Benevolent buyer still wanted for Rum’s Kinloch Castle, but not on the open market

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NatureScot is still seeking a ‘beneficial owner’ for Rum’s Kinloch Castle, but has denied that the property is on the open market for £1, contrary to recent media reports.

‘We have nothing new to update,’ said a spokesperson for the castle’s current owners NatureScot, Scotland’s nature agency formerly called Scottish Natural Heritage.

Its predecessor, the Nature Conservancy Council, bought the late Victorian pleasure palace in 1957 from Lady Monica Bullough, wife of the mill magnate Sir George Bullough who built it in 1897-1900.

Over time Kinloch Castle, described by the poet Sir John Betjemen as ‘an undisturbed example of pre-1914 opulence’, has been ravaged by leaks, damp, woodworm, and dry rot, despite huge sums spent on it to keep it wind and watertight.

In 2016 Scottish Natural Heritage had warned that the Grade A listed building faced demolition unless it could find £20 million for restoration. An asset transfer bid by the Kinloch Castle Friends Association to buy the crumbling pile for £1 failed in 2019.

‘Kinloch Castle is not for sale on the open market,’ NatureScot told The Lochaber Times. ‘We continue to work to identify a beneficial owner for the castle and grounds.

‘Any future owner will need to contribute towards three key objectives: securing the conservation and preservation of the castle, contributing to the sustainability of the Rum community; and enhancing nature on Rum, including – promoting its enjoyment, and minimising the castle’s impact on the natural environment.’