Couple buy derelict Scottish castle to restore it as luxury wedding venue

A couple snapped up a derelict 200-year-old castle for £740,000 and are turning it into a luxury wedding venue.

Tracey Horton and Rob Beaton have already installed glamping huts at Culdees Castle, near Crieff, Perthshire.

The castle has been devastated by dry rot and has fallen into severe disrepair after the last occupants moved out in 1968.

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Tracey and Rob have spent almost £1.5 million so far buying and restoring the castle. Their project began in early 2019 and will require years of constant work.

Tracey Horton and Rob Beaton have already installed glamping huts at Culdees Castle

Having completed work on the grounds and the courtyard, next on the list is to restore the kitchen.

Tracey said: "It has been very busy. We are hoping to start the bulk of the inside of the castle this month."

The project has so far cost the couple £320,000 on the renovation work.

That is in addition to £360,000 on the installation of four glamping huts and £740,000 on the purchase of the castle. If the work continues at its current pace, the couple plan to recruit staff this year.

As part of her kitchen restoration, Tracey hopes to salvage the original ovens.

That would, she said, be a fitting way of marking local tradesman Jimmy McCrae's involvement with the project.

"Jimmy's grandmother worked for 50 years at that oven," Tracey said.

"Hopefully we can get it restored and renovate the kitchen. When it's done, I'd like to invite his family over for dinner.

"We think this next phase will take us about three or four months."

Once the kitchen is complete, the couple will turn their attentions to restoring the chapel - located immediately above but in serious disrepair.

Tracey said: "I have spent a lot of time finding all the mosaic floor tiles and I'm hoping that with an old picture I've got of the chapel, I can recreate the floor. That will be the ultimate jigsaw."

Tracey said the glamping pods in the estate have been "bonkers" busy.

That has led to a dilemma - with planning permission granted for a fifth pod - but with Tracey unable to dedicate any more time to their upkeep.

"I can't do the castle renovation and the glamping so we're in a bit of a Catch-22 situation.

"If we get the other pod installed, we might have to take on staff."

The glamping firm is, though, a much-needed income for the couple as they continue to pour funds back into the castle renovation.

The castle was designed and built in 1810 for Charles Drummond, whose clan was rewarded for fighting with Robert the Bruce.