State-of-the-art technology developed for the livestock industry is helping Isle of Skye crofter, Peter MacDonald, provide exceptionally high-quality accommodation for tourists. He decided to capitalise on the stunning location of his existing backpackers’ hostel, a converted barn, at The Glebe, Kilmore, Sleat, by erecting a new Heartland holiday lodge alongside – the first one of its type.

Designed by architect Peter Caunt of Quercus and constructed by Staffordshire company, ARM Buildings, part of the Blairgowrie-based Proctor Group, it doubles the hostel’s capacity by providing three private family rooms each holding up to four people. There are en-suite facilities and a communal Scandinavian-style kitchen.

A feature of the construction is the use of unique prefabricated laminated panels giving exceptionally high levels of thermal insulation - originally developed for piggeries! – to speed up construction. The building was erected on timber piles to wind and water tightness in three days and completed within four weeks. With half-round timber cladding and a steel profile roof it blends well with the environment.

A 25-acre croft with sheep and cattle was just not viable, so we had to look for alternative enterprises,” commented Peter. Although he puts up backpackers from all over the world, he needed the new lodge to provide the greater degree of privacy required by families. The project, which cost under £50,000, attracted a 50 per cent grant under the agricultural business diversification scheme.