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Next year will see the 80th anniversary of the killing of one of Nazi Germany’s most feared top figures, and it may comes as a surprise to many Lochaber Times readers to learn that his assassins had trained at Arisaig House.
The famous building, which played such a vital role during the Second World War as a top secret training base, has now gone on the market with a guide price of £2.25million and is being sold by Savills.
In recent times it has been used as an upmarket hotel and provider of self-catering accommodation.
Arisaig House dates from 1864 when it was built as a shooting lodge, but had to be substantially rebuilt after a major blaze in the 1930s.
The property was taken over early in the war by the British Army as headquarters for the training of Special Operations Executive (SOE) agents for missions in Nazi-occupied Europe.
Evidence of the house’s wartime activities can still be found on a fireplace, pockmarked with bullet holes from target practice.
As well as the main house, the next successful buyer will also find themselves the owner of five additional detached properties used variously as owner’s accommodation, holiday lets and for staff.
The house sits in 18 acres of gardens and grounds and comes complete with its own all-weather tennis court and private jetty.
With the main house boasting four reception rooms, 14 bedroom suites, additional bedrooms and domestic quarters, together with courtyard outbuildings with clock tower and laundry, Arisaig House is expected to attract interest from potential buyers from around the world.
Cameron Ewer of selling agents Savills has called Arisaig House ‘one of the most significant and handsome Highland country houses to come onto the market in recent years’.
The Czech soldiers involved in the attack on Reinhard Heydrich, a high-ranking German SS and police official, and a main architect of the Holocaust, in the May of 1942 – Jozef Gabcik and Jan Kubis – were among thousands of commandos and Special Operations Executive (SOE) agents who trained in Lochaber during the war.
The remote area was chosen as the ideal training ground, not least because of its remoteness and relatively small population, and also because it was easily sealed off from prying eyes.
SOE established its first training base at Inverailort Castle and later transferred its operations to Arisaig House, while Inverailort became a Commando training school. A number of other well known Lochaber properties were commandeered for use by the military, including Achnacarry Castle.
Arisaig House became the staff HQ for SOE in the Moidart/South Morar areas as well as an SOE Special Training School, specialising in Commando skills and providing the final stage of training for agents destined to serve behind enemy lines in occupied Europe.
At the time of his death, Heydrich was an SS Obergruppenfuehrer and the acting Reichsprotektor of Bohemia and Moravia. He was fatally wounded in the Prague attack by the two British trained Czech paratroopers as he was heading to Berlin for a meeting with Hitler.
Arisaig House which has gone on sale with a guide price of £2.25M. Photograph: Savills. NO F15 Arisaig House
Reinhard Heydrich, centre, pictured with the head of the SS, Heinrich Himmler, left. Photograph: Shutterstock.
NO F15 Heydrich.
s 01687 450730 and Sarah Winnington-Ingram