Calum’s Cabin is a charity that provides holiday retreats for children facing cancer. The charity is named after Calum Speirs who was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour when he was just 11 years old. During his treatment, he was aware of how lucky he was to live in a beautiful part of the world so he wanted to raise money to allow other children going through cancer treatment to have a holiday near where he lived and so Calum’s Cabin was born. Their beautiful accommodation enables breaks away where the whole family can spend quality time making irreplaceable memories and recharging their batteries for what may lie ahead.
About Calum’s Cabin
Calum’s Cabin has two holiday homes, one on the beautiful Isle of Bute and one in Ayrshire. The Isle of Bute is a beautiful island off the coast of Scotland, known for its stunning scenery, friendly people, and relaxed atmosphere. The Ayrshire holiday home is located in the heart of the countryside, with easy access to beaches, forests, and other outdoor activities. Calum’s Cabin also have flats available in Glasgow that provide comfortable home-from-home surroundings close to the main cancer treatment centres for families whose children are on long-term treatment
Both holiday homes are fully equipped and can accommodate up to six people. They have everything you need for a comfortable and relaxing break, including bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchens, dining areas, and living rooms. There are also plenty of outdoor spaces to enjoy, such as gardens, patios, and barbecue areas.
Calum’s Cabin holidays are a great way for families to come together and make special memories that will last a lifetime. They provide a much-needed escape from the stresses of childhood cancer treatment and allow families to focus on spending quality time together.
Calum’s Cabin on the Isle of Bute
Calum’s Cabin on the Dumfries House Estate
Our Trip to Calum’s Cabin
During the 2023 Easter break, we were given a three-night family holiday at the holiday accommodation in Ayrshire which is located on the Dumfries House Estate owned by King Charles III. We stayed in a three-bedroom self-catering cottage at the Lodge. As the cottage is such a long way from home, we decided to start driving up the day before and stopped off at a Premier Inn just outside Blackpool. This meant that we could visit our favourite fish and chip shop for dinner (Pablo’s, opposite the South Pier in Blackpool) and have an hour or two in the amusements on the pier before heading to bed.
Before we arrived at the cottage we were sent a handbook that contained vouchers for us to use with businesses local to the accommodation such as £20 to spend at Morton’s Milk & Farm Shop, a visit to Heads of Ayr Farm Park, ice creams for the children at a local ice cream parlour, entry to an outdoor swimming pool, the chance to go to the cinema and a bucket of 50 balls at a local driving range. Additionally, we were sent a £30 voucher for a local hotel and restaurant chain. When we arrived, we were shown around our accommodation and when we were shown the lounge, the coffee table was laden with gifts for us including handmade patchwork blankets for the children, a poppet, colouring books, pencils, Easter eggs, handmade chocolates, a porcelain hanging ornament, the Gruffalo’s Child DVD and an envelope containing £100 cash! We couldn’t believe it, we hadn’t been expecting any gifts as we had already been given so much so we are unbelievably grateful to the entire Calum’s Cabin team.
Arrival at Calum’s Cabin
On arrival day, we could check in from 3 pm and as we were lucky with the traffic, we arrived more or less at 3 pm. Once we had been shown around we unloaded the car and then headed off to explore the grounds. During this exploration, we strolled around the gardens surrounding the cottage and the Lodge and then headed deeper into the 2,000-acre estate until we reached the Coach House Cafe and the adventure playground to the absolute delight of the children! In the evening we headed into Cumnock itself and visited The Royal Hotel for dinner in the 1906 Lounge Bar.
On our first full day in Scotland, we decided to visit Heads of Ayr Farm Park which overlooks the beautiful coastline and is only a half-hour drive away from the Dumfries House Estate. Heads of Ayr Farm Park very kindly donated a child and an adult ticket and then Calum’s Cabin then arranged tickets for the rest of the family. Heads of Ayr Farm Park is a fantastic day out for the whole family, my children are aged 5 & 10 and there was plenty to keep them both entertained all day. As this is the UK, the weather is not guaranteed so the good news is that there are plenty of indoor activities as well as outdoor ones. There is also plenty of space so even though it was quite busy when we went (it was a dry and sunny day during the school holidays) nowhere felt crowded.
After the farm, we headed into Ayr town centre and went for dinner at Mr Basrai’s World Buffet which is an all-you-can-eat buffet (There’s one in Blackpool, one in Ayr and one in Edinburgh). This is a great option for families with different tastes and those with picky eaters because there’s usually something to please every palate and it’s not too expensive. When we got back to the cottage, we decided to light the fire as the weather had turned chilly and wet. The log fire was so cosy and the children loved watching it. The next morning, we called reception who sent someone over during the day to clear it and lay it ready for the next evening.
On our second and final full day in Scotland, we decided to have a day trip to Edinburgh as it felt incredibly wrong to be so close and not visit this stunning city. This was both an exciting and worrying prospect. I visited Edinburgh almost 20 years ago and completely fell in love with the city, it’s so beautiful and all the main tourist attractions are so close together so it’s a great place to visit with children as they are less likely to get tired from being dragged around all over the place. I found it worrying because it was far too difficult to decide what to visit in just one day, I wanted to actually see the places we visited so flying in and out of lots of places and not doing them justice just wasn’t going to cut it. In the end, we decided that the best way to explore the city without having to drag the wheelchair around with us was to book a hop-on hop-off open-top bus tour of the city. We booked with Edinburgh Bus Tours. We opted to buy the Grand 24 Ticket which meant that we could go on three different tours: the Edinburgh Tour, The Majestic Tour and The City Sightseeing Edinburgh Tour, within a 24-hour period so if you only have a day in Edinburgh this is the best way to see all the main sights.
On the day we left, we needed to be out of the accommodation by 10 am so we decided that rather than jump straight in the car to head back, we would spend a little more time exploring the grounds and let the children blow off some steam in the adventure play area. There’s so much to do there and there’s even a series of interconnecting treehouses with some big slides. After spending some time charging round the treehouses we then headed around to the maze which is made from over 2,000 trees, has half a mile of pathways and has a Japanese pagoda in the centre. We were pretty speedy at the maze and made it all the way to the centre and back out again in just 7 minutes and 12 seconds (yes, I’m so cool that I timed us!)
If you would like to learn about other childhood cancer charities then this article outlines all the ones we have encountered so far.