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Scottish Castles Hired as Hideaways for the Super Rich

Scottish Castles hired as hideaways for the super rich
Once upon a time, Scottish castles were associated with wild chieftains exacting brutal retribution on their neighbours and crofters. Then came the age of enlightenment, which saw the Scottish aristocracy trying to emulate their English neighbours and become a little more refined.
This led to a lot of new properties being built of a less defensive nature and with more emphasis on comfort and elegance. The arrival of Queen Victoria for her long period of mourning, further heightened the desirability of a Scottish home and many large ones were built during this period, incorporating new inventions like heating and electric light.

Sadly for much of the early part of the 20th century, there followed a period of decline, as the great estates struggled to maintain their noble homes and were either broken up or fell into disrepair. Fortunately by the eighties a new renaissance was emerging and this combined with greater prosperity led to a period of recovery & rebirth for a lot of these wonderful homes.

It took a while for some of the older families to raise the huge sums required to restore their crumbling homes but it was slowly achieved, often with some aid from government bodies. Newcomers with deeper pockets were able to achieve results quicker and now it is all the rage to own and restore a huge pile. Throughout the country, homes that twenty years ago you could hardly give away are now selling for millions. Add on to this the huge refurbishment cost and indeed the massive upkeep costs and you have an expensive 'second' or in many cases 'third' home!

However demand has never been higher and finding suitable properties is now extremely hard. Of course, anyone can stay in a luxury hotel, charter a huge yacht but not everyone can hire a 500 year old castle, surrounded by several thousand acres and boasting private shooting, fishing and total seclusion. Throw in a few battlements, ghosts and old family retainers and you have the makings of a movie set.

Obviously most of these homes are deserted during the winter months but come summer and private jets are plopping down in every small airport throughout the country. A few gleaming range rovers will be on hand to whisk up the guests and within an hour or two, everyone will be lying on the heather with a wee dram in one hand and a smoke salmon sandwich in the other. It's intoxicating stuff for urban types and there is no danger of some annoying Russian screaming past in his Ferrari or some helicopter buzzing overhead. Of course, guests can easily get bored, so some form of 'retail therapy' is vital and the local cashmere outlets are happy to help out. Grouse shooting and salmon fishing once the preserve of the upper classes is now being enjoyed by clientele of all stripes and in any case new owners of large piles are quick to don their tweed suits and present themselves as lairds of long standing.

This is perfectly natural and has been witnessed by the locals for centuries. What is wonderful for Scotland is the huge amounts of money poured into the local economy by these 'Chelsea' Highlanders. They head north and not only help preserve these old homes but through a multitude of suppliers, they keep a lot of shops and other companies busy, as well as employing a lot of local people to help look after the properties themselves.

Absentee landlords are often much criticised but in fact they are essential and need to be encouraged. They pump funds into rural and often poor parts of the country and take on properties that are not financially viable at all. They are of course 'living a dream' but life is all about fulfilling ones dreams and if wealthy folk from all over the world find romance and happiness in maintaining a little bit of our heritage, well then we should encourage them. It is a great era for Scotland's ancestral houses & castles and it's wonderful to see.***

by Andrew Loyd
Andrew Loyd is a director of Loyd & Townsend-Rose Ltd, who specialize in Scottish castles for hire - ideal for luxury vacations, family reunions, corporate events, or as venues for filming and sporting activities.

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