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Castles and three sporting estates are for sale in Scotland, with interest from buyers across Europe and the US.
A “starter castle” can cost as little as £150,000 for Westhall Castle in Aberdeenshire to those selling for millions of pounds. Parts of the building date back to the 16th century, with 17th-century additions and a major Victorian extension by A & W Reid, of Inverness.
In the 1980s and early-1990s, Westhall Castle was run as a hotel with self-catering units, but today requires complete restoration.Historically the property of the Bishops of Aberdeen, it passed to a branch of the Gordons at the Reformation and, in 1681, was bought by James Horn, vicar of Elgin, who married a Leslie of Pitcaple.
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Duncraig Castle near Plockton was for sale at £800,000.Update- Duncraig Castle has been sold .
Set in 25 acres of private landscaped grounds, Johnston Tower, part of Keithhall House, was originally constructed as Caskieben Castle in the 16th century. At one time, Caskieben Castle was owned by classical Latin poet Arthur Johnston, before it was bought in 1662 by the infamous Keith family. The Keiths were a major Scottish military family in the 17th century with Jacobite connections and they transformed the building from a modest tower house construction to a grander Renaissance building.
Johnston Tower is a unique part of Inverurie’s heritage and its new owners will be funding the restoration of many other unique buildings throughout the north-east. The corridors of Keith hall have featured many popular historical figures of the Keith family, such as George Keith, 5th Earl Marischal of Scotland, and a Jacobite rebel.
A 5,000-acre Dalchully Estate, near Laggan, Inverness-shire – the Highland retreat of Xavier-Louis Vuitton, heir to the world-famous fashion dynasty – is on the market for £4.25m.
Foreign buyers are attracted because they get much better value for their money now.Sporting estates and castles have not lost any significant value in the current climate.
Balfour Castle off Orkney, one of the most northerly castles in the world , sold for more than £2.7m .Castles and sporting estates have proved over the years to be good investments. They are certainly better investments than the stock market. Since 2006 the FTSE has halved in value and while the price of estates or castles may not have gone up as swiftly, they haven’t dipped as significantly.
Skelmorlie Castle in Ayrshire, which comes with 27 and a half acres of land and a picturesque view of the Isle of Arran, is on sale for offers of more than £1.95m, while Barcaldine Castle in Oban has just gone on the market for offers over £1.35m.
Geoffrey Nicholsby bought Duntarvie Castle in West Lothian nearly 18 years ago. He initially wanted to transform it into a five-star hotel, but later set about developing the property as a retreat for customers to get kilted out. The 61-year-old has changed his plans and instead put the remains of the castle, on the Hopetoun Estate near Winchburgh, up for sale. With property planning consent already in place for it to become a corporate headquarters – complete with its own retail, guest accommodation and helipad – selling agents expect it to be snapped up by an international firm looking for a property as a global HQ.
Savills have got four castles on the market, three of which are in the north-east, which is very rare. People sell their castles for a variety of reasons, but it tends to be people whose children have left home.
It is amazing and quite unprecedented that as many as 15 castles are on the market because these types of properties tend to be held by the same people for a very long time.
The credit crunch has had an impact and these people are looking to realise capital. Rural property castles and large estates tend to be held by the same families for generations. Half of Scotland hasn’t been on the market for centuries.