Whilst Knock House is steeped in history – it is the personal, human touch which truly sets the Benmore experience apart.
From the moment you arrive you’ll experience a genuine warmth of hospitality from a dedicated team, each of whom are deeply passionate about sharing the estate with guests.
You will be welcomed by a friendly and knowledgeable team of Housekeepers, Stalkers, Ghillies, Skippers, and Boatmen. With years of experience between them, often passed down the generations, our team live and breathe Benmore, its wildlife and rich heritage. The artist behind a painting, a species of butterfly, a type of rock formation – you name it, your hosts will know the answer.
We asked our team three questions to introduce themselves:
- What did you do before working at Benmore Estate?
- Where is your favourite place and/or what is your most memorable event on Benmore Estate?
- What would we find you doing in your spare time?
And the answers…
Head Stalker, Ghillie and Skipper
- I spent most of my childhood growing up around Knock House and Benmore Estate. I’ve studied traditional boatbuilding at the International Boatbuilding Training College, Gamekeeping and Wildlife Management at the North Highland College and latterly a degree in Marine Science at the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS). I started working full time on Benmore Estate in May 2005.
- I have happy memories of catching a 21lb salmon on Loch Ba as a child with my father and brother. I enjoy exploring the West Coast of Scotland by boat and in particular remember a trip onboard Benmore Lady where we visited St. Kilda and saw killer whales on our return journey. Being up on the top of the hills, whether stalking during the rut or on a winters day at the hinds, has given me many favourite places for spying and taking in the natural beauty of the Island and it’s wildlife.
- When the winter weather permits or on a summer evening Kim and I take my boat for trips to nearby cafes or visit other west coast islands. On a calm day I may be testing myself and my equipment shooting at long range targets and if the weather is poor then I am often found in one of the sheds either fixing something or knife making.
Stalker, Ghillie and Boatman
- I was offered a work placement on Dalness Estate, Glen Etive, while at High School in Edinburgh and stayed there for the next 10 years! At Dalness I had the chance to be involved with the daily running of the salmon hatchery and, as the ground on the estate was too steep for machinery, a large part of my job involved extracting stags off the hill using traditional Highland hill ponies. I also spent six months studying Environmental Studies at Barony College and went on to do year at North Highland College as a gamekeeper, gaining my DSQ level 1 at Dalness Estate and level 2 at Benmore Estate where I moved in 2009.
- If I could pick just one place on Mull, it would be mast road on Torosay. It allows me to look over the Benmore Estate and back towards the old stalking ground I used to walk. I enjoy the new opportunities and personal growth which Benmore Estate has opened up to me.
- Renata and I are very busy with our two children, Angus and Holly, who are often seen around the Estate. I enjoy spending my spare time with family and especially days out together in Oban, and during the quieter times I like hiding behind a good crime book. Another one of my favourite pastimes is watching sport, my favourites of all must be rugby and Formula 1.
Hatchery assistant and general estate worker
- I studied horticulture at university, gaining a BSc degree and then went onto managing garden centres and working as a plant buyer in Holland. Before moving to Mull, I spent a year travelling around New Zealand and Australia. Since moving to Mull 15 years ago, I have owned and run a guesthouse, after which I’ve worked for the local council and more recently for Caledonian MacBrayne as a Seaman / Purser and Motorman.
- One memory that I have from one of my first visits to Mull, as a child aged 7, was climbing Ben More. I found it so amazing that the hills were so high that I could walk in the clouds and on our descent, a jet flew beneath us. As an adult, I was drawn back to the island. Living on Mull gives me a sense of freedom and I count myself incredibly lucky to live in such a beautiful place, every day making more and more happy memories.
- The winter months are taken up with deer stalking and any other field sports I can fit in. My next passion follows directly on from that, which is charcuterie; producing salami and dried meats from what I have successfully hunted. During the summer months, I’m in my garden where I endeavour to grow enough veg for my wife and I, or I’m fishing, be it on a loch or out at sea. In-between my main hobbies I love to walk and train my pointer but I still find time for collecting fossils, woodturning & carving, making walking sticks & crooks and more recently I’ve been trying to learn pottery.
Ghillie and general estate worker
- Before I came to Benmore Estate I studied Countryside and Environmental Management at Oatridge College, and worked as a Ghillie on Dalness Estate. I grew up on a hill farm in Argyll where I spent a lot of my childhood outdoors fishing and exploring onboard my motorbike.
- Loch Na Keal has to be one of my favorite places on Mull. The views are spectacular and I thoroughly enjoy going out sea fishing in the summer months. We often see the Sea Eagles whilst out on the boats and on one occasion a pair came swooping down for a fish we caught only a few meters away.
- One of my great interests is rugby and most weekends you will find me playing for the Island’s team. We travel across the country to play different clubs from all over Scotland. I’m aiming to get my motorbike license soon so I can tour around the island and visit other parts of the country. I am also learning the art of tying flies and I can’t wait to try them whilst out fishing for salmon and trout.
Estate secretary and Head housekeeper
- Before joining Benmore Estate I was studied Marine Science at SAMS, near Oban, where I met Donald, and graduated in June 2005 with a first class Honours degree. During the summer months I worked at Tiroran House Hotel and the Boathouse on Ulva, mainly waiting and housekeeping.
- A memorable event for me on the Estate is Hogmanay at Knock House. The house is always busy with the family and we have lots of festive decorations, bonfires and of course fireworks! I enjoy the variety of roles I have from renovating and furnishing Knock Cottage to developing our new website.
- A huge passion of mine is horse riding. I am lucky enough to own my own horse and enjoy showing and jumping although nothing beats a good hack and a gallop along the beach at low tide. I also enjoy boating with Donald on our RIB exploring Mull and the west coast of Scotland, we have even made it to Ballycastle in Northern Ireland.
- Originally from Slovakia, I have travelled around the UK working in different places and doing different things including being an au pair, farm help, cooking and housekeeping on Scottish Estates and Hotels. I met Andrew while working in Dalness Lodge and we moved to Benmore Estate in 2009.
- As an outdoor lover, I am delighted to have the opportunity to feed the wintering stags during the harsh Scottish winter months. They each have their own personalities and are amazing to watch so close by.
- Shortly after arriving on Mull, Andrew and I started our family and we now have two delightful children, Angus and Holly. I love spending time with my family and enjoy taking long walks together with our two beloved dogs. I also enjoy relaxing on one of the beautiful beaches of Mull, lunching with friends, up-cycling furniture and learning Spanish.
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