Castle returned to former glory after £9m facelift

What was almost ruinous five years ago is now about to open as a luxury hotel. Picture: Contributed
What was almost ruinous five years ago is now about to open as a luxury hotel. Picture: Contributed
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It is a 15th century castle which was once owned by Charles MacIntosh – the inventor of waterproof fabrics used in the manufacture of the iconic raincoat – but has been left to fall into ruin in recent times.

Now Crossbasket Castle at High Blantyre, South Lanarkshire, which was officially listed as being a building “at risk” five years ago, has been returned to its former glory after a multi-million pound investment and is set to open as a luxury hotel, restaurant and event venue.

When we purchased it, vandals had damaged the roof and interiors

Alison Reid-Timoney

The castle, which was built by the Lindsay family, owners of nearby Mains Castle, as a dower house – where a widow could live after her husband died and the main home passed to her eldest son – has been bought by businessman Steve Timoney and his wife Alison Reid-Timoney.

The couple have invested more than £9 million over the past four years, restoring the building and adding a ballroom which overlooks waterfalls on the River Calder and creating facilities for up to 250 event guests.

The new owners have furnished the nine bedrooms, drawing room, dining room and library with antique 14th, 15th and 16th century pieces. The castle fell into disrepair after a developer, which planned to turn the building into flats, went into administration during the recession at the end of the last decade.

Ms Reid-Timoney said: “My husband and I have a passion for restoring old buildings and first spotted Crossbasket Castle over a decade ago. When we purchased it, vandals had damaged the roof and interiors, it was leaking water and the walls were starting to deteriorate.

“Since then we have painstakingly restored it with a focus on using craftsmen to reinstate original features. Our aim is to create a sustainable business for our family that also supports the community we live in.”

The property was sold in the 17th century to Thomas Peter, who was Dean of Guild of Glasgow in the early 1700s and was subsequently bought by a string of businessmen including MacIntosh, before becoming a private hospital after being donated to Dr Barnardo’s homes. It later housed US-based religious group the Word of Life Church and after that, became a nursery.

During MacIntosh’s time, a dye mill was built in the grounds, where fabrics could be dyed for the chemist’s experiments, while a Victorian extension was erected under the ownership of businessman George Neilson.

The castle will be managed by Inverlochy Castle Management International, which already operates 12 other properties around Scotland, including Inverlochy Castle, near Fort William, Greywalls Hotel in Gullane and Rocpool Reserve in Inverness, as well as tennis star Andy Murray’s Cromlix Hotel in Dunblane.

Norbert Lieder, managing director of ICMI, said: “I am confident that, in partnership with the Timoneys, we can create a very special hotel that is unique in the Glasgow area. Alison has done a fantastic job with the restoration – I can honestly say her attention to detail and sympathetic restoration are first class.

“While we aim to attract visitors from around the world we are also determined to ensure it remains a venue of choice for local people and becomes one of the premier wedding and event locations in Scotland.”