Big hole for sale – £30,000 (it's worth looking into)

IT IS Europe's largest manmade hole – a water-filled quarry that provided the stone that made Aberdeen the "Granite City".

• Rubislaw Quarry was opened in 1740 and closed in 1971, during which time six million tonnes of granite were hewn out for use in Aberdeen. Its current owner, Bixen, bought it in 1997 but now wants to sell it on

Over 231 years, a staggering six million tonnes were hewn from Rubislaw Quarry before the quarrying ceased in 1971, leaving a chasm almost 500ft deep on the edge of the city's plush West End.

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But today, in one of Scotland's most bizarre property deals, the manmade crater is being put on the market – with a bargain price of only 30,000.

The seller, Bixen, an overseas-based company, is hoping the new purchasers will be able to turn the disused quarry into a tourist attraction or a leisure facility.

But yesterday, local property expert John MacRae, chairman of the Aberdeen Solicitors' Property Centre, said: "I take my hat off to whoever owns the quarry and is thinking they can sell it. I am very sorry to say that I think the appeal of this site is very limited."

After being told about proposed uses for the quarry, Mr MacRae told The Scotsman: "You have taken my breath away. There have been developments round about the quarry, but I am not sure who could make use of the quarry itself.

"I am astonished. I don't put it beyond the wit of man to come up with some use, but I would have thought access would be limited because of the surrounding developments."

However, he added: "I can't think of anything in real estate in the Aberdeen area that you can buy for 30,000."

The daunting task of selling the site has been taken up by Alex Robb, managing director of the Aberdeen-based chartered surveyors AB Robb.

He said: "This is definitely one of the most unusual sites we have been instructed to sell. But we are confident it can be sold.

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"It is well known throughout the city, but very few visitors will have seen it.

"It offers up intriguing possibilities for any buyer whether in the leisure, tourism or residential business areas.

"Ideas mentioned so far have included draining it to create some kind of leisure destination, possibly a climbing facility, or even keeping it filled with water and using it for water sports such as recreational diving."

• The quarry before it filled up with water

Mr Robb explained that the quarry had been in the ownership of Bixen, whose directors wished to remain anonymous, since 1997. But this was the first time the quarry had been placed on the open market.

The site being sold covers the five acres of the quarry itself and the two acres of land that surround it.

Mr Robb said: "Bixen are selling it now because they have decided it's an appropriate time to let somebody else have the opportunity to take it on and do something with it."

He described the 30,000 asking price as "realistic". He added: "There are restrictions on the development. It is going to be up to somebody to come up with ideas as to what they do with the site. They will need to satisfy themselves as to the conditions for development there."

The site covers 7.3 acres. The oval-shaped quarry itself, first opened in 1740 at the Hill of Rubislaw, is 466ft (142 metres) deep and 394ft (120 metres) wide, and has filled up with water over the past 50 years.