Kinloch Castle reminds us of a time and place but what purpose will it serve in the future?

Kinloch Castle stands on the Isle of Rum rotting, leaking and boarded up from the sun. Hummigbirds and alligators were amongst those who inhabited this Victorian pleasure palace where people used to holiday, hunt and party. Now it is a brooding white elephant in red sandstone that nobody can seem to shift.
Kinloch Castle on the Isle of Rum is for sale for £1. PIC: Kisselbach.Kinloch Castle on the Isle of Rum is for sale for £1. PIC: Kisselbach.
Kinloch Castle on the Isle of Rum is for sale for £1. PIC: Kisselbach.

NatureScot, owners of a large part of the Isle of Rum and this property, have put Kinloch Castle on the market for £1. A Scottish castle for £1! But its not really a castle, and the true cost of this place is something around £13-20m when you consider the work that needs done to resurrect the castle, which is considered by some to be a prime example of the excesses of landlordism in Scotland.

Built for Lancashire textile tycoon George Bullough, who inherited the wealth of his island-owning father aged 21, Kinloch Castle was honey to a high-society crowd enthralled by a weekend of hunting, horses and socialising in new fashionable Scotland.

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While it is Grade A listed, with credit given for its ornate interior, it has been suggested that Kinloch has little great architectural value and speaks more of place in time.

A community-based bid to take over the building and open a bed and breakfast, bar and bistro, failed given the huge amount of money required to revive it.

NatureScot has demanded the new owner will conserve and preserve the castle. Kinloch may have served served its original owner fabulously well but today’s aspirations for a fairer, greener society must at some point counterbalance the need to preserve in aspic one man’s island playground,

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