Argyll estate which inspired the Dam Busters raid put up for sale

The estate is on the market for 2.78m.
The estate is on the market for 2.78m.
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It was the site of a secret testing ground for the Second World War operation that inspired the film The Dam Busters and boasts its own “private pub”.

Now the 1,041-acre Glenstriven Estate has been put on the market with a price tag of £2.8 million.

The country estate in Argyll, which overlooks a majestic loch and is a popular pheasant hunting ground, was used as a testing ground for the wartime “bouncing bomb” operation featured in the 1955 film.

The estate, bought by the current owners, the Blacker family, in the early 1980s, boasts a 1860 country house, sporting facilities and woodlands and coastal gardens, as well as The Glenstriven Arms – a former generator building converted into a private pub.

The setting, on the banks of Loch Striven on the Cowal Peninsula in Argyll, was a secret site where prototypes of the bouncing bomb designed by aircraft engineer Barnes Wallis were tested.

It is believed approximately 200 inert bombs were dropped in the loch during training runs before 617 Squadron’s successful night-time raid on hydroelectric dams in the Ruhr Valley, Germany’s industrial heartland, in May 1943.

Some of those prototypes were successfully recovered last year.

Locals were evacuated from the area during the tests so that they did not know what was going on. A member of the Berry family, who owned the estate at the time of the tests and were the only people allowed to stay in the area, has previously spoken of the family being moved to the back of the house and curtains drawn before the tests were carried out.

The estate’s private pub, the Glenstriven Arms, is described as a “characterful and private bar” used by guests from the main house, which has ten bedrooms. The ceiling of the pub is signed by a myriad of visitors including chef Jamie Oliver who filmed part of “Jamie’s Great Britain” at Glenstriven.

The estate is available as a whole for offers over £2.78m, or in individual lots.

Jon Lambert, senior director at John Clegg & Co, said: “We are delighted to bring Glenstriven to the open market. The sale gives a variety of purchasers the rare opportunity to purchase coastal properties in a stunning location.

“Equally, the estate as a whole provides an opportunity for an individual to carry on as the current owner has done to date.”

Loch Striven was believed to have been chosen for the bomb tests because the landscape resembled the area of Germany where the bombs were to be dropped.

The estate, which also includes holiday cottages, including Glenstriven Lodge, Invervegain Farmhouse and the chalet-style Flagstaff Cottage, which was built by the owners in the 1990s, was last put up for sale seven years ago, but is believed not to have been sold at that time.

It also includes Pier Cottage which sits on the shore of the loch, while the Old Smokehouse, previously used for fish smoking, is also let as holiday accommodation. A 30m pier, built from North American greenheart timbers, is accessible at all stages of the tide making the cottage, and the estate, very attractive to sailors.

The land encompasses 79 acres of broadleaf and conifer woodland, 59 acres of pasture and rough grazing, 834 acres of hill and 69 acres of gardens, grounds, shoreline and miscellaneous land.