Letter from The Burn – spring 2021

David Turner OBE, Bursar at The Burn, provides an update on life at the College's academic retreat in Scotland and explains how the venue is emerging out of lockdown.

Dear Friends

It has been a cold and dry spring in Glenesk and the local farmers are already complaining that their crops will be late. Just this week the cattle have returned to The Burn, where they will spend the warm summer months grazing the four fields that encircle Burn House. Last year they managed to escape by breaking through a fence and there was much excitement as they wandered freely around the local area. This year we have redoubled our efforts to repair and strengthened our fences.

This region of NE Scotland – the coastal plain to the east of the Cairngorm Mountains – has very rich soil which is ideal for root crops. At this time of year the local landscape is a patchwork of yellow and white daffodils. Some flowers are picked but the cash crop is the daffodil bulb. Hundreds of tons of spring flowering bulbs from Angus and Aberdeenshire are exported each year and two of the largest markets are USA and Holland! However, the biggest agricultural business in the region is potato growing and at this time of year the farmers are busy planting.

As the daffodils begin to fade, the countryside is bursting with new life. The Burn woodland puts on a remarkable display at this time of year and the bare branches of winter are rapidly disappearing behind a cloak of bright green. The dawn chorus is a joy and Oyster Catchers have returned to nest between the stones of The Burn labyrinth. A flock of Curlew have also spent a few days with us before flying on to their nesting grounds on the heather covered hills of the Cairngorms. It is certainly a magical time of year and The Burn is the perfect place to enjoy the many wonders of the natural world.

The Burn mansion house in spring

Like many other businesses in the hospitality and events sector, The Burn is starting to show signs of recovery. However, social distancing measures are still a barrier to large group activities and, in view of these ongoing restrictions, we have concentrated our initial efforts on marketing our self-catering holiday cottages. Fishing on the River North Esk is also proving popular and we are starting to see an increase in the number of calls and enquiries.

Some of you will know The Burn well but others may not have had the opportunity to visit Scotland while a Member of the College. There is something for everyone at The Burn and a warm Scottish welcome awaits! So, don’t delay, check out our offers on The Burn website and contact us using burn@goodenough.ac.uk or call 01356 648281. For a limited time only, quote MARY & JOSEPH to get 10% discount!

Best wishes


David Turner OBE