
The sheds that clung to the hillside on Cairns Farm Estate once provided cattle with shelter from the cold blast of winter and protection for sheep during the lambing season. It may seem like an unlikely place for a party or any sort of celebration, but now on site is a building that will be welcoming happy couples and their guests following its completion as one of Scotland’s more unusual weddings and events venues.
The idea was hatched several years ago and subsequently developed through a partnership between the Hamilton family who own the farm and venue management and events catering company Hickory.
Sitting on the shores of Harperrig reservoir within the Pentland Hills Regional Park, it has been a 24-month project costing £1.9 million.
With Covid-19 restrictions on travel and events easing, the venue is ready to host its first wedding on 22 May and already has a diary full of bookings stretching into 2022.
The 1,200-acre country estate and hill farm is located near Kirknewton and around eight miles from Edinburgh. The estate has been in the Hamilton family since 1869. With their three children on-board, the family teamed up with Hickory to diversify their estate and create a new chapter in its history.
Caroline and Graham Hamilton have led the project with their children taking on individual roles to match their own skills; Joanna as an interior designer, younger son Bobby assisting with finance and funding, and Alistair as project manager and joiner.
Working with Chris Duncan of Mill Architects, local contractors and craftspeople, the Hamiltons developed a modern multi-use wedding and event venue that reflects its agricultural roots and sits naturally in the rural location.
Throughout the building, there are references to its agricultural heritage and a strong ethos of sustainability through the repurposing of materials found on the estate or sourced locally.
The building is clad in Scots Pine, planted by Graham’s great grandfather. The building timber comes from trees felled on site as part of an ongoing woodland management programme, while the entrance has been formed around an old grain silo sourced from a local farm.
Inside, wedding couples will enter the Ceremony Room through horse stalls up-cycled from the farm’s stables while a feature wall, has been hand built re-using stones from the drystone dykes in the old building. In the function room, the bar, tables and wooden furnishings have been hand crafted from Sycamore and Scots Pine, harvested on the estate, by a team of carpenters led by Alistair.
Commenting on the launch, Caroline Hamilton said: “This has been an incredible journey for our family; from having the initial idea, to teaming up with Hickory in 2017 then battling on through the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s almost hard to believe that we will soon to be hosting our first wedding in May.
“It’s been a real labour of love, with each member of the family adding their unique skill and personality throughout the planning and the build. We’ve also worked with friends and local crafts men and women, so there’s been a real sense of community and care that’s gone into the project.”