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Celebrating 100 years of Mrs Harris

Meet Mrs Betty Harris, one of our lovely guests who recently visited Shieldhill Castle to celebrate her 100th Birthday. Mrs Harris shared lovely stories with us that day, and we asked her son if it would be okay for us share her wonderful story with you.

Mrs Harris was born (in 1922!) and brought up in a townhouse in Moray Place in Edinburgh, spending most summer holidays in the hills around Broughton and the head-waters of the Tweed. During the war she trained as a physiotherapist and worked in Edinburgh and later at Stoke Mandeville Hospital where she worked under Dr Guttmann the founder of what eventually became the Paralympic Games. Soon after she went to visit some family friends who were living in Abyssinia (Ethiopia) where she met her husband who was working there as an army officer. Soon after they were married at West Linton Kirk and Baddinsgill.

For the next decade they lived where the army sent them – Malaya and Germany and the UK – in the meantime having 2 sons – one of whom now lives in Symington and the other in Somerset.

Tragically her husband died in 1963 and she came to live in a hidden gem of a house in the Pentland hills beyond Dolphinton, where thanks to a team of friends and carers, she still lives.

When Mrs Harris takes something up she likes to do it well according to her son, so although she started with the normal Blackface it was not long before she was breeding pedigree Shetland sheep and ended up with the Best in Breed Champion Shetland ram in the Royal Highland Show.

Next she learned how to spin and dye the wool produced by her sheep and turn it into beautiful items of clothing before turning her hand to felt-making and quilt-making, resulting in many more artistic creations.

Sadly she has had to retire from production but spends her time enjoying her beautiful garden set among the hills where the Medwin meets the Westwater.

This year she celebrated her 100th birthday and a party had been planned, but unfortunately Covid threw a spanner in the works, as it did to so many people, (with both sons contracting the virus on the same day a week before the party) and the guest list had to be dramatically truncated.

She was extra delighted when Shieldhill Castle kindly welcomed her to her absolute favourite treat: extra-chocolatey chocolate cake and coffee. “The friendly staff made her feel like royalty and gave her a real buzz.” said her son.

We were thrilled to have met Mrs Harris, and be a part of her special celebrations. We wish her all the health and happiness and hope to see her for her 101th birthday.

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Biggar Little Festival

Biggar Little Festival is back, bigger and better than ever before with an exciting 20th Anniversary programme.

Shieldhill Castle are excited to announce that we are taking part this year. We have partnered up with local artists Kirsten Harris Art and Sam Glendinnig from The Alchemist’s Forge for an Exhibition and workshops.

We are showcasing Kirsten’s stunning paintings on the castle walls, which are also available for purchase, alongside an exhibition of beautiful silver jewellery by The Alchemist’s Forge. Both artists are offering workshops at Shieldhill Castle as part of the Biggar Little Festival events.

The exhibition will take place on Friday 21st October 2022, free entry to all. We look forward to welcoming you at the castle’s first art exhibition. The painting and silversmithing workshops include a lovely lunch at Sheildhill Castle. To buy tickets for the workshops please contact Sam and Kirsten directly.

With more than 70 events over 10 days in October the festival offers comedy, theatre and music headliners and many family and children’s events to enjoy!

You can download the Biggar Little Festival programme by clicking- https://www.biggarlittlefestival.com/…/blf-program-2022…

www.shieldhillcastle.com

www.kirstenharrisart.co.uk

www.thealchemsitsforge.co.uk.

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‘Shieldhill Castle Gin’ now available thanks to Biggar Gin

Shieldhill Castle are delight to share that we now have a ‘Shieldhill Castle Gin’! A special thanks to Biggar Gin for making this happen.

Like Shieldhill Castle, Biggar Gin are a family business. They operate with the same outlook and vision as ourselves about embracing the history of our town into today’s modern society. Our ‘Shieldhill Castle Gin’ is one way which both business are delighted achieve this. By offering a rare delight to our guests, we hope to leave tastebuds longing and bring people back our town to enjoy another. 

The gin itself has notes of Bergamot and Lemon Verbena, the essence of a fresh summers day, a combination and blend of ingredients that are natural to our unique setting. Best served with Mediterranean Tonic and a slice of fresh lemon. The bottle itself was created with consideration to our well known shield, and we think it’s fabulous don’t you? 

If you would like to be one of the first to try our Shieldhill Castle Gin, join us in our Market Bar this weekend. Bar is open till 10pm Friday & Saturday. 

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Shieldhill Castle make the Finals for the Prestige Hotel Awards 2022

Shieldhill Castle are delighted to be attending the Prestige Hotel Awards ceremony at the Crown Plaza Hotel. 

We are so grateful to all those who have voted for Shieldhill Castle and got us to the finals. This is an amazing achievement to get this far already. We have been nominated for Best Castle Hotel, Best Hotel Breakfast, Best Wedding Venue. 

Owner Colin Frame and the Shieldhill Castle family would like to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to staff, contractors, suppliers and guests. The growth and progress made at Shieldhill Castle has been astonishing, the journey might have not been the easiest but we have got through it and we look to continue learning and bringing the very best service to our guests in the years ahead.

Congratulations to all the other finalists.

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Our first Wedding Exhibition

Yesterday was a huge success for our very first show as exhibitors. We would like to thank the team at the Lanarkshire Wedding Exhibition for this opportunity to showcase Shieldhill Castle. We look forward to the next one.

If you didn’t manage to attend yesterday, don’t worry. Our next exhibition will be at The Scottish Wedding Show on the 19th & 20th February at the SEC, Glasgow.

In the meantime, if you would like more information please check out our website www.shieldhillcastle.com

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Shieldhill Castle, #PrestigeHotelAwards2022!

Voting has now opened for the #PrestigeHotelAwards2022! Shieldhill Castle are delighted to be part of the awards but we need your vote to win.

The form takes 30 second to fill in and will help recognise the efforts of the team at Shieldhill Castle.To vote click the link below:

https://www.prestigehotelawards.co.uk/vote-20

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The Alchemist Forge partners with Shieldhill Castle to display unique handcrafted jewellery

We are thrilled to have the opportunity to showcase some of the stunning pieces created by The Alchemist Forge. Sam Glendinning, Owner of The Alchemist Forge has partnered up with Shieldhill Castle to provide handcrafted one of a kind jewellery, to not only be exhibited but also available for purchase. Next time you visit Shieldhill Castle check out our Alchemist Forge display, even take a piece home with you. In light of working with Sam we thought to share with you a little more details about her passion and how she began working with Shieldhill Castle from Sam herself.

How long have you been creating jewellery and what made you want to share it with the world?
I have been designing and making artisan jewellery for 7 years from my home studio here in South Lanarkshire. I’ve spent most of my life in the countryside and have always felt a connection with the wide
open spaces, waterways and woodland. Its where I take all my inspiration from. I just love the natural forms you find when you re out and about.


What makes you want to work with Shieldhill Castle & display your creations within the castle?
I had been looking for somewhere to showcase my work for sometime. I knew what I wanted but didn’t know where to start to be honest. I found Shieldhill completely unintentional. I knew it had been bought
over and that it was being renovated but no idea it was actually open. We stopped to ask directions and we got chatting to Jane at reception. She offered to show us round and I fell in love with it. It felt so
welcoming and as though we were in someone’s home. The staff were so friendly which made it feel even more personal & inviting. As we walked round, Jane explained about what they had planned for the future
and the changes that they had done. The whole time I’m thinking…this is perfect. I asked Jane if she would consider having a cabinet of work and showed her some images. She agreed there and then. Two weeks later we launched the current collection’ ‘Pebbles & Pools’.

What are your favourite pieces you have on display at the castle and why?
Its really hard to choose one. I loved creating this collection but if I had to, I think I would choose ‘Calm Waters’. It was designed to imitate the river Clyde running through the Leadhills. As you travel up through the Leadhills, you pass through gullies as the road meanders through the hills beside the river until you come to a large flat basin. The river slows down through the valley and curves over the rocks to create little pools surrounded by pebbles. Its like chaos chaos chaos and then all of a sudden you come into this beautiful calm area. It like the eye of the storm. Surrounded by hills heather and burns all flowing do to the valley floor.
‘Gold Rush’ is another. It’s design is based on the rivers course but studded with tiny 9ct gold pebbles. It represents the history of the gold that can still be found in the river and surrounding burns. Almost a nod to the time of the panners. Its still very common to see gold panners up there today. I actually have a license myself to pan.

Contact Info:
Sam Glendinning
thealchemistsforge.co.uk
info@thealchemistsforge.co.uk
07943 707 579


All materials are recycled from NHS X-Ray films so its as environmentally friendly as possible and reduce my impact as well as supporting the NHS.
All stones are sustainably sourced and bought from suppliers that insure the welfare & safety of their miners. This in turn gives them a better lifestyle as well as a higher wage. All packaging is FCS certified to so that its taken from managed woodlands. I use traditional techniques with hand tools to create all my work. Everything is hand fabricated.

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The story of the haunted hotel, Shieldhill Castle

In light of it being the most haunted day of the year, we thought we’d share our very own Shieldhill Castle haunted hotel story with you. Many of you know about the Grey Lady of Shieldhill Castle, but do you know why she haunts the Castle? And do you know that there has been some recent sightings of abnormal activity?

The ‘Grey Lady’ ghost has been sighted by hotel guests in the corridors of Shieldhill Castle. We believe she was the former occupant of the house who fell for someone of a lower social class. The story goes that she killed herself as a result of her father forbidding their relationship. Many guests have said they can feel her presence, with cold touches when they enter what is believed to be her room. Additionally, a male ghost clothed in what appears to be butler’s uniform has been reported in the hotel’s former staff quarters.

Owner of Shieldhill Castle, Colin Frame, has first hand witnessed abnormal activity when appliances would go on automatically in the staff areas, sensor lights being triggered and tickles on the arm. There are several versions of what has happened to the Grey Lady and this mystery man, have you experienced their presence? If so then let us know.

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Our first Shieldhill Castle wedding of the season

Congratulations Kirsty & James

From all the team at Shieldhill Castle, we wish you all the best in this next chapter of your lives as husband and wife.

Our first wedding of the season, it was a pleasure to host this special occasion for you and your families.

Wishing you every happiness Mr & Mrs Maclachlan.

Photographer-AJW Photogaphy

Flowers- The Secret Garden – Floral Designs by Lynn Murphy

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Owner Colin Frame wins John Gibson Memorial Race

We are delighted to congratulate the owner of Shieldhill Castle, Colin Frame on winning the John Gibson Memorial race.

After 4 years out of the racing seat, Colin put on his racing gear last weekend at Lochgelly Raceway – the Place to Race, taking out the Superstock once again. Colin shared his experience and just how much it meant to him, as he described the race “for me this was the equivalent to winning the World Final”.

We would like to congratulate Colin and also the team behind him. The trophy is now proudly on display at Shieldhill Castle.