Our Ethos

Who We Are >> Our Ethos

No to Commercialism

  • The mantra of the market economy is that every business must grow. We do not see this as axiomatic, nor even always desirable. Our small holiday business is on a natural human scale - about right as it is. We could have followed others in the area and added chalets or a caravan park: the bigger the scale, the better the chance of planning permission, perversely (play the "major new business" card and all normal restrictions are suddenly forgotten). Over our dead bodies!
  • Same applies to the farm: we do not push the boundaries of intensive farming. In fact we're moving in the opposite direction.
  • No wind farm developments. The Scottish Executive might see fit to approve a huge wind farm in a shockingly in-your-face position just off the Solway coast, and the question arises, why bother to designate that coastal stretch as a National Scenic Area in the first place? Precisely: we don't understand either. It was all about getting their grubby hands on a big "pot" of EU funding (civil servants just love "pots" of EU money - all a free gift from the fairies at the bottom of the garden, as far as their short sight can see ...).

No to Standardisation

  • The straighjacket of Tourist Board "quality assessment" (while it has admittedly helped to raise standards) inevitably induces standardisation. We hate that, so we've opted out - NOT because we got low gradings, on the contrary we got high ones, but the system's whole ethos was bad for our blood pressure.
  • In our experience, quality assessment systems often fail to address the factors that really matter: for our own view, see The Things That Matter (in the section What We Offer). Instead we now ask our guests for suggestions, which we find much more fruitful, because it addresses with the highest possible accuracy the things that matter most to the people who matter most.
  • In any case, such systems can't cope with real life. Take a small example: we provide a beautiful and properly maintained swimming pool in an idyllic setting, likewise a state-of-the-art tennis court with an expensive surface; but if some quality assessor gives us anything less than a perfect score in the "outdoor facilities" section because she would like to have seen more pot plants in the courtyard, then that is effectively a LOWER % score than some shoebox with no outdoor facilities at all (blank section = 0/0, a perfect score). The bottom line is that doing these things by numbers is doomed to failure - yet pragmatically that's the only way they can be done and be seen to be "fair".

Yes to Social Responsibility

  • We believe in maintaining employment. That means doing a lot of work which is not strictly necessary, especially on the trees and grounds of the estate, which often occupy as many as 8 people at any one time, not including contractors.
  • Affordable housing: we don't have nearly enough housing on the estate to meet demand, but we do set rents according to need.
  • Access & paths: we do our bit to facilitate public access. Many local residents (especially from Gelston village) walk through the estate daily.
  • We have designated the woodland area next to Gelston village as a community woodland.

Yes to Environmental Responsibility

  • Wood heating: a sophisticated wood-fuel system provides central heating and hot water for the whole courtyard. Wood comes from the estate, processed by Rab Martin and others. We didn't do it to save money, and in fact with all the labour costs of wood processing we don't currently save anything at all! It will take at least 30 years to recoup the substantial capital investment. But it's a very efficient system, and burning wood is carbon neutral, given that we are replanting trees.
  • The whole courtyard has had its loft insulation doubled.
  • We have implemented (or are still implementing) a recycling system.
  • Outside lighting of public areas is kept to a minimum, and we use energy-saving lights wherever we can.

Like to talk?

So do we. Ring us:
01556 502211
From abroad:
+44 1556 502211


Gelston Castle Holidays, Gelston, Castle Douglas, Dumfries & Galloway DG7 1SW
Self-catering holiday cottages Scotland, Luxury holiday accommodation Scotland
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Last modified: Thu Jul 14 10:22:51 2016
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