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Progree Report Number Ten

Posted by Stuart & Susannah Macpherson - 19:23 on 06 January 2014

Progress Report Dec 2013

Well here I am again, late December having to recall the significant events of the last twelve months!?!

2013 marked our tenth year here at Coul House. In many ways I cannot believe ten years have passed, and then I look at my kids and see how much they have grown. I look at the business and see how much it has blossomed, provided a constant source of challenges and achieved many of the goals we set out to achieve. Then I look in the mirror and I see each of the three thousand six hundred and fifty days that have past and think……..has it only been ten years!! This year I’ve had guests taking my father as my brother, Chris as my son and my kids as my grandkids!!?

No one told me it would be easy to own my own business, but it never ceases to amaze me how precarious a journey it is between success and failure! Last year (for some unknown reason) the Highlands had the worst October - February occupancy figures it has ever had. Not only that, but final payment was due for the newly installed biomass boiler (which at the time was not firing on all cylinders). The VAT payment was due and to top it all of the bank was looking to reduce our overdraft! Once again we needed to do some fast talking, belt tightening and the cancelling of maintenance projects to get through the winter on a wing and a prayer.

Salvation came in March with a fantastic review for the restaurant in the Inverness City Advertiser (a free local magazine). Restaurant revenue started flowing in with new guests being introduced to the culinary delights of Coul House. Then the good spring weather got the season off to a great start and the momentum seemed to continue right through to November, which was tremendous. I’m delighted to say that during the spring and summer months we were the #1 hotel in the Scottish Highlands on tripadvisor.com which proved most beneficial; introducing yet more new guests to Coul House. So a big thank you to all those who wrote reviews, recommended us to your friends and indeed for your continued support and repeat visits.

This summer was only marred by the passing of Charlie Cleland our maintenance man. Charlie had 35 years of service here at Coul House; he will be missed for years to come and is never far from our thoughts.

It is times like these that I count my blessings; Aurora is now thirteen, enjoying school and to my delight no boyfriends on the scene yet! Liah is eleven and currently playing tenor drum in two different pipe bands and looking forward to starting academy in August. Susannah, my gorgeous wife and I are both fit and well and thankfully able to work hard. The biomass boiler is finally running well and saving us money, and of course the continued support from the hard working staff.

Unfortunately during the high winds of early December several mature trees were blown over, including an Eastern Hemlock, a few Lawson Cypress, a Yew and a Portuguese Laurel. Two of these were found crushing the old shed at the top of the drive, which we believe had been made from a previous fallen Monkey Puzzle tree many years ago.

So after much reflection I have come to realise that the refurbishment of Coul House is a journey not a destination. Here’s to the next ten years and to the continued challenges that make it so……interesting!

Yours sincerely,

stuart and susanah

Proud owners


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Coul House Hotel, Contin, Ross & Cromarty, Scotland IV14 9ES E: T: +44 (0)1997 421487