Wester Row sits at the end of a long farm track. It’s surrounded by farmland and the River Teith is just 100 yards away. Beyond it lies Blair Drummond Safari Park – rhinos, lions, giraffe and elephants are little more than a stone’s throw away.
It’s a beautiful and secluded spot that’s also just minutes from the heart of Scotland’s road network.
The cleverly extended farmhouse is owned by Jamie and Sarah Campbell. It forms part of the Inverardoch Estate, which has been in Jamie’s family since the 1840s.
It’s unknown when the original part of the house was built, though it seems likely to have been the 1700s or even earlier.
I rock up on a grey and overcast weekday afternoon. It may be bleak and late-autumish outside, but inside it’s warm, light and welcoming.
In the family since 19th Century
Wester Row has been in Jamie’s family for generations but he and his family moved into it in 2005. Five years later they carried out a major set of renovations, extending into an adjoining stable to create a new living/kitchen area and master bedroom.
A pair of stone hogs’ heads guards the front door. This opens into a characterful dining hall which has a fantastic old cast iron range. It must once have been the main source for warmth and cooking in the house.
Off this area is a neat little nook. “A couple of hundred years ago this is where the coachman would have slept after he’d delivered supplies out here,” Jamie explains.
Through a doorway is the fantastic extension the couple created from an old stable around a decade ago.
A double height room, it has a spiral staircase leading up to a galleried landing. A feature stone wall contains a huge wood burning stove as well as a number of inset stone shelves. “We discovered this when we were renovating,” Jamie says. “It was all covered up by various pieces of poor quality 1950s or 60s building work.”
Today the wood burner throws warmth throughout this open plan living/dining/kitchen area, with excess heat drifting upstairs to the landing and master bedroom. Underfloor heating keeps the room cosy when the wood burner isn’t on.
Through a doorway is a utility/bootroom that’s perfect for divesting yourself of muddy gear after a day outdoors. There is a modern downstairs shower room. Off the kitchen is a large store pantry with stone flooring and shelves, and a smaller walk-in cupboard.
Sheltered outdoor area
The extension has been cleverly designed with an overhang that creates a sheltered outdoor space and is supported by thick stone columns. Cedar cladding lines the underside, giving a beautiful finish and a warm feel. Outdoor furniture includes a lovely waney edge bench, while there’s a firepit and barbecue.
“We really like spending time outdoors and we use this area a huge amount,” Sarah explains. “It faces west so you get the sun all afternoon and evening.
“In Scotland it’s often a bit rainy but still warm enough to be outside. This lets us be outdoors but with plenty of shelter from the weather.
“The cedar finish was expensive but we really like the effect. It’s one of our favourite places to spend time.”
Spiral stairs lead up from the kitchen/living area to a spacious galleried landing. This has an ingenious set of Velux Juliet balcony systems, which fold open to give outdoor space. Standing in them I can see across the river to the upper spires and turrets of Camphill, the beautiful stately home at the centre of Blair Drummond Safari Park.
There’s plenty of space on the landing for two sets of desks and chairs. It’s the perfect working from home spot – especially with the log burner blazing away below.
Off here is the master bedroom. It’s a spacious room with great views and a large en suite bathroom.
Lots of space
Back on the ground floor, the main section of the house has a cosy sitting room with a bay window and an open fire. A charming study also has a fire, and there’s a downstairs bedroom. Upstairs are two double bedrooms and a modern bathroom.
“One of the things we like about the layout of the house is how the master bedroom is in a different part of the house to the two bedrooms our children use,” Sarah explains. “They can make as much noise as they like without disturbing us.”
To the front of Wester Row is a spacious courtyard and several clusters of outbuildings. These are handsomely built from solid stone and could be ripe for all kinds of uses A large workshop has a cold store which Jamie uses for hanging and butchering deer carcases.
A large byre with exposed beams has particular potential to be converted into a cottage.
“We’ve always thought it would make a great home,” Sarah says. “You could knock down the adjacent brick-built lean-to and make a private west-facing garden with great views and either operate it as an Airbnb or sell it as a home. If we were staying it’s definitely something we would look at.”
The gardens at Wester Row stretch to around 1.5 acres. To the front, there’s an area of grass and trees that ends at an embankment with a drainage pond below. Several tonnes of firewood are seasoning in round stacks in an intricate style called Holz Hausen that’s used in Europe and dries the wood more quickly.
To the rear of Wester Row is a large expanse of lawn dotted with mature trees and bushes. Another steep embankment marks the boundary of the land. It drops down into a field that runs to the river’s edge. A bench is perfectly placed to enjoy the view and capture the evening sunshine.
Lying at the end of a long farm track gives Wester Row complete seclusion. At the same time, it’s a five minute drive from the M90 motorway and around the same distance from the charming village of Doune. Indeed, you can walk into Doune across fields and woodland.
After 15 years at Wester Row, and with their children grown up, Jamie, 47, and Sarah, 50, have decided it’s time to move on. This will be the first time a property from the Inverardoch Estate has come up for sale since the 1840s.
The couple aren’t going far, though. They’re moving to another farmhouse elsewhere on the estate. They plan to use some of the funds from Wester Row to create their perfect home, and also hope to convert an outbuilding there into a holiday rental.
“We won’t be far away so we need to sell this house to people that we like,” Sarah smiles.