If you go down to the woods today..
The first thing that strikes you as you happen upon this intriguing structure is the sweet-strong smell of wood. Made of great whole Scots Pine tree trunks felled here at Logie, this Canadian-style log cabin is as close to the genuine article outside Canada as can be. Why?.. read on!
How the Scottish-Canadian-log-cabin-fishing-hut Came to Be
Ewen Manson is the inspiration and the action behind the new fishing hut. Ewen is a great fisherman and knows this stretch of the river as well as anyone. He spends much of the summer fishing it or ghillie-ing for others to fish it. He is a man of many skills and building is one of them. He is a master dyker and built most of the stone walls and bridges you see in Logie House Garden. But this is different. A traveller to Canada for many years (for fishing of course), in summer of 2016 Ewen went to learn from the masters of the traditional log-cabin build in its natural habitat in Canada. He spent three weeks with Walden Log Homes learning the techniques and told me, ‘the experts there make it look natural – it’s a different story trying yourself!’ He elaborated that it’s a joy to watch the skilled work of those who’ve been using the techniques for a life time and, like any skill or sport, it looks easy when they do it. Ewen just adds the caveat that for anyone else, ‘it’s not’!
The Process of Building a Canadian Log Cabin
Ewen explained that stripping the bark is one of the most arduous parts. Each whole log was stripped by hand in the timber yard here at Logie and the sap on the skin can be uncomfortable stuff. I think ‘steep learning curve’ were the words he used. The logs were then marked, cut and carved using traditional Canadian methods to ensure that they fit together snugly so there will be no draughts in the building and no need for screws of fixings – it fits together something like giant handmade lego with no need for fixings etc.
Next the roof was slated and the windows put in. Currently Ewen and Craig are sanding the ends of the logs and will coat them with Tarinoil (a mix of linseed oil, tar and white spirit to thin the mixture and draw it into the wood) to protect from bugs and weather. For anyone who’s spent time around horses, it smells like hoof oil. Doors and the log-burning stove will come next, followed by a deck at the front. Finally will come the furniture and it should be ready to go for the start of the fishing season.
Tree to Product: The Full Cycle
The new fishing hut represents a working example of the full cycle that can still exist in forestry today. The trees used to build the structure grew here at Logie – the Scots Pine would have been planted up to 90 years ago, perhaps by Sir Alexander Grant who bought the estate in 1924 and whose descendants are the current members of the Laing family living here today. They were felled by Head Forrester Graham Allardes and the sarking was milled here at Logie Sawmill. The result is this satisfying new fishing hut. Hut is perhaps an underwhelming term – this one is built to last and should withstand whatever a Scottish – or Canadian – winter can throw at it. A fitting legacy to leave by the river. So if you happen upon a Canadian-style log cabin on the banks of this stretch of the Findhorn, now you’ll know its story.
If you’d like to make use of the new fishing hut perhaps its time to experience salmon fishing on the River Findhorn yourself. This hut would be a very cosy spot for lunch even on a miserable-weather day once the fire’s roaring. And even better to sit on the deck and take in the setting on a fine one. Or perhaps to sit and read a book while the rest of your gang are off fishing (maybe that’s just me..).
The season opens towards the end of April and runs through to the end of September. And you can even book Ewen to be your guide. There’s plenty of information about fishing the river here, what to bring, how to book to be found on this site – or if you’d prefer to speak to us please give Marilyn a ring in the office on +44 (0)1667 458900 and she’ll be happy to point you in the right direction.
Update on the Fishing Hut
Finally! Here’s a picture of Ewen in front of the hut, just as he finished putting the door on.
The door’s an interesting piece in itself, once at Lochindorb (formerly part of the estate), it has pencilled graffiti on the inside side dating from 1912. And, yes, the smell of wood is still deliciously overwhelming..