The history of Faskally House, Pitlochry, goes back to 1831, the date above the front entrance doorway. Having passed through five different owners, it was bought in 1996 by Faskally Christian Trust, a group of Christians from the north and east of Scotland who had a long-standing interest in the development of Christian youth camps and related activities. The house is in an ideal setting looking over Loch Faskally with sixty-seven acres of open fields and mature woodland extending along the east bank of the rivers Tummel and Garry in the beautiful countryside of Perthshire, in the ‘heart of Scotland’.
The name ‘Faskally’ is derived from the Gaelic and means ‘Stance by the Ferry’. It is probable that a small ferry over the River Tummell, just after it had been joined by the River Garry, would have operated from here in previous centuries to complement the one at Port na Craig, three miles downstream. It was also probably a resting place for highland cattle drovers going to markets in the south. Loch Faskally, a new loch created in 1946 when the Pitlochry Dam was built, was named after the house and estate on its north bank. Faskally Christian Trust was established in 1993 and initially made up of representatives of the North East of Scotland Christian Youth Camp, the Murray and Nairn Camp, and the Scottish Postal Bible Class and Tayside Camps. Each of these had been running for many years but was beginning to find it difficult to continue hiring school premises during the summer vacation period due to increasingly stringent fire regulations. Hiring costs were also steadily increasing. After much thought and prayer it became a conviction that a suitable permanent site should be sought for the Youth Camps in Scotland.
Searches for suitable premises began in 1993 and several potential sites were identified. Faskally House came on the market and the Lord worked in an amazing way to allow the Faskally Trust to buy the House in 1996 for £210,000.
Arthur and Christine Pollard moved into the cottage to manage the Centre as part of their service for the Lord. The early months of 1997 were devoted to cleaning, painting and organizing with the help of many volunteers. No major works were required initially to make the facilities operational. The first major development was to build a new games hall which was completed in 2002 at a cost of around £155,000. The first of many uses of Faskally House took place on 25-27 April 1997. About seventy Christian young people came together for a weekend of fellowship and Bible teaching. To hear hearty singing echoing through the building and to see the word of God opened and taught to receptive youngsters was a deeply moving experience for those who had waited on God to bring it all about.
In addition to the original objectives directed towards young people for summer camps and weekend activities, the Trust has developed other uses for the centre such as family holidays and midweek breaks throughout the year. The Lord has greatly blessed the whole project. We reached our tenth anniversary last year with a deep sense of gratitude to the Lord and to a great number of His people who in many ways have given liberally of their time, talents and resources to support all that has been done. During 2007 Arthur and Christine felt the time had come for them to move on and search was made for their replacements. Alan and Ann Stapeley felt exercised before the Lord for this work and the Trust duly appointed them and their assembly in Dreghorn commended them to the work. However, in the September, before they were due to take over the work in January of 2008, the Lord called Arthur home, his work apparently having been done, and done well! Many are indebted to him for his labours in Faskally.
Our thoughts are with Christine and our prayers with Alan and Ann as they carry on this work for the Lord. We want to give God the glory for it all as we raise our ‘Ebenezer’ for truly hitherto hath the Lord helped us. For further information contact Faskally Christian Trust, Faskally House, Pitlochry, Scotland, PH16 5LA. Telephone 01796 474411.