Country houses for sale

Fancy a property with a difference? 7,000 acres of peat bog have come up for sale in Caithness

The £7 million Glutt Estate in Caithness is seeking a new owner to take on this incredibly important stretch of northern Scotland.

Named after the Old Norse word floi meaning ‘wet or marshy land’, the Flow Country is a vast rolling expanse of peatland and wetland covering some 1,500 square miles of Caithness and Sutherland, Scotland’s most northerly counties. The largest stretch of blanket bog in Europe, the Flow Country is an area of deep peat, a type of peatland formed over thousands of years as mosses grow, die and accumulate in layers, eventually forming peat.

When peatlands are damaged or degraded due to drainage or peat extraction, stored carbon is released back into the atmosphere, thereby contributing to greenhouse-gas emissions. Peatlands such as the Flow Country act as a carbon sink, trapping carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Now, thanks to a series of dedicated peatland-restoration projects, the Flow Country has embarked on a transformative journey that will see precious peatland restored, the region’s delicate ecosystem rejuvenated and carbon loss halted, thereby mitigating the effects of climate change.

The Glutt Estate in Caithness, for sale via Savills.

As part of the UK Peatland Programme, which aims to restore two million hectares (almost five million acres) of deteriorated peatland by 2040, the Scottish government is supporting landowners’ restoration efforts with £250 million of funding via the Peatland Action Scheme. Landowners can also sign up to the Peatland Code, which allows them to create carbon units that can potentially be sold for carbon offsetting. It’s small wonder, then, that the value of Scottish land and estates endowed with substantial ‘natural capital’ assets has sky-rocketed in recent years.

Evelyn Channing of Savills in Edinburgh is overseeing the launch onto the market of one of the Flow Country’s most significant estates, the spectacular 7,324-acre Glutt estate in Caithness, which spreads across miles of unspoilt beauty and wilderness, 11 miles inland from the coast and 40 miles south-west of Thurso.

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Mrs Channing quotes a guide price of £7m for the estate, which is currently under the same family ownership, and is, to some extent, managed as part of the neighbouring 27,500-acre Dunbeath estate, now also for sale with Savills, at a guide price of £25m.

The vast majority of the land at Glutt is blanket bog, made up of nationally important carbon-rich soils, ultra-deep peat and priority peatland habitat of high, or potentially high, conservation value.

Acquired by the late Stuart Murray Threipland in 2015, the estate has been the subject of a major peatland-restoration project, split into three distinct phases and largely funded by the Peatland Action Scheme. Phase 1 of the project was completed in January 2022, Phase 2 is ongoing and Phase 3 is still to be done. For those familiar with such matters, the project aims to deliver ‘a potential cumulative claimable emissions reduction of over 189,000 tonnes of CO² over a 100-year period’.

However, as Mrs Channing points out, Glutt’s vast and distinctive landscape not only provides significant opportunities to undertake large-scale environmental projects, including peatland restoration and biodiversity enhancement, it also offers many of the attributes traditionally sought by buyers of Scottish estates — namely, privacy and seclusion, with a comfortable and manageable lodge set within magnificent scenery, and an exciting combination of walked-up grouse shooting and red-deer stalking. Furthermore, the absence of trees combined with the gently undulating terrain represent ideal conditions for the ancient art of falconry.

Simplicity is the key to life at Glutt, where the gamekeeper is the sole employee. The estate’s three dwellings are practical and well proportioned. They include the solid, four-bedroom Glutt Lodge, built of rendered and painted stone under a pitched slate roof, which sits above the banks of the Glutt Water, a tributary of the River Thurso.

The main rooms have been designed to take advantage of the open views over the mesmerising landscape. There is also the four-bedroom Keeper’s Cottage and the modest, but charming, one-bedroom Bothy, both of which are located a short distance from the lodge.

The Glutt Estate is for sale at £7m — see more details and pictures.