Kota Lodges at Wester Third Farm

Wester Third Farm is a dairy and beef farm within Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. Following the recent tough times for dairy farmers, which saw milk prices fall to historically low levels, it felt like the right time for this family to come up with an idea that could create a steady income. These circumstances, together with their personal experience of sharing an indoor BBQ with friends in the middle of winter, were the inspiration behind Kota Lodges - a farm diversification project. The idea to build luxurious cabins equipped with personal indoor BBQ and hot tub facilities is now coming to life, with the building process in full swing. 

“Farming is so isolated and such a unique way of life, we knew the only way to grow and become more efficient was to reach out beyond farming. Like a good recipe, we pulled together all our finest ingredients and mixed them with the best of our knowledge and experience. Living in the most beautiful setting, we had captured something good and we wanted to take it further and share.

“Finding a Twin Kota opened a world of ideas and opportunities. Without a doubt our ideas have grown far beyond our initial thinking but this has happened for all the right reasons and the LEADER grant process helped us to process this journey and make well-informed choices along the way. We are proud to be Scottish, love the countryside and delight in encouraging visitors to join us in one of our greatest national assets - Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park.”

 

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Applicant Name

Wester Third Farm

Project Aims

  • Capture the beautiful qualities of the environment set within Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park
  • “to create an affordable short-term holiday accommodation that is quirky, unique and  well-tailored to our increasingly variable climate”
  • Compete in price with the glamping market & match the standards set in a lodge;
  • Exceed the amenity in both industries
  • Support tourism whatever the weather
  • Provide consumers with a high-quality experience at highly competitive rates
  • Provide the farm with a regular income stream and support the local community and economy all year round.

Project Detail

The project consists of building three Twin Kota Lodges for short-term holiday use. Each Kota has been designed with disabled-access in mind and has a second private Kota equipped with an indoor BBQ and covered hot tub facilities.

Positioned at the Gateway to Loch Lomond and Trossachs National park, the Kota Lodges will cater for the growing interest and demand for destinations and accommodation in the park, as identified in Visit Scotland's predictions for 2017. This accommodation will allow for year-round tourism, attracting visitors whatever the weather – a valuable quality in Scotland’s less than perfect climate. Visitors can experience a working dairy and beef farm, simply spend time away from it all with their family/friends, enjoy their private BBQ and hot tub set amidst beautiful scenery, and explore other walks, attractions and activities in the area. In this way the project hopes to benefit other businesses and the local economy.                                                                                                

Match Funding

Total Project Cost (excl. VAT): £111624.50

Eligible Costs (excl. VAT): £69,345.33

Grant Requested From LEADER (excl. VAT): £25,000.00

Lessons Learned

  • An independent farm review will make you more aware of the cost of each aspect of your farming model - you will see its value in a very different light.
  • It is easy to get caught up with the daily tasks and frustration, so take time out to discuss what you feel  and what your head already knows.
  • It’s quite an eye opener to consider the actual figures. You may find an aspect of your business is particularly profitable but it’s hidden because another is so costly.
  • Have a good business model that is understood for its strengths and weaknesses – this will create a stability in itself.
  • Whatever you start with, don’t be afraid to be curious. Think outside of the box, when it comes to your farm, try to see what others see.
  • Either way, as the journey becomes more complex seek advice.
  • Make links with the LEADER team, Business Gateway etc. as their guidance can help you improve the original business plan (this is how the idea of having disabled accessible cabins developed).