Be king of this 13th-century Scottish castle for £1.57m

A piece of Scottish history set in more than eight hectares of grounds for the price of a 5-bed villa in Arabian Ranches.
The Craig Castle near Montrose in Scotland, on the market for £1.57m (Dh7.5m). Courtesy Core Savills
The Craig Castle near Montrose in Scotland, on the market for £1.57m (Dh7.5m). Courtesy Core Savills

The organisers of last month’s Cityscape might have witnessed a decline in demand from Turkish developers, but they reported a doubling of exhibition space being taken by owners and representatives of British projects.

This is hardly surprising, given that the decline in the value of the UK pound has effectively made UK properties about 15 per cent cheaper than they were just before the results of the Brexit referendum became clear in late June.

London is still regarded as a relatively safe bet by many investors, but with UBS reporting in its Bubble Index this week that the city is the second-most overvalued in the world (No1: Vancouver) in terms of prices-to-average income, looking farther afield can uncover bargains.

Take The Craig, for instance. This is a 13th-century Scottish castellated house or castle that is steeped in history and set in more than 8 hectares of grounds. It is currently on the market for the same price as a five-bedroom villa in Arabian Ranches at £1.57 million, or Dh7.5m.

The Craig is set about 130ft above the Montrose Basin, a tidal basin in a remote spot on the east coast of Scotland.

It has been continuously occupied since the 13th century but has been through a number of upgrades since. The property contains a hall, drawing room, dining room, morning room, a study, library, office, kitchen, pantry, utility room, three bathrooms and six bedrooms, including a master bedroom with its own dressing room.

The seven reception rooms are full of original features such as flagstone floors, a stone fireplace and an original oak door in the dining room. The library has fitted bookshelves, and the drawing room has a painted ceiling that was destroyed in a fire then recreated by American architectural and decorative artist Richard Jordan, depicting Scottish birds and beasts of yore.

The property’s selling agent, Savills, says the owners have ensured that the property isn’t just a history piece but a home. It has been sensitively modernised, with the kitchen containing marble-topped cabinets, delft tiles and two Aga cookers. An older kitchen has been turned into a sauna room/gym. Within the grounds, there is a separate two-bedroom home which was a gardeners’ cottage, a timber cottage (sold separately) and a gatehouse.


Why would a property with so many features be so well-priced?

Well, it’s nothing to do with its condition. Ruaraidh Ogilvie, a director of residential property who specialises in town and country houses in Tayside and North East Scotland, said: “Over the centuries, The Craig has mercifully been spared neglect and in fact has undergone significant restoration, improvements and modernisation of the best kind.  And so it is that this utterly unique castle, one of the oldest in the country, is now fit for 21st-century living.”

It probably has more to do with its remoteness – it is one hour north of Dundee, 90 minutes south of Aberdeen, and two hours from Scotland’s capital city, Edinburgh. It is fabulous for golfers: Carnoustie is just 30 kilometres away, St Andrews 62km and Gleneagles 106km.

So why would I want to live there?

Look at what you get for your money. A quick search for similarly-priced properties in London reveal that it buys you a two-bedroom flat in Battersea. Here, you have a gardeners’ cottage on the 8 hectares of grounds that is only slightly smaller than the London flat, plus (as a separate purchase) a second, timber cottage. There’s also a gatehouse/former stable currently used as a garage and to store garden machinery, but it could be converted into another flat. And who wouldn’t want to live in a main house with amazing period details such as Tudor-style panelling, a timber-lined dressing room and a window seat hiding an original “convenience”?

Any other interesting features?

A house with this much history is packed with them. How about the arch in the 15th-century curtain wall with the inscription “qui s’y frotte s’y pique” (which roughly translates as “gather thistles, expect prickles”) or the mantle in the office with a 2nd-century quote in Latin which translates as “be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle”. Further contemplation can be garnered within The Craig’s 17th-century walled gardens, which also feature their own summerhouse, greenhouse potting sheds and garden stores.

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Published: September 29, 2016 04:00 AM


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