For no other reason than you must have passed the private entrance at the turreted gatehouse on the A811 between Balloch and Aberfoyle at least 100 times now and wondered every single time just what lies behind?
Turns out it's not too hard to find out, just take the next minor left and head up past the campsite to arrive in Gartmore where another old gate greets, which looks like this from the back, by the way.
You can get so far for a glimpse of Gartmore House and the surrounding estate but any further would require walking back up the drive and besides, there's a man hovering behind, which means you might not really be allowed in?
It seems that you are allowed in, which is good news for those forking out for all-inclusive, week-long art, craft and activity breaks. All in a late-Georgian manor house where the colourful grounds provide a perfect backdrop to brush up on your watercolours, probably.
Did you see the house? He asks. It appears he's not head of security just a similar odd bod with a passing interest in this sort of thing except his interest is more than just passing...
The last owners were the Cayzers, they made their money in shipping, but before that it was home to Robert Bontine Cunninghame Graham, wealthy adventurer, skilled fencer and then, following a conversion to socialism, president of the newly formed Scottish National Party before he died in Argentina, he says.
If only a plaque next to a monument to him hadn't already told you as much then you wouldn't have had to feign interest although it's clear his wife is long past that stage.
With the ice nicely broken, though, things move onto some general chit-chat on all things Scottish and it turns out that Dr Lachlan Munro, no less, has written a book on the subject of Cunninghame Graham and Gartmore House and it's launching tonight in the village hall, would SlyBob like to come?
Hmmm, we're not really heading home back down over the border later this afternoon but there's a booking at a new place that's now banging out more than half-decent grub in Balloch. Sorry Dr Lachlan but with the 100 or so who attended, the Daily Record™ included, and video links to South America, best of luck with it all, anyways.
There's a strong sense of community, they say, and Gartmore has an air of being more than just a little bit happy with itself.
The volunteer-led village hall has been commandeered until later for some local electioneering but next door at the Black Bull it's business as usual.
When top chef turned BBC™ football co-commentator Tom Kerridge visited in 2019, the community-run pub was struggling and, no stranger to the trade himself, Kerridge was catapulted in with some cameras to help to revive their revenue.
How that turned out isn't known, you-know-what was just around the corner, you see, so it's presumed their fancy new fayre didn't fare so well in the short term. They've come out of the other side, however, and while the hours are a little irregular, it's still community-run and has garnered plenty of press, the Daily Record™ included, and, as with Dr Lachlan, best of luck with it all, anyways.