THE SCOTTISH estate made famous by TV series Monarch of the Glen has been slashed in price by almost £2 million as its owners struggle to find a buyer.
Balavil Estate, Inverness-shire, was put on the market for £7 million but is now up for grabs at offers over £5.25 million after being on the market for more than a year.
The 7,000-acre estate, whose iconic mansion was seen weekly by millions of TV viewer , is the second major Scottish estate to drop its price as landowners are hit by a dip in the market.
Killean Estate, Argyll, has also been reduced and is available for the bargain price of £5.5 million after being cut from £7.5 million.
An industry expert suggested land sales in Scotland are suffering from a referendum backlash as wealthy foreign investors remain worried by the prospect of Scottish independence.
Balavil, near Kingussie, is known as the “jewel in the crown” of Scottish sporting estates and caught the imagination of the public after featuring in Monarch of the Glen.
The estate, which featured in the show’s seven series as Kilwillie Castle, offers the rare opportunity to stalk red deer, shoot grouse and go salmon fishing in the same place.
The selling brochure from sellers Strutt & Parker explains: “Situated at the core of the estate amid finely landscaped parkland is the Georgian house.
“Occupying an elevated setting with a southerly outlook across the upper Spey Valley, Balavil House is the centrepiece of the estate.
“The estate has a wonderful combination of sportings to include red deer, roe deer and sika deer stalking, driven and walked-up grouse shooting, driven pheasant shooting and rough shooting.
“It also includes circa 2.7 miles of single bank salmon and trout fishing on the River Spey.”
Balavil is owned by the Allan and Marjorie Macpherson-Fletcher and has been in the family since 1790.
In an interview in 2013, the Laird of Balavil said: ““We are getting long in the tooth.
“We have put our heart and soul into this place, and now it is time to cash in on that.”
He added: “Seven million and a bit would be grand.”
The Laird, then aged 63, also revealed the mansion is home to a “kindly and well meaning” ghost called Sarah - a maid who fell for the butler above her station then threw herself from a bridge.
Speaking about the modern age for the Highland sporting estates he said: “I am surrounded by billionaires. The Danish are over here. We have Arabs on this side. Swedish behind. The other side of the Arabs are Swiss Italian. Beyond them are Egyptians. Beyond them Louis Vuitton, that’s all French.”
Meanwhile Killean Estate in Argyll, complete with a magnificent mansion house, has been reduced by £2 million.
It includes a row of arts and crafts properties, a holiday letting business, a hotel, a shop and even a petrol station.
The owners have decided to remove 1,500 acres from the sale for a renewable energy project while they wait for a buyer.
During the boom years, sporting estates in the Scottish Highlands attracted some of the world’s richest people and prices to match.
In 1975, Scotland’s richest man Emirati businessman Mahdi al-Tajir bought Keir House with 15,000 acres near Stirling for £2 million, around £15 million in today’s prices.
Mohamed Al Fayed owns Balnagown Castle 30 miles north of Inverness which he bought in 1972 and has since invested more than £20 million in.
Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid al-Maktoum, the crown prince and ruler of Dubai, bought the 63,000-acre Inverinate Estate in Wester Ross, near the Kyle of Lochalsh, 25 years ago for a reputed £2 million, about £4 million in today’s prices..
John Coleman, head of rural estates for Smiths Gore in Scotland, said there was “no question” the prospect of independence was still playing on the minds of foreign investors.
“For people already living in Scotland it is not such an issue,” he said.
“For people living outwith and looking to invest within Scotland it is a question on their minds.
“It’s going to come round again and we all expect that. The world expects that.”
Robert McCulloch of Strutt and Parker, the agent selling the Monarch of the Glen estate, said: “The reduction reflects the market and the uncertain condition that prevails.”
He said the referendum saw buyers and sellers “hold off” until the outcome was known.
The Scottish Government’s land reform agenda may also be a factor, say experts.
Ministers want to broaden ownership of land in Scotland, much of which is currently held by a little over 400 people. Changes to inheritance laws and tax arrangements have been mooted.
Mr McCulloch: “The Scottish Government’s land reform agenda is causing uncertainty in the market.”
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