Over the years
We haven’t entered ourselves for any Awards in recent years, but being nominated last month for the Visit Scotland Sustainable Tourism Award made me think about some of the Awards we have won in the past.
Green Tourism Goldstar Award 2011
The Green Tourism Business Scheme held an Awards Ceremony in London which we were unable to attend. We were amazed (and very proud) to win two Awards that night!
This is how they announced the winner:
“Our first Goldstar award is sponsored by Agri Energy
The winner of this award has been selected because ……
With a biomass boiler and 6kw wind turbine this business continues to progress with green tourism. Water is on a private supply with UV treatment and the sites has a mini district heating system. Community work includes a sponsored walk which raised £3000 and support with the local school to achieve ecoschool status. Logs are supplied from a community woodland and energy is via RSPB green energy. They are a member of slow food highlands and islands buy recycled loo roll and sells own produce. Owners have a Triodos savings account.
And the winner is…
Treshnish and Haunn Cottages”
Green Tourism Carbon Footprint Award 2011
The Carbon Footprint Award announcement read as follows:
“In addition we considered associated carbon issues such as green energy tariffs. In order to identify winners we reviewed the business against the following criteria:
- Direct energy use per overnight stay and green energy tariffs
- Indirect carbon reductions through public transport carbon offsetting and other carbon management tools
- Depth of information on the green issues of the site
- Advocacy of Green Tourism through use of the logo
Carbon Footprint for Self Catering
Probably the most competitive and difficult class to assess with some outstanding businesses all with very low carbon footprints.
This business has a biomass boiler a wind turbine and cavity insulation to restored buildings. A small district heating system heats the cottages and there is a new solar array. Guests pay for the energy they use. The business encourages people to arrive by sleeper train and use public transport. The site purchases green energy, offsets carbon and supports slow food among many other eco measures.
And the winner is..
Treshnish & Haunn Cottages
Overall the judges were impressed that the business not only has a low carbon footprint but that continuous efforts over many years had transformed traditional crofting cottages to some of the most low carbon buildings in the UK.”
How do we compare now
It is interesting to look at what they said about us then, 10 years ago, and to think about what we are doing now. In 2012 we put up a second wind turbine and are producing 85-90% of the energy the whole business consumes. 10 years on we are still using Woodfuel from the community woodland – logs and wood chip. Still involved in our local community, volunteering on various projects including the Mull and Iona Food Trail and Friends of Calgary Bay. Still members of Slow Food though the Highlands and Islands group has become the West of Scotland group! We carefully source the most sustainable products we can, including plastic free loo roll!
Over the years we have continued to reduce the energy consumption of each cottage by increasing wall insulation, improved airtight double glazing with insulated airtight doors. Cottages with electric heating now have thermostatically controlled heaters so that guests can programme them to suit their particular needs. We are hoping to replace Toecthamhor’s heaters with an air source heat pump..
We continue to encourage more sustainable forms of transport and are delighted when guests arrive by public transport. Guests come regularly from the Netherlands by ferry, train and ferry. Anything is possible!
We are still members of the Green Tourism Business Scheme and find it as useful a resource and guide as when we first joined. Their auditing process is daunting and time consuming but gives us confidence in what we are doing. And helps us avoid any unintentional green washing.
RSPB UK Nature of Farming Award
2011 was a big year for us. Not only did we win the 2 major Green Tourism awards but we also won the Scottish and UK Nature of Farming Awards. The Nature of Farming Award was a particularly heartfelt achievement as we have both got so much from seeing the farm literally blossom. We are proud to be High Nature Value farmers.
Nominee for a Sustainable Tourism Award 2022
We were surprised but proud to find out last month that we had been nominated for Visit Scotland’s Sustainable Tourism Award 2022. Unfortunately the deadline for submitting an application was at an extremely busy time for us work-wise and personally, and we were unable to meet the deadline. I have no idea who kindly nominated us, but whoever you are, thank you. We very much appreciated being nominated.