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Happy New Year

As 2023 draws to a close we thought it would be nice to drop all of our lovely customers a quick e-mail to wish everyone a peaceful, healthy and happy new year! 2023 was a busy year! Of course, this is also a time when we tend to reflect on the year that has passed and take stock of all the things that have happened.We began 2023 with the target of getting our 3 new guest rooms refurbished ready for the spring. Thankfully we managed this by April and since then we have been delighted to welcome lots of lovely visitors up to the lodge in the wild beauty of the northern Highlands.  2023 also saw our partner business of Forsinard Lodge Tearoom, develop and we had a good summer season with visitors to the Flow Country from all around the world. It was absolutely lovely to meet so many different people and hear their experiences of visiting the Scottish Highlands. During 2023 we also wanted to start the process of developing our specialised, weeklong photography holidays based here at the lodge. Beyond the need for high quality accommodation, we also needed to figure out what our guests would like to see and find great subjects for them to photograph. During the first half of the year, we had a lot of wonderful ‘regulars’ come to visit and with their help and input we have now refined a whole range of different ideas for our holidays in 2024.


Another milestone for us in 2023, not least on a personal level, was to re-connect to our passion for the process of photography. 20 years of running a busy photography business has sometimes distracted us from this ambition, but the big move to Scotland in 2022, has thankfully provided opportunity for fresh beginnings. We are now blessed with living in an area of wild beauty, rich in photographic inspiration, and this has been the perfect catalyst for re-invigorating our love of taking pictures. Many of you will also know that historically, photographs captured in a studio setting have always been a big part of the wild arena story, and initially the move to Forsinard Lodge put this on the back burner. However, we managed to acquire an additional building at the beginning of 2023 which has allowed us to re-start this part of our photographic story. The studio and office building is work in progress, but we now have a great space for shooting images inside, super useful if the weather is less favourable!


2024 plans. So, what does 2024 look like? Well, we still have lots of plans for the lodge and this will doubtless take some of our time in the new year. We also plan to launch a re-fresh of our tours and holidays both here at the lodge and elsewhere around the world. This part of our business has been somewhat neglected of late, but we hope to give everyone lots of awesome trip ideas for 2024 and 2025, so watch this space! The weeklong photography holidays here at the lodge are at the heart of this and we are just finalising an update of itineraries for the new season, partly based on the great feedback we have had from our guests.  Our membership scheme has also recently undergone a re-fresh ready for the start of 2024, and we will be adding lots of new on-line content during January that will hopefully give an additional great reason for people to join. Another new feature, the ‘Monthly Members Virtual Meet-Up’ was trialled in December with great success and we hope to develop the community side of membership significantly in the coming months.


As part of our journey to re-connect with our photographic roots, we have also quietly been working on our traditional analogue photography capabilities. Both David and Janet have a huge wealth of experience in shooting images with film and this is a knowledge resource we really want to make the most of in the new year. 2024 will see the start of our darkroom program, with us offering on-site B&W and colour film processing plus digital negative scanning in both 35mm and 120 sizes. This initially will just form an element of our analogue photography holidays but may well grow into something larger depending on the needs of our visitors.  Of course, beyond all of these things we really hope 2024, will bring peaceful, healthy and happy times for us and all of our wonderful friends, neighbours and visitors! 


And finally … Customer Survey prize draw winner! Lots of you may member we launched a large customer survey back in the autumn and as an incentive for everyone to take part we offered a free holiday up to us at Forsinard. Well, as promised, we draw a winner out in late December, and we are delighted to announce that Ian Brunt was the winner and he will be joining us for a great week of photography in February. A huge thank you to everyone else that took part in the survey, and we will be sending out another email for those who completed the survey in due course. So, as we sign out for 2023, all that is left to say is a huge thankyou to everyone who has helped and supported us over the past 12 months. Happy New Year one and all!

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