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Newsletter 2022

David, Chairman of the Board, writes

Dear Friends of the Coach House,

This newsletter comes with our greetings and our thanks for your generous support, gifts and prayers over the last few years. They have been difficult times for everyone, not least during the pandemic, but with your help our charity has been able to persevere through the challenges they have presented.

Now as we enter the season of autumn we are in a position to share some heartening news with you. The  years of hard work and fund raising have borne fruit as  the Steadings Cottage, just across the road from the Coach House, has at last been built. This has been made possible by the support of the Society of Retreat Conductors and our many generous donors. Once again our thanks for your generosity at a time of such economic pressure on all of us.  
Here is  the  new Steadings Cottage

The Steadings Cottage now provides a home for our Co-ordinator, Claire, for whom it is essential to live close to the Coach House. It is a well-insulated building, with air source heating and triple glazing; in addition solar panels will soon be installed. Old slates from the rear wing of the Steadings, the part now demolished, as well as some of the stone, have been reused on the new building.

As the Cottage has three bedrooms, Claire is willing to offer accommodation for one or two short term volunteers who come to join her on the team. Volunteers generally come for a week or two, but occasionally they may stay for a month. The small bed-sit/flat in the Coach House itself is a lovely space for one volunteer to use, but this new cottage provides us with additional space for them, including somewhere for them to relax and eat together when the house is full with retreatants. Volunteers have really enjoyed having this available. Like the Coach House, it has beautiful views across the Moray Firth.


The trustees would like to thank Claire for the enormous amount of work she has done and the responsibility she has carried since taking on the role of Co-ordinator in April 2021. Her wholehearted commitment to the ethos here, her deep faith and her passion for hospitality are key components of the house’s life. Despite the building work at the Steadings, and all the demands of selling her own home and moving north, she has managed to oversee and run a substantial programme this year.

The Coach House continues to be in great demand as a place to come on retreat. In particular we have noticed consistent interest in silent individual retreats which we feel the house and team here are well equipped to provide. Reopening the house whilst adhering to the Covid guidelines for hospitality venues was a challenge that Claire and our volunteers met with skill and great attention to detail. The measures were very time-consuming in addition to all the usual tasks, but guests much appreciated the care that was taken.


Our next important stage
The trustees are now focusing on how to finance a paid post for someone to work alongside Claire. Although we have a strong team of volunteers who play a vital part in our operation, we nevertheless need another full time person to share the responsibility of running the house and the programme with Claire. We are looking at different ways this may be possible, as the Coach House has always had to be flexible and creative in the way it has been run. Individuals already give considerable hours of voluntary service here, but it is clear that even with that, we will need more income than we currently receive each year in order to fund this post.

We would be grateful if any of our Friends felt able to donate to help us in this. As you will appreciate, in these times when there is an increased need for individuals to have a restorative break here, we are keen to keep our charges as low as we possibly can.

We are most aware that the current financial situation is a difficult one for many, and that this is not an ideal time to be seeking donations, however if you would like to make a gift now, this would be a great encouragement and  tremendously appreciated. The 'Donate Now' button is a secure online link to our CAF Donate Page. 

Donate Now

In the past three years we have received two significant legacies which have been a wonderful boost to our funds. We would like to express our immense gratitude to Cynthia Bunch and Peter Wise for doing this. Please would you consider leaving a bequest to the Coach House in your will to help this charity continue its work in the future?

 We are most grateful to all the donors, including the Fargher-Noble Trust
who helped us provide this much needed facility in our art space. Many guests appreciate being able to use art/clay materials as part of their own reflections, so now  having a sink close by in which  to wash brushes and palettes, or clean fingers  made sticky by  glue or clay, has been a real boon.

Apart from the Steadings Cottage, we have another new addition extending our accommodation, the wonderful donation of a glamping pod. It is well insulated, connected to all facilities, with its own shower and toilet room, little galley kitchen, sitting area and separate bedroom.  It has a decking area with its own gate. Situated in a corner of the Steadings site it has a lovely view across the Moray Firth, and has already become an enjoyable, more secluded space, for either a volunteer or a retreatant.

A final Thank You

 Over the last two years our team of volunteers has grown. We are so grateful to those who have volunteered for many years and to those who have more recently joined us.  Each person brings their own gifts which add to the richness of life here. Their commitment and hard work enable the Coach House to welcome and care for guests. Without them the Coach House could not run its programme.



Programme 2023
And speaking of programme, this is now on our website. Here is a direct link to the page.

Please browse it, as we hope you will be able to come and visit us again soon, and also let others know what is on offer here.


Continuing to bear fruit

Autumn is often heralded by rainbows here at Kilmuir, signs of hope and beauty to share with you. Two apple trees were planted in the paddock behind the house in 2016 in memory of Joyce Ferne, our Co-Founder. It is gives us joy to see them flourishing and bearing much fruit, which we hope also reflects the ongoing life of the Coach House. This year has seen new guests discover us, and familiar faces return once again for a retreat. Many have spoken of the recuperative value of their time here.
We are very pleased  to share with you too that Margaret Silf and Rev Peter Dewey have recently agreed to become patrons of this charity, so  joining our group of patrons, and  we thank them all for their support for  the vision and  work  that we hold together. 

Drawing upon a Deeper Abundance

As many of you will know the Coach House has a rhythm of morning and evening meditation, when we sit together in silence for 30 minutes in the beautiful octagonal sanctuary. A short passage is read at the beginning to lead us into this silence.  Here is one such passage, written by Richard Rohr, which we would like to share with you. It was subsequently pinned to our kitchen notice board by one of our volunteers to keep the team going whilst washing up!

‘There is a part of you that is Love itself, and that is what we must fall into
– it is already there.  
Once you move your identity to that level of deep inner contentment, you will realise that you are drawing upon a Life that is much larger than your own and from a deeper abundance.’


I hope you have enjoyed hearing about recent developments at the Coach House. We keep you all continually in our thoughts and prayers.

With every good wish,

David Sutton

Chairman, Board of Trustees

on behalf of the Board of Trustees
The Coach House Kilmuir Trust is a registered charity
(Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation)
No SC029790