Where it all began

Firstly we’d like to welcome you to our brand new Borlum House Farm website and blog.

I’m Chris, a business owner and the very proud owner, together with my wife Amie, of Borlum House Farm.

Amie and I have always enjoyed long weekend breaks and holidays to Scotland – in fact our first UK trip away was to the Isle of Mull for a long weekend!

We have visited Loch Lomond, Isle of Mull, Edinburgh, Aviemore, Stirling and so many more wonderful places, and always liked the scenery and the way of life.

However, we had never been this far north, in fact I had never even heard of Thurso or Reay!

Before I met Amie, I used to talk to my best mate Jay about one day moving to Scotland. I’m not sure what triggered the obsession with the Highlands really, maybe a film, the many documentaries, it could even have been the film Loch Ness! Whatever the source, I’ve always fancied an old Scottish Highlands house, pouring rain outside, log burner and snug inside.

Every night without fail I’d be on the internet viewing houses in Scotland, reading up on the laws of buying, laws of moving the business up there, and just generally researching what it would take to relocate.

Jenson was only about 12-14 months old when my internet surfing lead me to stumble across Borlum House.

Speculatively I called and spoke to a chap at the agents called Charles, who also happened to be the owner.

Suddenly the dream was within reach but it was such a massive risk and a gamble that would have a life-changing impact on me and my family.

I spoke with Amie about it and looked at the map – wow – 10 hours away by car, and very north!

Amie wasn’t keen, saying it was too far away – afterall, she was a city girl!

A few weeks later, my line was ‘let’s have a weekend away with Jenson and we may as well view it whilst we were there’.

So I rang Charles back and booked a viewing.

Setting off, and long way into the journey, I remember looking at each other and saying this is way too far.

We had it in our head straight away that the viewing would be a waste of time, but as everything was booked and we only had another 5 or so hours to go, we decided to continue.

We stayed at a hotel in Thurso on the Friday night, all seemed great, met a few locals and they all seemed very welcoming and nice.

On the Saturday we viewed the house – stunning house, stunning location. However, it required a lot of work and the house had been rented out for a few years.

We decided not to make any form of offer, either to buy the house or rent it.

At the time we were also considering Tomar in Portugal, a UNISECO town and very Portuguese – to the point no-one spoke English! We loved it there, but something always drew us back to the Highlands.

We told the owners the price wasn’t quite right in our eyes and left it at that.

A few months passed, and out of the blue we got a call from Charles and Tamara, we could rent before we buy with an offer of first refusal.

This was around 1 October 2014.

I snapped their hand off, for no other reason than it was a complete random decision and a snap decision to say yes, I then paid the rental deposit, went home and told Amie!!

To my surprise she was OK about it, after all we could rent out our house in Leeds for the same period of time and could move back if needed.

By 14 November 2014 everything was packed – house, Jenson, office, dogs, goats, sheep and of course Sid, the one eyed tortoise!

We decided it was best to drive through the night, Jenson would sleep and so would the dogs.

Before setting off it had poured down for days in Leeds, I went to get the animals with the animal trailer to round them up at about 4pm.

The trailer, along with the 4×4 then got stuck in the field!!

I had to wait an hour to get towed out, covered in mud, the car filthy, I arrived back at the house in Leeds. Jenson was in his PJ’s ready to go…so off we went!

That was the start of an incredible life-affirming adventure that has had such a powerful impact on all of us.

Just over three years later and we haven’t looked back! Through a lot of blood, sweat and tears we are creating our dream life of a working farm and guest accommodation in our lovingly restored 1700’s farm house in the sleepy little village of Reay.

We invite you to share the adventure with us as we bring you tales of life at Borlum, some will have you weeping with laughter and other’s will just seem downright unbelievable, but it’s all in a days work here in the Highlands and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

We hope to open our doors and welcome you soon.

Much love,
Chris, Amie, Jenson and Matthew (and Sid ofcourse!)

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