Highland Outdoor Centre for sale – and a whale boat

A Highland outdoor centre has been made available for sale – as well as a whale-shaped boat!

Bidwells present for sale the property at Ardintigh Bay, a Highland outdoor adventure centre, which is currently owned by Tom McClean (78) – the adventuring legend and SAS veteran who is a world record holder and all-round action man.

He and his wife Jill have led a fascinating life on the stunning north-western edge of Scotland for the last 50 years and are now ready to start a new chapter in their lives.

The time has come to hang up their waders and ‘retire’ from their but Tom hasn’t quite given up on his thrill-seeking!

As well as selling the beautiful Ardintigh Bay, Tom is selling Moby – a 65ft long boat in the shape of a whale which he built and completed a circumnavigation of Britain in 1997.

And he’s open to offers to launch the marine mammal once more for another adventure on the high seas.

A survival expert and father of two, Tom has achieved five single-handed crossings of the Atlantic – rowing it twice, sailing it in the world’s smallest yacht (twice) and finally crossing it again in his unique 37-ft bottle-shaped boat from New York to Falmouth.

Having not quite sated his taste for adventure on the high seas, in 1985 Tom resided on the stormy crag of Rockall, 220 miles west of the Outer Hebrides for 40 days to reaffirm Britain’s rights over the land, its mineral and oil rights.

Speaking to Scottish Field, Tom said: ‘Life moves on – I’m nearly 80 and I’d like to see somebody take it further forward and grow the place I started 52 years ago with the army groups. It’s been a great adventure.

‘All my adventures were based from there, the rowing, sailing and the bottle boat.

‘I’ve been here for 40 years and looking for someone to buy the centre, and I’d be happy to be part of it. I like to be close to it, it’s in my blood.

‘I like to be active, but when you’re 80, you can’t run the way you used to, although I was on the hills yesterday! Let’s see who would like to be part of it.’

Tom and Moby

Tom also hopes that someone will buy Moby seperately, and he would love to remain involved with its future adventures too.

He added: ‘The idea for it was originally a marketing ploy to do with saving the planet and cleaning up to oceans, and I thought, “Let’s built a whale boat.”

‘It was built in Forres, with one engineers, two welders and myself – it’s got big heavy marine engines there, it’s 65 feet long and weighs 62 tonnes, and made of steel, so it’s a tough old boat. I’ve down about 2000 miles and 50 harbours. If somebody wants to come in and buy it and do it with me.’

You can read more about Tom’s exploits HERE.

Lying to the east of Mallaig, Loch Nevis is a sea loch which extends westwards from Camusrory and opens out into the Sound of Sleat, opposite the Isle of Skye. Accessible only by boat or on foot, a passenger ferry runs from Mallaig, calling at the hamlets of Inverie and nearby Tarbet.

There are seven buildings at Ardintigh Bay which include Ardintigh cottage, Jock’s Lodge and five additional Lodges along with three outbuildings and a stone ruin with development potential, subject to securing the requisite planning permissions thereon. The property extends to 8 acres including grazings, amenity woodland, jetty and has sea loch frontage to approximately 500 metres of coastline (to Mean High Water Springs). The mooring and mini scallop ranch are available by separate negotiation.

Ardintigh Cottage is a quaint and cosy one and a half storey traditional stone and lime cottage with a pitched timber framed slate covered roof. On the ground floor the main entrance leads into the hall with access straight ahead to the family bathroom with the living room on the right and kitchen/dining room to the left.

Tom McClean’s Highland Adventure Centre at Ardintigh is for sale

The living room has large dual aspect windows taking in the magnificent panorama of Knoydart and Loch Nevis to the north while providing a continually evolving picture frame within which to enjoy some of the abundant wildlife passing by to the south. There is an open fireplace with built in back boiler which provides the hot water and central heating.

The kitchen and dining room occupy the opposite end of the cottage and are equipped with free-standing wood burning stove with built in back boiler which provides hot water, gas cooker and ample storage and worktop space. Replicating the living room, the kitchen’s dual aspect windows make the most of the magnificent views. Stairs lead to the first-floor landing with direct access to two double bedrooms with built-in wardrobes and a single bedroom snug. The double bedrooms have similarly spectacular views out across the bay.

Jock’s Lodge is stone and timber built over two levels, with wrap-around balcony on the first floor, and this unusual building sits just above the high-water mark and is the main building/accommodation block for the bunkhouses.

On the first floor there is a substantial dining/recreation room providing yet more fine views out across the bay. This room can accommodate the full 24 guest compliment that can utilise the centre. The galley kitchen leads off the dining room with two freestanding gas cookers and an abundance of preparation and storage space. The wrap-around balcony allows guests to unwind and enjoy uninterrupted sunsets over the Cuillin mountains on the Isle of Skye.

Tom and Jill at the lodge

The ground floor is accessed separately from ground level and houses the centre’s toilet and shower facilities. There is also a large drying room essential for providing sufficient hanging space and shelving to store the centres wet gear.

There are five bunkhouses sleeping between two and six people, each containing bunk beds with lighting and electrical plug points. Timber-framed; with single pane windows, these basic bunkhouses are situated around the property.

There are three outbuildings that serve as the centre’s store, workshop, paint store and woodshed. All buildings are wind and watertight, either timber-built under a felt roof or stone built under a corrugated tin roof.

Ardintigh is powered by its own hydroelectric power supply providing a low carbon footprint. Housed in a stone-built shed under a slate roof, the generator was installed by Tom, who has maintained and repaired the scheme throughout its lifetime. Further details about the scheme can be made available on request, following a viewing and receipt of a formal note of interest.

There is an existing ruin that may have development potential, subject to securing the requisite planning permissions thereon. Sitting on the north western boundary close to the banks of the Loch Nevis, this could provide an additional idyllic site for further accommodation.

For further details, visit HERE.

The agents will consider offers over £700,000.