Scottish castle sold in eight days as price soars beyond £2.85m asking price

A Scottish castle has been sold just eight days after it went on the market, with the buyer paying “significantly” over the £2.8 million asking price amid a flurry of interest from both home and abroad.

Duncraig Castle near Plockton in Wester Ross has been purchased by a UK buyer who intends to use the vast property as a private family home.

Cameron Ewer, estate agent with Savills in Glasgow, said Duncraig had been a “phenomenal sale”.

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While the sale price cannot be publicly disclosed at present, the buyer purchased Duncraig at a “significant premium” over the asking price.

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Mr Ewer said: “Duncraig went on the open market and it sold eight days later.

"We were inundated with more than 70 inquiries and the vast majority of them came from overseas. With the pound being weaker than the dollar, we do expect a high level of international interest in high-end properties.”

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While strong interest in the property had come from the US and Middle East, Duncraig Castle sold to a buyer from the UK.

“Whether it is a UK buyer or an international buyer, the international interest means that a UK buyer will have to be prepared to pay what you need to pay to secure the property,” Mr Ewer added.

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Duncraig Castle near Plockton has sold in eight days after a flood of interested buyers "significantly" pushed up the £2.85m asking price. PIC: Savills.

The 19th-century Baronial-style castle, built for Sir Alexander Matheson, the Highlander and MP who made his fortune trading opium in China, is used as a bed and breakfast and wedding venue.

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In the early 2000s, it featured in a reality television programme that followed its past owners in their struggle to renovate the rambling pile.

Built in 1886 for Matheson, a long-serving MP for Ross and Cromarty, Duncraig has 15 en-suite bedrooms, five reception rooms and a private chapel. Overlooking Loch Carron, it features a private island, two moorings, a jetty and a boathouse.

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It sits close to Duncraig train station, built in 1897 by the Highland Railway Company as a private stop for the castle, but which was later opened up to the public.

Duncraig was built in the late 19th Century for Sir Alexander Matheson who made his fortune trading opium with China. PIC: Savills.
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Matheson worked for his uncle, James, and made his fortune working for the family firm, which traded opium with China. He retired aged 36 and returned to the Highlands, where he bought several estates and built Duncraig, using architect Alexander Ross, who designed several landmark buildings in Inverness.

The castle, which stayed in the Matheson family until the 1920s, was used during the Second World War as a naval hospital and then gifted by then owner Sir Daniel Hamilton to the Highland Regional Council, which used it as a catering college for girls until the late 1980s.

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It was unsuccessfully handed over to former pop star and record company boss David Balfe, who played keyboards in The Teardrop Explodes and set up record labels Zoo and Food. His plans to set up the Highland Christian Music Centre Trust at Duncraig never materialised.

Bought in 2002 by the Dobsons of Nottingham, who moved 17 members of the family to the castle, their renovations of the-then semi-derelict pile featured in the show The Dobsons of Duncraig.

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Inside Duncraig: The 15-room pile has been successfully run as a bed and breakfast and wedding venue for the past 13 years. PIC: Savills.

For the past 13 years, Duncraig has been owned by Suzanne Hazeldine and husband Duncan Gass who renovated the building and ran a successful business. It is understood they are due to move back to England.

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The property featured on a reality television show which charted the past struggles of earlier owners to renovate the castle. PIC: Savills.
It is understood the new owner wants to use Duncraig as a private family home. PIC: Savills.

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