Property series. Jonnie Irwin helps a couple leave one of Europe's largest housing estates behind and start afresh in Perthshire, but they have a lengthy wish list.
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Once thought of as the tree of eternity, yews are steeped in myth and legend.
This one behind me is no exception.
It's the most ancient tree in the UK, that some claim to be the oldest living thing in Europe.
Find out where I am in just a moment when we Escape To The Country.
On today's show, we're helping one young family
ditch the biggest housing estate in Britain for a period country pile.
Wow. This is my kitchen.
-Our properties have quite an effect.
-This is nice, isn't it?
-Oh, wow, wow, wow.
-It's a double wow, wow.
And I have a proposal for today's mystery house that will be hard to turn down.
-Shall we walk down the aisle?
-Do you mind?
-You can follow.
This is the Fortingall Yew which has been standing here in Perthshire,
the geographical heart of Scotland, for around 5,000 years.
Legend has it that Pontius Pilate was born here in Fortingall
and so, as a child,
may well have played under the branches of this tree.
Whether that's true or not, one thing is for certain,
that over the centuries, kings, queens, poets and artists
have all travelled through Perthshire,
leaving behind them a rich legacy of castles, churches,
battlefields and historic sites.
Situated in the very centre of Scotland, Perthshire is known as the big county,
not only for its sheer geographical size, 2,000 square miles in all,
but also for the diversity of its breathtaking landscape.
From the Highlands in the north and west,
a land of tall mountains and deep lochs,
to the fertile valleys of the east and south.
It's long been established as the stomping ground of Scotland's well-to-do country set.
So, if you expect to get more bricks and mortar for your money in Perthshire, think again.
It's one of Scotland's more expensive counties
and the average house price here
is nearly £24,000 above that of England and Wales.
However, the good news is there's plenty of period housing stock to choose from,
particularly if you're partial to Victorian architecture,
and the market has remained more buoyant than many parts of the UK.
Now, the rules of buying property here in Scotland
differ from those of the rest of the UK.
You can only put an offer on a property through a Scottish solicitor,
once you have a mortgage in place or cash in the bank.
Then, if you're lucky enough to have your offer accepted,
there's an unwritten rule
that neither the buyer nor the vendor pulls out of the deal,
which means those two dreaded house buying words of "chain" and "gazump"
are virtually unheard of here in Scotland.
With that in mind, let's take a look at what's on the market at the moment here in Perthshire.
Overlooking Loch Tay,
this five-bedroom hunting lodge style house is not to be missed.
There's plenty of space for your shooting party,
with four reception rooms.
With a 1.7 acre garden, plus 500 square metres of prime lochside land, complete with fishing rights,
you'll be angling for the title Laird of the Manor.
It will set you back £1.1 million.
If you want a big house without the huge price tag,
check out this stunning modern family home on the outskirts of Kinross.
You'll get six bedrooms and four reception rooms,
but for offers over £760,000,
you shouldn't need a lucky break to buy it.
For something more traditional, how about this original gate lodge in Auchterarder?
Dating from the 1800s, it delivers cosy living accommodation with three bedrooms.
To be king of this little castle will cost you £275,000.
So a great selection there of some Perthshire properties,
which makes it time now to give a big Highland fling to today's border-hopping buyers.
Born and bred Scotsman Ian, his wife, Lisa,
and their four-year-old, Cameron,
currently live in a four-bedroom detached property
on one of Europe's largest housing estates in north-east England.
But the call of the rural wilds has been beckoning for quite some time.
We want to move to the country,
because we both dreamt as children to live in the countryside.
I want Cameron, also, to have a nice upbringing in the countryside,
where it is safe.
They've set their sights on Perthshire,
but although this will be a return to Scotland for Ian,
he's not actually going back to his roots, as he comes from just outside Glasgow.
So do they have a location in mind?
We're looking for a view more than anything.
I think because we've been living in an environment
where we're really local to shopping centres,
I don't want to be too far away from that.
I think it might be a bit of a culture shock to go too rural.
Giving up on amenities is tough with a four-year-old.
But one thing they won't be sad to say goodbye to is the house itself.
It's not home, it's a house. It just doesn't have the feel.
We're quite emotional people, we're quite sentimental people
and we believe firmly, if it doesn't feel like the home, then it's not the home.
And to us, this just isn't the place for us.
So what will have the right feel?
The cherry on the cake would be, for me, character building,
open fire, view...
-Have we said that already?
That would be the icing on the cake,
would be this homely, farmhousey feel, maybe,
with the view and the land.
-And the open fire for me.
OK. I think I've got the picture - views are a must-have,
but what else will make the perfect home?
I dream of the country kitchen,
the big island in the middle of the kitchen,
a big range cooker and the views out of your kitchen window.
But it's not just the dream kitchen that we've got to find,
Cameron needs his own space too.
He needs a den for him and his mates to play,
that we can leave at the end of the night, when he's in bed, I don't have to tidy it up.
While Ian works away from home a lot as an ultrasonic technician,
ex-fitness instructor Lisa has business plans for the new house.
If we do have outhouses, hopefully I could convert those into a studio and set up my own business,
either personal training, but also teaching classes as well.
And what do they want to do in their spare time?
Our lifestyle in the country has to be relaxed.
Also, just to have that Sunday feel, but every day.
Ian and Lisa already have a buyer for their house
and the sale is going through.
So what kind of figure do they have for the big move?
We're looking to spend between £350,000 and £375,000
for our next property.
A move to the country has always been a childhood dream for Ian and Lisa.
With the sale of their house about to go through,
it looks like they could be a step closer to fulfilling it.
So let's just hope their budget of £375,000
is enough to secure them a piece of Highland heaven
here in Perthshire.
To find the best properties on the market,
we've cast the search net right across the county.
As they don't want to be too remote,
we're staying within striking distance of the larger villages and towns.
We've lined up some choice period homes to view,
but I won't be revealing the price tags until the end of the tours.
And finally, there's a mystery house,
which is nothing short of divine inspiration.
Morning guys. Welcome to Scotland - welcome to Perthshire.
-It's a bit like coming home, Ian?
-Feeling the cold, yes, definitely coming home!
You've given me a good budget of £375,000.
I know you live in a substantial house as it is.
Are you hoping to find a palace up here in Perthshire?
Looking at our criteria, I think we were!
Well, there's sometimes compromises that need to be made.
Let's face it, look around, there's no big housing estates here.
There's a lack of supply,
which meant demand has stayed pretty strong for this part of the world.
Prices haven't tumbled like in the rest of the UK.
Are you prepared to make compromises?
It pains me to say it, but yes.
What would be the must-haves?
-Mine is definitely the view.
I initially would love a great amount of land,
-but maybe a bit smaller land, but land is a must for me.
Well, the perfect property hopefully is out there.
Sometimes you need to do a bit of work to make it perfect,
certainly to make a house a home.
Are you prepared to do any work to this?
Work could be an option. I don't see it being a problem.
We're very open in what we're actually after.
Let's see what we can find.
Let's go to the first property
and we'll have a learning curve, won't we?
-Shall we go and find your Scottish dream?
For £375,000, Ian and Lisa's wish list is a sizeable one.
They want a detached character home with a good plot of land
within striking distance of a big village or town.
Must haves include stunning views, a big kitchen/diner
and four bedrooms.
However, there are plenty of would-likes too,
including two reception rooms, so Cameron can have a playroom,
open fires and a building for Lisa's fitness studio wouldn't go amiss.
Thankfully, they're open to both doing some work
and more importantly, to compromise,
because all of that on their budget is a fairly big ask.
-So, Lisa, where's Cameron today?
-He's with his gran.
I should say Nana Kathleen.
Cameron absolutely dotes on her.
So she's going to miss Cameron when you move away, is she?
Yes, this is a bit of a sticky point. But it's only a few hours.
So... And we are hoping that one of the houses that you've found for us
does have a bit of room for a Nana.
-We're looking for a Nana room.
-A Nana room.
-OK, that's good to know.
-Not in the outbuildings!
Let's hurry up before the wish list gets even longer!
Our first offering is in the north of the county in the Victorian town of Pitlochry.
Known as the gateway to the Perthshire Highlands,
it was put on the map as a tourist hot spot by Queen Victoria in 1842
and it's just as popular today.
For the people who live here, that has its pros and cons.
On the negative side, it gets incredibly busy in the summer months.
But the tourist pound is a major boost to the local economy,
helping to maintain a well-off and thriving community all year round.
Our first property is on the outskirts of town
and it occupies an elevated position,
which means it's not lacking in one vital criterion.
You asked for views, are they views?
-Yeah. It's just like a postcard.
Views. Location. House.
-What do we think of the house?
-It's nice, it's lovely.
-It's got lots of character by the looks of it.
-Bit haunty for me.
-Well, hopefully that will change inside.
It's quite a dominating house. It's Victorian, built around 1890.
-Shall we see what you think inside?
-It won't be a ghost tour, I promise you!
Well, fingers crossed I don't scare them off with this one.
As well as Lisa's must-have views, it has plenty of space
and there's lots of scope for them to put their own stamp on the place
and really create their dream home.
In you come. Now, entrance hall.
What does it make you feel?
-It's nice and spacious.
-It is. I think you're going to be impressed by the size of all of the rooms.
A bit of geography - downstairs loo there,
but let's go to the sitting room, where you might spend more time.
For me, the main feature of this sitting room...
is the view.
I think that's what you get with being high up,
thankfully, you get that wonderful view.
This whole house really needs a little bit of TLC,
maybe, to update it.
It seems a dark room. Maybe that is through the colouring. I don't know.
I like the style. I like the shape of the room, it's really nice.
I was hoping maybe an open fire, which would be the feature that I would look for in a front room.
That fire is a gas fire. We've got mains gas to this property,
which I think is a real bonus.
But if you want an open fire,
let's see if we can find one somewhere else in the house.
So try and see past the red. There's the fireplace we were talking about.
Behind that, we're told, there could be a working fire,
but you'd need to take that boarding off to see what state it's in.
-It is. Definitely.
It would be a feature that I would like in a dining room.
-A lovely fire, yeah.
I like the style. The bay window is beautiful.
I think Lisa could be warming up to this place.
I just hope the kitchen won't be a deal-breaker.
I know she's hankering after a huge kitchen diner, but this one isn't.
'But there are options if they're willing to put a bit of work in.'
-What do you think?
-First coming in - small. It's a bit compact.
That was my first impression as well, a bit small.
Let's have a look at that hatch. OK.
What do you think about putting in an RSJ across most of that wall,
and pushing a hole through
and thereby having open-plan kitchen and diner.
The wheels are going round here. I'm seeing it all just now.
Whilst the wheels are spinning, throw this into the equation.
Behind us we've got a larder, or a pantry,
behind that, we've got a utility room.
You're not losing too much cupboard space. A load of storage behind.
Get all the white goods out of here. You don't look fazed by this?
No, not at all. I'm versed in to swinging a sledgehammer round, so this could be good fun.
-Be nice to have a go at a wall with a sledgehammer.
-I'd take the units down first, I think.
Ian can see the possibilities down here
and there's even a play room for Cameron next to the utility room.
But that's it for downstairs.
'Time to check out the sleeping arrangements, starting with the master bedroom.'
We've still got views, haven't we?
Now, you can wake up every morning to that view,
but would you want to make any changes here, he asks knowingly?
Yes, I can see one definite change
and it's in the corner, the shower cubicle.
I've never seen that before in a bedroom.
These old houses, they rented rooms out.
You've got a vanity unit there as well.
If you ignore all that furniture there
and you've got your head of the bed there,
what's the first thing you see when you wake up?
Yeah, a nice view. Yeah, a very nice view.
But you've got options here. We have four good-sized bedrooms.
Off the landing are two singles, a family bathroom
and there's another big double.
-This is quirky.
-Yeah, it's... Do you like it?
-This is quirky.
-Oh, right! You've got a fireplace.
I like that. Yep, saw that straight away.
So, let's look at the house, let's reflect as a whole.
What are you thinking now you've had a good look around,
bearing in mind your first thoughts outside were of a haunted nature.
-Yeah, I can't get that out of my head either.
Because of the style of the house and the way it's decorated,
it has that feel to it as well.
I'm still finding it hard to see me in here, or to see us in here - at the moment.
I need to maybe expand a little bit more.
Let's have a quick chat outside, shall we?
'Well, these two are obviously very instinctive house buyers.
'I thought the view would have Lisa sold, but it's clearly not the most important factor after all.
'If the house isn't giving them the right vibes though, maybe the garden will.'
So now we're outside, let me explain what we have here.
Over there, amazingly, you've got another piece of land.
Another garden, you can maybe even grow some veggies, have a veggie patch.
If you look down,
your boundary is right down there at that hedge.
I know it's terraced, the whole plot is around a quarter of an acre.
So you do have a bit of space here.
How much do you think this is on the market for? Ladies first.
I think £320,000.
I think because of location,
there's work needing done on it, I'm going to go a bit higher at 340.
Right, well, this may be a bit of a learning curve for you today then,
because it's on the market
for offers over £345,000.
The price reflects what's here.
A big, imposing, family home in good condition,
that needs, well, cosmetics done to it, really.
Why don't you use this time now to have another good look around it?
-Have a tour yourselves. I'll see you in a bit.
Well, I think if nothing else, the price has spooked Lisa.
With offers over £345,000,
this Victorian house is well within their budget,
leaving £30,000 for alterations.
It's a substantial property with two reception rooms,
a playroom and four bedrooms.
There's potential to extend the kitchen,
and the garden comes in at around a quarter of an acre.
The USP here, though, is the outlook, which I thought would make this house a strong contender,
but I get the impression that views aren't everything after all.
First impressions of the house was wow, very periodic, which we like.
The view is spectacular.
It's absolutely beautiful.
You wouldn't even have to put the telly on. You could just sit and look out the window.
I think this property, we couldn't see ourselves in it right now.
The main let down for us being the garden.
The house is beautiful... I don't have that feel.
I don't come in the door and think,
"Yes, this is the home I want to live in."
OK then, do you think we've seen enough?
-I think so.
-Good, let's go.
As Perthshire is relatively unknown territory for Ian and Lisa,
before taking the big step to relocate here, they're keen to explore.
Earlier in the week, they headed to Blairgowrie in Rattray,
the county's second largest town.
Local historian Laurence Blair Oliphant was on hand to show them around.
-Hello, Lisa, hello Ian.
-How are you doing?
Welcome to a rather dreich day in Blairgowrie.
This town of two halves straddles the River Ericht -
Blairgowrie on the west bank and Rattray on the east.
Up until the 1700s it was little more than a farming community,
with around 400 people.
However, 200 years later the population had exploded to 4,000,
thanks to the advent of the textile industry,
with mills being built along the banks of the river to harness the water and power the looms.
Well, you get a good view of the Keathbank Mill from here.
Now, Keathbank Mill was the last of the jute mills
to be built here in Blairgowrie.
That was in 1870.
Well, now, jute is the raw product, imported from Pakistan in those days,
which was used to make products like hessian, sailcloth,
At one time there were 12 working jute mills.
As I say, Keathbank was the last of them,
but now it's been converted into blocks of flats.
The converted mill isn't the only interesting home in town.
Sitting on top of a cliff 214-feet above the River Ericht,
Craighall Castle has been home to the Clan Rattray since 1533.
But if you're thinking the architecture doesn't look particularly 16th century,
you'd be right.
During the Civil War, Parliamentarian forces
destroyed the castle and it was rebuilt, remodelled,
and extended during the 19th century to what stands here today.
Well, now, how about this for a view?
-Oh, gosh. My goodness.
-We'll take it.
The original building here was like a defensive place
and you can quite see why -
it commanded a view of the area from up here.
I've never seen anything like this, never.
Let's see if we can find them an equally appealing vista of their own.
We're heading south-west to Perthshire's third largest town, Crieff.
Lying on the southern edge of the Scottish Highlands,
it's been a busy commercial centre since the 13th century,
when it was first awarded its market charter.
From the 1600s to the 1700s, it was a renowned frontier town,
as famed for its cattle market
as for its public hangings of lawless Highlanders.
Lisa and Ian need not fear, though, the gallows are long gone.
But Crieff is home to all the amenities they're used to
south of the border, yet within a matter of minutes
they could be exploring the best of Perthshire's countryside.
So, right on the edge of town,
we find a rather splendid Georgian house.
-Gosh, it's big.
-I didn't expect that.
-You like it?
-I like it.
-This is what I pictured.
-Yeah, it's lovely.
-This is around 200 years old.
-And the double chimney, lovely.
Double chimneys suggest what?
-More than one fire.
-He's good, isn't he? He's very good!
-So this is a good start.
Let's take a peek inside shall we?
Squeeze through the half door. It does open double.
-Ian, squeeze through.
-Can you get in?
-There we go.
Oh, isn't this nice?
It's lovely and cosy. Gosh.
It's like a grand staircase but in a nice country home.
The owners of this house are two elderly ladies,
so you can see lots of their knick-knacks everywhere.
We have reception rooms galore in this house.
Let's start in this main room here.
-Oh, this is nice, isn't it?
-Oh, wow, wow.
-Double wow, wow. Look at the fireplace.
-That's solid fuel as well.
-It's so snug.
Notice these, look.
Every room, bar one, in the entire house has working shutters.
There's a lot of things in here.
If you take some of them out, we don't have this much stuff,
it's a big room.
Great reactions, and there are a couple more reception rooms to go yet.
First up, a small but perfectly-formed dining room.
The third reception room.
It's like Pandora's box, isn't it? Just full.
I know what you mean.
I just can't think of words to describe it.
I'm very happy with what I've seen so far.
Two reception rooms in, what's the feel of the place?
I keep saying wow, but I can't think of anything else to say. It's amazing.
Wow is just fine by me.
Fingers crossed the kitchen will get equally effusive responses.
It could do with a contemporary refit,
but hopefully the size will be spot on.
Just a little step down.
-This is pleasantly big.
Isn't it? It works.
I'd visions of this actually being a lot smaller.
Lisa's really after a little island and I can see, actually, a little island working here.
There's a lot of space, loads of potential.
I think this is going well
and I'm sure upstairs won't disappoint either.
-Now then, come on in.
-This is nice.
-The surprises just get better, don't they?
Now, look, here we have on this floor three bedrooms.
What do you think about that, Ian?
Nice number. I was looking for four, but three is, I mean...three's OK.
Especially with the house. It's just fantastic.
Worry not, my friend. Upstairs, there's some attic space.
It already has a staircase going up there, it's got a sky light,
it just needs a bit of TLC up there.
There's two rooms and half a room in the middle.
So there's plenty of room up there for maybe, in time,
a shower room and two bedrooms.
That sounds good.
That could be the perfect hideaway for a visiting Nana - her very own private quarters
and there are still two further bedrooms on this floor -
a spacious room for Cameron
and another double for them.
Oh, it's really fairytaley, how they've done it out and the colour scheme.
It's a girl's room.
And space for wardrobes without losing your space as well.
Well, I thought it could be a master bedroom.
You've got space for wardrobe and storage right round there.
-There's a door that creeps right round there.
-That's a walk-in wardrobe.
Initially, I was wondering, walk-in wardrobe, could it be en suite?
Then I thought, "No, let's look at the whole house."
And then, walk that way,
and you've got not one, but two family bathrooms.
-It gets better.
-I'm working all this out.
It's like a jigsaw missing a piece here.
Tell you what, let's get some fresh air. Out to the garden.
It's clear this house has charmed the socks off these two.
Let's see if the garden has the same effect.
There's three quarters of an acre in all and a brick-built garage
which could be converted into a gym for Lisa.
Well, take a look around and pick a garden.
-There's a few, isn't there?
-Yeah, just one or two or three.
I wanted a garden and it's exceeded any expectations that I could ever have thought of.
-To be honest with you, it's got everything.
But what's missing?
-The view. I'm glad you said that.
I'm a lover of trees,
but I do think we could just dispense with two or three.
Keep all these beautiful deciduous trees, changing colour throughout the seasons
and maybe just take these conifers down.
Because, beyond, you've got beautiful river
with a background of beautiful rolling hills.
-Oh, yeah. Definitely.
Let's talk price, then.
Ian, I'm going to start with you.
How much do you think this is on the market for?
I think this one is on the market for 365,000.
I would say 360.
Well, it's on the market...
for offers around £395,000.
So a bit more than you were expecting. Are you disappointed?
Yes, because I think it's a lovely home.
It's beautiful and it's everything we could wish for,
but that would be pulling at our purse strings.
How long has it been on the market for?
-It's been on the market for around a year.
At the same price. The owners know what they want.
They're not expecting 395, maybe somewhere approaching that.
-Food for thought isn't it?
Now, look, there's loads of this property you haven't seen.
Have a look round the gardens, check out that amazing view.
-Maybe have a snoop round the attic. OK?
-See you in a bit.
So although over budget at offers over £395,000,
this Georgian cottage has been on the market for over a year
and there could be room for negotiation.
There's a lot of property to the pound, with three reception rooms and three bedrooms.
With some DIY, the attic could have at least one big bedroom and an en suite
and the icing on the cake is the three quarters of an acre garden.
Take down a few trees
and Lisa could have her all-important rural views too.
I think we may have hit the mark here.
I absolutely love this house.
It ticks every box.
Words... I found it hard to use words,
walking through the whole house, the gardens, everything is perfect.
It's a great space.
Loads of room for cooking comfortably and still entertaining.
We spend most of our time in the kitchen
and it's light which is ideal.
There is some work that we've both said does need doing,
but it's not immediate. You can live with it as it is.
There's no great rush
and I think over time, you could do it bit by bit.
I could see myself and my family in this house.
How did it go?
We don't want to leave.
No, I didn't think you would. Shall I drag you out of here?
-I think I'll need to. Come on.
Now, when it comes to national icons,
Scotland has more than its fair share.
Kilts, haggis and bagpipes are all up there,
but without a doubt, its most popular product has to be whisky.
So I've come in search of a true taste of Scotland at the country's smallest distillery
where the national tipple is being made today
exactly as it would have been 185 years ago.
Managing director Andrew Symington has kindly offered to show me around.
-Just checking through the ingredients, are you?
How do you make whisky? What are the main ingredients?
For a single malt whisky, very simple.
Water, malted barley and yeast.
OK, that sounds simple enough. How is it made?
The malted barley is put into a mill here,
it's ground down into what we call grist,
almost like porridge oats.
There it's added to hot water, 69 degrees centigrade, mixed together.
The actual process is called mashing.
It's taking place as we speak, I can show you.
Brilliant. Can we have a look?
'Scotland produces a staggering one billion bottles of whisky a year,'
that's around 32 bottles every second.
90% of that is exported to 200 different foreign markets,
earning a whopping £3 billion for the economy annually.
This looks like one huge bowl of porridge.
In a nutshell, yes, it is.
It's our mashed tun here, containing our mash,
our grist, mixed with water at 69 degrees.
-It's now converting from starch into sugar.
In fact, we can taste it here.
A little bit like a sweet breakfast cereal.
OK, so we've got this very sweet liquid.
Called wart? OK, what happens to the wort?
This wort is pumped up to our wort cooler, which is upstairs there,
where it's going over fins of water from our burn there.
It's cooling it down to 18 degrees Celsius.
Then what happens?
It's pumped into one of the two Oregon pine washbacks.
Where it becomes wash and we add yeast.
And after that?
It sits for 48 hours fermentation
and after the 48 hours, it goes into the wash still
which is the first still, it's boiled up, bubbles up,
At this point, it's 22% alcohol.
It goes into the spirit still there, boiled again,
boils right up, down there, condenses into the spirit safe.
We can see it running through the actual safe here.
At this point, it's 70% alcohol.
Wow. This 70% spirit,
is this whisky? It looks quite clear.
Not technically, no.
To become whisky, it must go into an oak cask
-for a minimum of three years.
We keep ours for a minimum of 10 years.
-Yes, a long time.
-Do you have any?
-We have some in our top warehouse.
-Any chance of a quick taste?
-I think we can arrange something.
'There are around 5,000 varieties of Scotch whisky
'and as well as the water used,
the malt or grain and, of course, the skill of the people who make it,
'a lot of the whisky's flavour comes from the oak barrel it's matured in. Why?
'Because they're second-hand,
'having been used for sherry, wine or bourbon before.
'That's how each whisky gets a distinct flavour.
'I'm no connoisseur, but I'll have fun trying to become one.'
-Last hand-made whisky in Scotland.
With the day drawing to a close in Perthshire,
Lisa and Ian have a chance to talk over the day's viewings.
What did you think of the Victorian house with a view?
-First impressions, loved it. Liked the look of it.
-I just didn't get the feel.
As much as it was a lovely house, I didn't get the feel.
The view was amazing, absolutely outstanding.
My priority was a view, but I found what was more important to me was a garden.
I agree. The garden has to be a safe play area for Cameron, especially at the front of the house.
What did you think of the Georgian house with the Gone With The Wind staircase?
I just instantly found that it was what we were looking for.
Even now, thinking about it, I've got a big grin on my face.
I can't stop smiling. It just ticked every box. The land is perfect.
Security-wise for Cameron, it's perfect.
I can't see anything beating it. Hopefully I'll get even more excited tomorrow.
Both Lisa and Ian have dreamt of moving to the country since they were kids
and now they have a little boy, they've decided to head to Perthshire.
We've already charmed them with one property,
but can we find them the real McCoy?
Oh, my word.
Or will the mystery house be something of an epiphany?
It's food for thought. In fact, it's that much food I'm getting fat thinking about it.
I think we had a bit of a result yesterday and it could be a tough act to follow,
but today's a new day, albeit a tad gloomy.
Let's see what it brings.
We're kicking off proceedings on day two by heading back to Blairgowrie and Rattray.
As well as the plentiful historic highlights already explored by Lisa and Ian,
here's no shortage of amenities either.
It has a reputation for good food and good shopping,
and with the 60-mile Cateran Trail starting here,
good Scotch countryside is right on the doorstep too.
Our property is situated on the east bank of the River Ericht in Rattray,
set well back from the road in a popular residential area.
As usual, I want first impressions.
What are you thinking right now, as soon as you come up those steps?
-Yes. Beautiful condition.
-Bay windows, lovely.
OK. Prepare yourself. Follow me.
'Well, if they think this 19th century lodge
'has an impressive exterior, I can't wait till they get inside.
'I'm expecting triple wows.'
In you come.
Oh, gosh. My word.
-This is the size of our house, the hallway.
-Big, isn't it?
-This is a room, surely?
-I don't get the feeling it's a home.
You know when you expect... As if it's a hotel, you know, you come into a grand entrance.
I can't believe it's an actual home.
'It is a home, and a big one at that,
'so we'd better get a move on,
'starting with the first of three reception rooms.'
-Nicely done out.
-It all fits so well, doesn't it?
-It is beautiful.
You just can't fault it at all. There would be nothing that you would be hesitant on at all.
It's beautiful. The windows are the main feature, really.
Looking around, Ian, I can only apologise,
because there's no DIY to be done here. Is that all right?
-It's just not going to work.
'Of course, no DIY means more time for R&R
'and there's plenty of space to do it.
'Another reception room across the hall, and just next door is a separate dining room.
'When Lisa sees the size of the kitchen,
'I don't think her mind will be on formal dining.'
-This is my kitchen.
-Come right in.
This would be my dream kitchen.
-Gosh, this is lovely.
-It's definitely a family home.
Yes. That much it is.
You've got a utility just next door,
which I think really helps get all the white goods out of here.
Throughout this house, the entire house,
there's nothing that is a half measure.
Everything has been done to perfection, as well as it could have been done.
You can see that. It's evident.
'This house obviously has all the right ingredients so far, and more importantly,
'it feels like a home for them.
'You know what? I can't see upstairs being a let-down either.'
Oh, my word.
It's not what you expect from an upstairs room, is it?
We could rent this out.
-I'm absolutely gobsmacked.
-I thought this was a room.
Well, it is now. I mean it's what you make it, isn't it?
Yeah. It works.
Put a stair gate up here and Cameron has the perfect playroom,
leaving the downstairs living room strictly for adults.
And the space just goes on, with four bedrooms in all,
including two singles, a family bathroom and a double guestroom.
-Yeah, it's lovely.
-Nice and bright.
OK, let's play "What's behind the door?" What's behind these doors?
-Yeah, en suite there.
-Obviously, dressing room.
And a walk-in wardrobe, yeah.
It works. Very well.
By the sounds of it, it works for you guys.
-Am I right?
-Not giving anything away.
Your face is doing that for you. Don't worry about that.
We've seen a lot of the house. You can have a look at the other three bedrooms later.
Fancy an annexe? Cos it's got one.
Oh, yes! Back along the hallway is a two-storey self-contained annexe,
with a kitchen, a bedroom, a shower room and a living room.
There's space enough for visiting relatives
and it could even be a potential money-spinner.
So, the annexe...
Cameron has now about three playrooms.
-That means more toys.
-I'm thinking Nana straight away.
Do you remember you jokingly said,
when you first got upstairs, "We could let this place out?"
You could let this place out because the previous owners have.
-It generated £6,000 to £7,000 last year in rental income.
-£6,000 to £7,000.
-Wow, that is fab!
Again, I'm speechless and I'm trying to explain that... You can't.
-You can't explain this. This is fantastic.
-It gets bigger and bigger.
It looks a big house, but when you're inside and see the rooms.
I'm expecting the Doctor Who music any second!
Well, if the inside is TARDIS-like, guess what? So is the garden.
It has plenty of different areas, including a huge deck terrace
and there's an awful lot of lawn.
So outside, shall I explain what we've got here?
Cos we've got lots, we really have.
We've got just over three quarters of an acre.
Behind you, you've got a veggie patch, even a polytunnel there.
Beyond those trees, an outbuilding with separate vehicular access.
That building's had planning consent on it previously to convert.
That since has lapsed, but you've got a precedent there.
You've got a beautiful garden here
and pretty much a ready-made studio for you in the front garden.
You can have your fitness base here, even fitness weekends or holidays.
They could stay in the annexe.
Opportunities are endless, aren't they?
Ian would like 80 women staying over.
Can I come and stay?
How much is this on the market for, Lisa?
I would guess 385,000.
-I would guess at 405.
-Not bad guesses.
They clearly reflect the fact you're impressed by this.
It's on the market for offers over £385,000.
So neither of you are that far away. It's only just come on the market.
It's what you would expect, it's worth every penny.
It's a fantastic house.
You've seen probably half of the property, really, haven't you?
Go and have a good look around - the bedrooms, the annexe.
-See what you think, all right?
-I'll catch you in a bit.
So, at offers over £385,000,
this is at least £10,000 over budget,
but with earning potential of 7,000 per annum on the annexe,
it's an expenditure they could recoup in a few years.
The house itself has three reception rooms,
Lisa's dream kitchen/diner,
four bedrooms and the three quarters of an acre garden
already includes a cabin, ideal for Lisa's fitness studio.
Unless I've read these two completely wrong,
I think we may well have just found their dream home.
-I'm thinking holiday lets.
And for friends and family to stay.
Perfect. Great idea.
I could see us moving into this house
and living here as a family for a long time.
It has the business side of it,
so we don't have to then go out and look for another place to set up our business.
It's all in one. It's brilliant.
The kid's room, makes me think it's ideal for Cameron. What do you think?
Definitely ideal. But there again the whole house is ideal.
My overall impression of the house - amazing.
It's what we're after.
I don't know what Lisa will think,
but I definitely can say this house would definitely suit our family.
It wouldn't be a house, it would be a home. That's for sure.
Now, another part of Scotland's heritage are the Highland Games.
As Lisa is a fitness instructor,
we thought we'd give her a real challenge
and send her and Ian to Blair Castle
to get to grips with some true Scottish culture.
They're meeting current Highland Games champ Gregor Edmunds.
We're going to give you a little caber-tossing lesson today.
So let's get to it.
Although there are various athletic events,
it's the caber toss that really symbolises the Games today.
But you'd be wrong if you think it's all about how far you can lob the thing,
it's actually scored on turning the caber 180 degrees end over end
so it lands in a 12 o'clock position relative to the direction of the run.
So, who's first?
I'm not sure whether this is a battle of the sexes
or a battle of the nations, England versus Scotland.
I should say, the origins of the game aren't thought to be aggressive.
In the 11th century, Malcolm III of Scotland summoned contestants to a foot race
to find the fastest runner in the land to be his royal messenger.
However, according to records,
at least one event was linked to repelling unwanted invaders -
the stone putt.
In the archive it says that Robert the Bruce stopped an English Army at Glenntrool
by simply pelting them with these.
-Let's give it a try.
-Let's give them a pelt then and see how they go.
I think I can safely say Gregor doesn't need to worry about his title just yet.
Oh, just snapped my finger back.
Let's just hope we hit the mark with the mystery house.
I'm glad Ian says he's prepared to do some work to a property and get his hands dirty
because the mystery house is going to call upon all his DIY skills and then some.
So far, we've shown you houses that maybe didn't really push your imagination that far.
How far do you think we can push you for this mystery house?
Leaving no punches, I think you guys could push us here.
I'm really glad to hear that.
The mystery house will be a challenge-and-a-half.
It's situated in the little town of Aberfeldy, a few miles south of beautiful Loch Tay.
Back in 2002, Aberfeldy became Scotland's first official Fairtrade town.
Its retailers and businesses are committed
not only to selling Fairtrade produce from abroad,
but also supporting local farmers and artisans.
There's a country market the second Saturday of each month.
The mystery property is just a short walk from all the action
and this one is going to come as a total surprise.
Keep them shut, keep them shut, keep them shut! On three, ready?
One, two, three! Open your eyes.
-Now I'm thinking sledge hammer.
Now I'm thinking big sledge hammer.
You know, I hear all this about "Where we move to in Perthshire,
"I want every day to be like Sunday."
It would be like Sunday. This is the mystery house, or should I say, the mystery church.
It's definitely big.
It is massive.
Go with me, come on.
'There's no doubt this Victorian church,
'which has the equivalent of a Grade II listing,
'is going to be a mammoth undertaking for them.
'But if we can convert them to our way of thinking,
'they could end up with a unique - not to mention gargantuan - family home,
'or perhaps a business investment.'
This room is...the...
I'm so shell-shocked.
The mystery house is designed to sometimes
push the boundaries a little bit.
-There's definitely features, that's for sure.
Yeah, now at present,
this church has planning consent
to be converted into four luxury apartments,
which illustrates just how big it is.
This could easily - more easily - be converted, into one huge family dwelling.
I might have to get somebody to help me.
Just someone just to hold the tin of paint!
Shall we walk down the aisle?
-Do you mind?
-You can follow.
Let's see if we have any hope of marrying up these two with our church conversion.
This room, I think, demonstrates just how big the whole building is,
but the fact there are already rooms in place.
This would work with a kitchen, working kitchen, island, dining room table, utility.
You do have plumbing in here. You've got a loo through there.
You've got soil stacks, some essential plumbing to the property.
But what you also have is complete flexibility.
-I think it's got lots of scope.
-One of my ideas is a home dwelling, a massive home dwelling.
But the other one, obviously, is to maybe renovate ourselves
into four luxury flats or apartments and sell on.
'Ah, I can see Ian has his canny business head on. And why not?
'This property is ripe for development.
'The question is, could they make it work as their home?
'I think they might need some help visualising.'
Now, we're up here in the gallery,
you can see just how tall this building is.
If you look right over there, look at that large window in the gable.
-There's three storeys of height here.
You only want two storeys in here, then you keep these amazing windows,
but look at all that space in the roof.
There's planning consent to have skylights in that roof.
-So you've still got all the lights and these beautiful windows either end.
-That would look fantastic.
This is a very rare, probably a unique opportunity.
You can see it as a single dwelling, but it's a big single dwelling.
I've seen a number of these places converted.
I've seen them converted pretty poorly and very well.
My one piece of advice would be to get not just an architect,
but a specialist architect with a track record for converting well these properties.
We'd have to do that, cos I'm not seeing the three floors.
I'm seeing it as a church and I can't really get my brain to go past that.
It's a lot to take in. It throws you back to the mystery property thing.
It's going to push all of our imaginations.
But you can see why we wanted to show you this.
-This is a mythical mystery project.
'Just like the interior, the garden will take some creative thinking too.'
-Not a bad-sized garden, is it?
-Yeah, it's a lawn, a flat lawn. Flattish!
-But look around. What do you see?
-Views that way. What do you see?
That is perhaps a negative that could be turned into a positive.
At the moment it's a building site. When it's completed it's going to be an all-singing, all-dancing school.
So set in half an acre,
how much do you think it's on the market for as it stands?
I'm going to get laughed at here. I would say, because it's got the planning consent,
and to keep within our budget,
-Look at me!
-I think about £350,000.
-You two are way out.
That's really promising. For me, that's really promising.
Yeah. It's food for thought.
It's that much food I'm getting fat thinking about it!
Look, go and walk it off then! Have a walk round the perimeter.
Go back inside if you like, before it gets dark,
-and have a good think about this.
-Catch you in a bit.
It's an awful lot to take in. At offers over £190,000,
this Victorian church will be a massive project,
which will no doubt swallow up the rest of their budget.
At the moment, plans are in place for four separate apartments,
but the planning department suggests consent for a single dwelling is likely to be supported.
So Lisa and Ian just need to decide what they'd want to do with it.
Opportunities like this don't come along that often,
but is this going to be a project too far?
I think I'm thinking with my heart and not my head at the moment.
But the option's definitely there.
Possibly more towards the four different luxury flats.
It's a fantastic project. One that we've never tackled before.
We have to put some serious thought into it.
Whoa, here they are. Happy times?
I know there's loads to think about.
Let's find somewhere for you to get your heads together. Yeah?
Relocating is a huge step.
However, I think both the county and our properties
have won today's house-hunters over.
Now they have a lot to discuss before making any decisions.
We've shown Ian and Lisa a great selection of properties
of what I think is the best that Perthshire has to offer for their budget.
Now, I've got a pretty good idea which one their favourite house is,
but you can never be too sure, can you? Let's go and find out.
Well, I personally have had a great time here in Perthshire.
-How's it been for you guys?
-Fantastic. Like a dream.
Yeah, it's been an absolute ball.
I'm glad. The first house was that Victorian property
with those stunning views. What about it now?
The lawn was the big let down for me, the garden,
-that was the let down.
-I would agree with that.
Beautiful house, but not what we would have in mind as a family house.
We took you to the house with the Gone With The Wind staircase, the Georgian house.
-What do you think of that now?
-Certainly fairytaley, it was lovely.
You got caught up in the whole atmosphere of the house, which I loved.
It had so much character and good feelings in there.
I think a word I used a lot was 'wow'. I'll even use 'wow' now.
There's three bedrooms, I know there was the attic.
It would be a while before we could convert the attic into a bedroom.
The majority of boxes were ticked, but not all of them.
OK. Well, a new day brought new houses.
The house we went to first was the completely finished article with an annexe.
-What do we think of that?
-It was everything. It was ideal, from the word go.
As we went through the rest of the house, it got even better
and boxes that were ticked were re-ticked.
Just the attention to detail, you couldn't fault anything.
They've thought of everything in that house.
It seemed to be the house that you were after,
but the mystery house, normally... It's a curve ball, isn't it?
We went to the mystery house, or shall we call it the mystery church?!
It was, erm... I don't know, shocked and stunned,
to say the least at that. That was...scary.
-I couldn't work out what to do with it,
before we even knew what you could do with it.
I was trying to think, "What can you do with something of this size?"
-Are you up to that job?
I don't think so!
I think it's too much for one man.
OK. So after all we've seen and done, what's the next step for you guys?
I think next step is finalising the sale of our house
as quick as possible, fingers crossed.
Then it's a case of getting back in touch with the vendor
of the house with the annexe.
What about a second place - the house with the staircase?
That was the next well-ticked boxes, the house with the staircase.
That would definitely, if - fingers crossed it doesn't happen -
the house with the annexe falls through,
that would definitely be of interest.
We've clearly got a first-choice house,
but we also have a very close reserve, don't we?
-That can't be bad, can it?
-It's pretty good going.
Well, I wish you both the very best of luck
and whatever happens, do please let us know. Best of luck and cheers.
It's been an absolute pleasure showing Ian and Lisa around Perthshire
and fingers crossed, the completion of their current home goes through as planned,
so they can come back here and have the choice
of at least one of the two properties they fell in love with.
You never know, they may even be spoilt for choice.
See you next time.
Back in England, Lisa and Ian are waiting to exchange.
Fingers croseed, the house will still be on the market once they have the funds in the bank,
as they're very keen to make an offer.
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Jonnie Irwin helps a couple leave one of Europe's largest housing estates behind and start afresh in Perthshire. For their budget of £375,000 they have a lengthy wish-list. They are seeking a detached character home in a good plot of land within striking distance of a village. Must haves include stunning views, a big kitchen and four bedrooms. A playroom and outbuildings wouldn't go amiss either. Thankfully they're open to compromise. On their budget it's all a big ask...