Peace, grandeur and productive lifestyles are all to be had north of the border, with Ardhuncart Estate showcasing the very best of Scotland. Penny Churchill takes a look.
Robert McCulloch of Strutt & Parker has seen a surge in interest from English buyers for Scottish property. The reasons, he says, are threefold; the first of which is no different to the general desire to move to the countryside since the Covid pandemic hit, with buyers from congested parts of the UK seeking more space in a picturesque and sparsely populated landscape.
The other factors he mentioned are a little different. The second reason, says Robert, is a greater awareness of the threat posed by climate change, which has boosted demand for environmental investment opportunities. And thirdly, there’s the question of potential Scottish independence; Robert notes a more relaxed attitude among purchasers of large landed estates in Scotland now that Britain has left the EU.
Against that backdrop, Strutt & Parker are offering the tranquil, 903-acre, Ardhuncart residential, farming and sporting estate in the Don valley, seven miles from the village of Alford and 31 miles from Aberdeen airport, for sale in nine lots on behalf of the estate’s trustees.
Interest has been keen, and bids are welcomed for the whole or part, with prices ranging from ‘offers over £50,000’ for a redundant range of farm buildings with development potential, to ‘offers over £2.95 million’ for the mixed-use estate as a whole. Closing date for bids is noon on September 7.
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Ardhuncart is for sale for the first time since 1952, when Col Harold Phillips bought the estate that straddles the River Don in the foothills of the Grampians as a summer retreat for his wife, Georgina (later Lady Kennard), and their five children.
For the Phillips family, Ardhuncart was a much-loved holiday home, where they fished for salmon and sea trout, shot grouse on the Ardhuncart moor, played tennis and hosted parties at Ardhuncart Lodge, a manageable, 5,400sq ft, nine-bedroom country house built in the Arts-and-Crafts style in 1901.
Ardhuncart remained Lady Kennard’s country home until her death, aged 91, in 2011.
Alford: What you need to know
Location: Alford is a village in Aberdeenshire in the north-east of Scotland, approximately 31 miles from Aberdeenshire, where there is an international airport. Huntly is the nearest railway station (16 miles), which runs services to Inverness, Aberdeen and further.
Atmosphere: The town is the home of Aberdeen Angus Cattle and has a post office, several stores, a GP practice, primary and secondary school, bank and petrol station.
Things to do: The area is a haven for fishing, washing, climbing and whiskey drinking! The River Don offers excellent Brown Trout fishing and the River Dee is one of the top four Salmon fishing rivers. Also around the area are several golf courses, and in the winter, head to Lecht Ski Centre (30 miles) for winter sports.
Schools: Lumsden School and Towie School are both local primary options, with Alford Academy as the local secondary choice. Further private secondary options are Albyn School, Gordonstoun School and Robert Gordon’s College.
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