Brexiteer tycoon revealed as new buyer for historic Rum castle

A buyer has finally been found for Kinloch Castle on Rum, pictured, says current owners NatureScot. Photograph: NatureScot. NO F24 Kinloch Castle
A buyer has finally been found for Kinloch Castle on Rum, pictured, says current owners NatureScot. Photograph: NatureScot. NO F24 Kinloch Castle

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Multi-millionaire Brexiteer Jeremy Hosking was this week confirmed as the potential new owner of historic Kinloch Castle on the Isle of Rum.

The island’s owners, Nature Scot, officially revealed it is in advanced discussions with investment tycoon Mr Hosking, who has given millions to parties including the  Conservatives and the Brexit cause, for the purchase of Kinloch Castle.

The nature agency said it was seeking an ‘irrevocable pledge’ that a charitable trust would be set up by Mr Hosking, who is estimated to be worth around £375 million.

Subject to requisite approvals being obtained as part of the sale deal, the castle would be placed into this trust, the aims of which are to conserve the building and its contents and, on completion, to provide ‘managed public access’ into the future.

One of Britain’s biggest steam train collectors, Mr Hosking’s heritage rail company, Locomotive Services Ltd, ran into controversy in the spring of last year when his eight-carriage sleeper train – with him believed to be aboard – halted overnight on Glenfinnan viaduct.

The special train belonging to Jeremy Hosking pulls into Fort William station during a visit to the West Highland Line last year that proved controversial. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, The Write Image. NO F12 Hosking Special Train.jpg 01
The special train belonging to Jeremy Hosking pulls into Fort William station during a visit to the West Highland Line last year that proved controversial. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, The Write Image.
NO F12 Hosking Special Train.jpg 01

At the time, Locomotive Services Ltd described the five-day trip as a route learning and driver refresher exercise.

Mr Hosking, who was part of the four-man consortium that bought Crystal Palace FC out of administration in 2015, is also believed to be the new owner another of the western Highlands’ most iconic properties – Arisaig House.

The famous mansion and grounds went on the market last year with the sellers seeking offers of more than £2.25m.

Politicians have welcomed the news that a buyer appears to have finally been found for the Victorian property on Rum.

Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch MSP Kate Forbes commented: ‘Kinloch Castle is an exceptional building so I am pleased a new owner has eventually been found, who will hopefully invest significantly and engage with the community to ensure the Isle of Rum has a thriving future.’

Local MSP Kate Forbes. NO-F-42-KATE-FORBES-SERIOUS-01.jpg
MSP Kate Forbes.
NO-F-42-KATE-FORBES-SERIOUS-01.jpg

Lochaber entrepreneur and new Highland councillor Angus MacDonald, who last year put together a rescue proposal for the castle to the Scottish Government, also welcomed this week’s news.

Lib Dem councillor Angus MacDonald is one of four councillors representing Fort William and Ardnamurchan ward on Highland Council. NO-F17-Angus-MacDonald
Lib Dem councillor Angus MacDonald is one of four councillors representing Fort William and Ardnamurchan ward on Highland Council.
NO-F17-Angus-MacDonald

‘This sale will secure the renovation of an important Category-A building. This is great news for the island, its shop, café and other businesses.

‘It brings job opportunities for willing islanders and a boost to the population of the island.’

Robbie Kernahan, NatureScot’s Director of Green Economy, admitted Kinloch Castle is a fantastic asset, but that it was ‘not a good fit’ for the agency with its strong focus on protecting and restoring Scotland’s nature.

‘So we’re delighted a new sustainable future for Kinloch Castle has been found and that the castle will continue to play an integral role for the community on Rum,’ he added.

A delighted Professor Ewan MacDonald, of the Kinloch Castle Friends Association (KCFA), said: ‘The whole team at KCFA is delighted to welcome the forthcoming sale of Kinloch Castle to a trust set up for the purpose.

‘For us this marks the culmination of 26 years of hard work fighting for the restoration of this special building.

‘We thank the good offices of Kate Forbes MSP who has provided timely support, Councillor Angus Macdonald who has been tireless in his seeking for a strong future for the castle and Hugh Garratt, heritage surveyor, who has given not just his advice, expertise and support but also imbued our team with the confidence that the castle is worthy of saving and still sturdy enough to be saved.

‘This will benefit the island, its community and the Small Isles.’

NatureScot acquired Kinloch Castle in 1957 when the Nature Conservancy Council purchased the Island of Rum as a National Nature Reserve from its original owners – the Bullough family.

Previously, the castle was used as a hotel, bar/bistro and hostel and continues to be a visitor attraction. The hostel closed in 2015 and since then NatureScot has had no operational need for the building.

It is of national significance as a unique example of a 19th century shooting lodge with its ostentatious exterior matched only by its remarkable interior; it retains all its lavish Edwardian fittings and contents.

CAPTION:

A buyer has finally been found for Kinloch Castle on Rum, says current owners NatureScot. Photograph: NatureScot. NO F24 Kinloch Castle

 

Extra pic:

Lib Dem councillor Angus MacDonald is one of four councillors representing Fort William and Ardnamurchan ward on Highland Council. NO-F17-Angus-MacDonald

The special train belonging to Jeremy Hosking pulls into Fort William station during a visit to the West Highland Line last year that proved controversial. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, The Write Image. NO F12 Hosking Special Train.jpg 01