Our property of the week is a £3million sporting estate

An exceptional established Scottish sporting estate with consented forestry planting land and leisure development potential is now for sale.

The Inverchaolain Estate, in the Cowal Peninsula, Argyll, is presented for sale by Edwin Thompson.

The estate is beautifully situated in a remote unspoilt area of high amenity characterised by beautiful coastlines and sea lochs, frequently wooded hills and glens, dramatic scenery, abundant and varied wildlife and numerous heritage sites.

Inverchaolain is a lovely, private west coast Highland estate with a spectacular, well established top quality shoot, 861 acres gross of recently consented forestry planting ground and the potential to develop leisure based activities (perhaps including lodge accommodation) if required.

The estate includes 2850 metres of shoreline frontage to Loch Striven and runs from sea level to 611m OD at the summit of Cruach nan Capull to the north. The Glen is an attractive, deep north – south running valley which supports a mixture of bracken banks, unimproved moorland grasses and heather. There are a number of estate roads and tracks, one of which provides good access to the head of the Glen.

Inside one of the properties which are part of the Inverchaolain Estate

There are approximately 125 acres of better quality inbye permanent grass and rough grazing at the foot of the Glen, some of which can be mown.

In 2017 Forestry Commission consent was obtained to plant the lower slopes of the Glen. The total grant aided area is 783 acres of which 441 acres are designated for commercial conifers. Despite the potentially competing interests of shooting and afforestation, it is considered that the scheme could, perhaps with some amendments, be made to further enhance the shoot whilst, at the same time, creating additional net worth for the estate.

Inverchaolain House was extensively refurbished and extended in 2015 with a view to holiday letting and provides tasteful, well appointed modern accommodation. Situated approximately 400 metres from the minor public road which runs through the foot of the Estate, it occupies an elevated position and commands magnificent views, particularly to the west over Loch Striven and to the heather clad Sron Dearg to the north.

The barn attached to the rear provides scope for further extending the living accommodation if needed.

Stronyaraig House is also located close to the foot of the Glen and is currently occupied by the head keeper, Jack Smith. The house was modernised approximately 10 years ago and benefits from wonderful southerly views over Loch Striven towards the Isle of Bute.

The Inverchaolain Estate offers potential for development

The Cowal is steeped in history and home to numerous interesting castles and heritage sites.

The name Inverchaolain is derived from the Gaelic word meaning ‘the mouth of the narrow stream’ and pronounced ‘Inverhoolin’.

The Lamont family are thought to have ruled Cowal in the Norse period (800 – 1150 AD). At Ardyne just to the west of Toward and a few miles south of Inverchaolain, there is an artificial hill where the Lamonts held their court and administered justice.

Along the coast at Achavuillin there are numerous graves which, legend has it, are those of Norse sailors drowned during King Olaf of Norway’s invasion of Bute in 1226. In 1646 the Campbells captured and destroyed the Lamont stronghold at Toward Castle when the massacre of the Lamonts took place.

In 1755 the population of the parish of Inverchaolain was 944, but by 1791 this had reduced to 504 following the Clearances. Now virtually none remain.

More recently, during WWII, Loch Striven was used as secret test centre for the bouncing bomb of Dambuster fame.
Until 1 February, 2018 the shooting rights were let to and exercised by the owner of the adjoining Glenstriven Estate.
Over the years an exceptional driven partridge and pheasant shoot has been developed and this provides approximately 30 days shooting each season on Inverchaolain itself.

The bracken banks provide excellent cover and enable partridge shooting right up to the Head of the Glen, whilst the mixed hardwood scrub, mainly birch, which populates parts of the Lower Glen and the west facing slopes above Finnart Point, also provides first class game habitat.

The Glen is served by a network of hard tracks and informal quad bike routes which allow good access. The terrain, which centres on the Inverchaolain Burn, is ideal for the presentation of top quality birds, some of which are stratospheric.

Mallard, teal and widgeon frequent the three separate flight ponds and there are useful falls of woodcock with, on the higher ground, a handful of grouse.

The Cowal generally has a good stock of red deer. Approximately five stags and 15 hinds are shot annually on the estate. There is also a healthy resident population of roe.

Interested parties might like to know that the Glenstriven Estate directly to the north is also available to purchase through John Clegg & Co and Strutt and Parker as joint agents.  The shooting on the two estates has been run as one until 1 February this year.

There is plenty of sporting potential in the Inverchaolain Estate

Herling run the lower reaches of the Inverchaolain Burn until it becomes impassable and can be caught both in the burn and in Loch Striven off the shore. There are excellent sea fishing opportunities in Loch Striven, particularly in the summer months when the mackerel shoals arrive.

Much of the Cowal Peninsula has been previously planted and is generally regarded as an excellent area for growing timber. For many years the Glen has been considered as potentially suitable either for timber producing conifers or a native broadleaved scheme – subject to the necessary consents which have now been obtained.

Inverchaolain received formal EIA consent from Forestry Commission Scotland in April 2016 which approved the establishment of a modern mixed commercial plantation and native woodland totalling 861.12 acres (gross area) of woodland creation of which 783.23 acres are grant aided.

Subject to obtaining all the requisite consents, Inverchaolain would be an ideal site for some form of leisure development – possibly low density, high quality lodges – given the wonderful scenery and the frontage to Loch Striven itself coupled with the ease of access to Glasgow and the central belt. The current owners have chosen not to pursue this option and there have been no discussions with the local planning authority.

The Estate contains a wide range of valued habitats which include heather moorland, native woodland, acid and neutral grasslands and watercourses together with associated flora and fauna plus the in-bye grassland and the Loch Striven foreshore. All of this provides the Estate with considerable potential for an agrienvironmental programme.

Grant assistance is currently available through SGRPID’s Agri-Environment and Climate Scheme (AECS), although this particular scheme is currently scheduled to close shortly. Alternatively, it could be extended through the transition period and it is anticipated that, in due course, it will be replaced post Brexit.

The agents will consider offers over £3million.

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