Hamilton Brothers help shape the Grade A Listed Gardens of Duchal Estate!June 26, 2018
Beppo Buchanan-Smith, the new owner of Kilmacolm’s Georgian Duchal Estate, looks to Hamilton Brothers for state of the art machinery to revive the 200-acre listed gardens!
Leading hotelier, Beppo Buchanan Smith has traded hospitality for horticulture following his purchase of the 13th century Duchal Estate in Kilmacolm, Renfrewshire.
Famed for his role in developing beautiful Isle of Eriska hotel, Beppo sold the hotel in 2017 to take a break from the hospitality industry. However, not one to sit on his laurels, Beppo undertook a new project when he purchased the much desired Duchal House and Estate with plans to make the Georgian mansion a new home for him and his wife.
Duchal dates from the 13th century, when it was inhabited by the de I’Isle family, who built Duchal Castle. When the family line died out in 1556, the castle and the surrounding land had been sold to the Poterfield family. The Porterfields inhabited the castle but later decided to build a more comfortable family home and, as a result, Duchal House was constructed in 1768. Since 1915, the estate has been owned by the various generations of the Maclay family before it was placed on the market for the first time in over 100 years in May 2017.
Based in the village of Kilmacolm, the Duchal House we see today still embodies the grandeur of Georgian architecture and is complemented by its beautiful 200-acre surrounding of grade A listed gardens.
Whilst the history of the estate did not influence Beppo’s decision to buy the property, he acknowledges the grounds would not be the same without the history and that it was the magnificent gardens that initially attracted him to the estate.
“The Isle of Eriska Hotel was built in 1884 and we’ve now moved to a building where there are trees outside that are an impressive 300 years old,” acknowledged Beppo. “We do feel very much that we are custodians of the estate – so we are responsible for looking after it.”
Respectful of the estate’s history, Beppo is determined to maintain all historical aspects during the two-year restoration plan, which sets out to restore and renovate the house and gardens. To accomplish this plan and ensure he has the right tools for the job, Beppo sought the advice of local machinery dealer, Hamilton Brothers.
Beppo’s relationship with Hamilton Brothers began on the Isle of Eriska when Area Sales Manager, Ted McDonald sold Beppo a Kubota L5030 to help with the gardens of his hotel. Hamilton Brothers have supported Beppo ever since, “Ted has continually brought me machinery to try… without my wife’s knowledge,” Beppo joked.
Based only eight miles away from the Hamilton Brothers Bishopton Head Office, Beppo has turned to Ted since purchasing Duchal for reliable groundcare machinery, “Hamilton Brothers is only just down the road. The level of service we can receive being so local is very important to us.”
Beppo and his wife plan to fully use the grade A listed gardens, “My wife’s very keen on growing vegetables for the local community, so there’s a vegetable garden there,” he said, “With so much land, it’s been a real task learning what will grow in the garden and what won’t. We’re also putting in a biomass boiler, so we’ll use the wood off the estate to run the heating for the house.”
In order to maintain the glorious gardens and run back and forth with wood for the boiler, Beppo has purchased Kubota machinery from Hamilton Brothers including the L1361 Compact Tractor and a G26 II Ride-On Lawn Mower.
Attracted to Kubota due to their reliability, Beppo firstly bought the Kubota L1361 Compact Tractor to help facilitate the distribution of wood and other items around the gardens, “it was the right power range for us. We needed something that had that power and was small enough.”
Demonstrations from Hamilton Brothers have helped Beppo choose the right machinery and most recently Beppo tried the Kubota G26 Ride-On Mower. He quipped, “you can tell me it’ll do it but it’s better to see!”
The demonstration proved once again that Kubota cut it for Duchal Estate with Beppo hailing the G26 as the “perfect fit” for their gardens. After searching for a machine that would seamlessly cut the thick grass between their trees, Beppo was delighted with the ride-on and revealed that the time spent cutting has also been lessened due to the ease of tip, “It took about 3 hours to cut the back gardens and 4 hours for the front, which is good.”
With restoration on Duchal House well underway and the new garden machinery ready to tidy up, Beppo certainly has his hands full. Looking ahead to the future, he hopes to become fully self-supporting, “We have about 200 acres here of which there’s about 80 acres of farmland we’ve rented out, but our intention is to bring that back in-house.” We wish Beppo the best of luck with his new venture!
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