Browse content similar to Argyll and Bute. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
Built during the mid-15th century, this magnificent castle behind me
was once the stronghold of the powerful Campbell clan.
With its strategic position on Loch Awe, it was a symbol
of the clan's growing supremacy
and a base from which to wage a blood-soaked quest for more land.
Where am I? Find out, as we escape to the country.
'On today's show, I'll be helping a couple realise their grand vision
'of finding a Scottish retreat. They're quite daunted at first.'
It's so massive!
I don't know if I can take it in!
But living like lord and lady seems to grow on them.
It's gone from an "interesting" to a "woo-hoo!"
And then there's our mystery house, which will certainly require some blue-sky thinking.
I'm in Scotland, in the region of Argyll and Bute, and behind me,
the remains of Kilchurn Castle. Thirsty for power,
the Campbells formed a strong allegiance with Scottish kings
and began a 400-year-long feud with their neighbours, the MacDonald and the MacGregor clans.
Well, with royalty on their side, they stripped away enemy land
and, through bloodshed, expanded their own empire.
So these ruins behind me not only act as a reminder of the area's rich history, they're also
a perfect place from which to start our own house hunt, with hopefully a little less bloodshed.
Characterised by its sea lochs, mountains and scattering of islands,
Argyll serves up a remote, yet dramatic landscape
on which centuries of civil unrest have been played out,
including wars of independence in the 14th century.
It was this victory that secured the fortunes of the Campbell family,
who were ennobled as the Dukes of Argyll,
and to this day are major landowners in the region.
As the third least populated county in Scotland, well over
three-quarters of its residents live within easy reach of its coastal
villages and towns, such as the pretty Georgian town of Inveraray
on the shores of Loch Fyne,
and, as we'll see, these glorious loch-side locations
will be a recurring theme in today's house search.
Anyone interested in becoming lord of the manor here in Scotland
should be aware that there is a different buying procedure.
For instance, all offers have to go through a solicitor, which moves the process along quicker.
It also means that gazumping is virtually impossible, as contracts are binding.
Another thing to remember is that properties are advertised at the minimum asking price,
which means you've got to offer more than that if you're going to acquire your dream home here.
But just look at that, it's worth it, isn't it?
It's a big budget,
but for £895,000 this seven-bedroom Edwardian
country house near Benderloch does give you a lot for your money.
Its four stylishly decorated reception rooms have coastal views over your very own private beach.
Or there's this 1850s Victorian Villa in Blairmore for £675,000,
with impressive high ceilings and bay windows in its living areas,
along with stunning views over the Clyde estuary.
This charming three-bedroom cottage in Rothesay on the Isle of Bute
could be yours for £320,000.
There's a cosy sitting room, and outside the patio overlooks open countryside.
There are some stunning properties out here in Argyll,
and if it's space you're after, you're in the right place,
but will the peace and tranquillity be enough to tempt this week's high-flying couple?
Leah, a senior air stewardess, and Raymond, a former businessman,
have lived in their four-bedroom property on the outskirts of Glasgow
with Leah's daughter Molly for 12 years, but Raymond's recent hobby
has turned into an all-consuming obsession, which is a driving factor
in their move to the country.
What triggered this was Leah buying me a set of oil paints back in 2002.
That gave me the opportunity to pick up this hobby of painting,
and I took it with a passion.
I really want to try and push this dream of having an artist's retreat.
You have the business expertise, and I have the front-of-house.
-So hopefully that will work well together.
But the dream team seem to disagree on the perfect location.
I would like to be closer to a village,
because of Molly, one, and, two, I'm a very sociable person, and I don't
want to be too isolated, where, Raymond, I think you'd rather...
I've always dreamed of something far more remote than what Leah would settle for.
Ideally, we would love somewhere with a mountain view,
with maybe a loch or a glen.
But they hold the same vision for their perfect property.
We're very flexible, because we know what we're looking for
isn't out there as we envisage it. We need a starting block that we can
then create the dream that we have,
and we know we have to build that.
They're flexible about the business, which is good news,
but what are they looking for in their dream home?
Three bedroom, minimum, detached, a couple of acres,
nice tranquil location, not too rural.
Studio space and outbuildings with development potential.
And there are two rooms that will need special attention.
Here we are in my studio, but it's not just big enough.
It's not got the capacity that I need. The light's not very good.
Hopefully, we're going to find somewhere that has got
a far bigger studio space that can accommodate maybe 12 artists.
So this is our kitchen.
As you can see, it's not the biggest of kitchens.
Myself and Raymond both love to cook,
and we just end up getting in each other's way.
Storage isn't great in this kitchen, so ideally a big dining kitchen
that we could all sit around and socialise would be great.
With their current property valued at £370,000 and on the market,
they're in a strong financial position,
so what's the budget for their next move?
Our budget for this property is £500,000 with a further 150,000
towards developing the business.
Raymond and Leah have a huge wish-list for their family and business needs,
but house prices in Argyll do work in our favour,
so they'll get more for their money here than in neighbouring counties.
And they seem happy to cast their net wide, so we'll draw a fairly big
circle around the town of Inveraray,
keeping lochside locations firmly in mind.
I'll be showing them some prize properties in the area but, as ever,
I won't be revealing the price until they've had a guess first.
Last, but not least,
there's the ultimate challenge in the form of the mystery house.
-Raymond, good to see you.
-Good to see you.
-How are you?
-You've brought the fine weather with you.
-We have, it's beautiful.
Long may it continue, that's what I say.
Are you ready to make this gargantuan leap, then, from Glasgow to Argyll?
-Ready and willing.
I make a joke of it, it's only about an hour and a half or something in the car, isn't it?
-It's actually not too bad at all.
-But it's a different way of life.
-You're going to give up the high life.
-It depends on what you find us.
-She's quite cagey, isn't she?
-She keeps her cards close to her chest, this one.
It's a big ask for you, you see the world in your job.
I know, but I think it's time for me to wind down a little bit,
-and what better place than Argyll?
-Let's talk about the budget,
still 500 grand?
£500,000, and we've got about 150, thereabouts, to develop the idea
further if we don't find it within the £500,000 mark,
so that's the kind of ballpark figure.
Any rush or anything like that?
Put it this way, we've been looking for three years.
-Right, so you're picky.
-No...but we know what we want.
We just haven't been able to find it. That's why we need your help.
Shall we get on with it, then? Come on, let's go.
For their £500,000 budget, Raymond and air stewardess Leah
are looking for a period property with business potential
that will give them a large family kitchen-diner,
an artists' studio for Raymond, three bedrooms for the family
and separate accommodation for up to 12 guests,
along with a couple of acres, all wrapped up in a stunning setting
that will deliver their vision for the artists' retreat.
We're kicking off your property search in Garelochhead,
which gained a reputation back in the 1820s
as a summer holiday retreat with its beautiful setting looking out over the Gareloch.
And Leah should like the sense of community here, too.
Along with a few shops, there is a local primary school for Molly.
Just on the edge of the village, our first property was in fact
a wealthy tea merchant's holiday home, built back in 1865,
and over the past seven years it's been restored to its former glory.
-The stone is lovely, isn't it?
-Oh, it's fantastic.
-Not a bad view, either, eh?
-It's very unique, this position.
No, this is very interesting, indeed.
And I've grown up by the sea, and it's always something
I've wanted to move back to.
Do you know what I love about you? You're saying all the right things already.
-Big enough for you?
-You can't wait to get in there.
-Take me in.
I can do that, follow me.
From the outside, this property certainly has loads of historic
appeal, and the inside, well, it's just as impressive.
Come on in, don't be shy.
It is what you call a very big hallway.
Yes. The wood is...is really nice.
-It's lovely, isn't it?
-Look at the staircase.
-What do you make of it?
This is fantastic. So far, it's positive, positive, positive.
What I love about both of you, you're both backing off.
"It's so massive! I don't know if I can take it in!"
It'll be fine. It could be yours, you know!
-It could be.
-Well, if they're overwhelmed by the hallway,
the other living spaces will definitely knock their socks off.
It's fantastic. The views!
Brilliant light, fantastic light in here with all the windows.
There speaks an artist.
At the moment it's a living room, but it could be a studio.
Look at the fireplace. There's so much to take in.
Just off the living room is a lovely conservatory with terrific views of the loch,
but there's much more in store.
Now, there's a shock!
Welcome to your very own consecrated Masonic lodge, believe it or not.
-This is very William Wallace, 20th century, eh?
-You've got the original Victorian windows in the top, letting in so much light.
-This is actually perfect conditions to use as a studio.
This is better.
You have literally become speechless.
-No, I have become speechless!
-Do you not like it?
No, I do like it, it's just...
-It's just so out there.
-You don't expect it when you walk in.
It's not what I expected at all.
Honestly, this is amazing.
They're completely blown away by this room as a possible studio
and yet more surprises.
There's a bar next door, where their guests could enjoy a wee dram after a hard day's painting.
Back through the conservatory is a cosy inviting living room,
which could be a great family hangout for them and Molly.
However, for such a large-proportioned house,
the kitchen may come as a bit of a shock.
Uh-oh. Oh, check out that face!
Come on, spill the beans.
Just, for me personally, too small...as a kitchen.
-I would agree.
-I wanted family.
I mean, it's a nice-sized kitchen.
It's fine, but just for what I had in mind...
I was thinking family-sized kitchen, all sitting around.
Behind the kitchen is a huge downstairs annexe with spacious kitchen-diner and a utility room.
There's also a comfortable lounge and a decent-sized bathroom, so there's lots of space for Leah
to extend to create her vision for their family kitchen.
So with the downstairs rooms covered, we'll head up the impressive staircase.
-I don't think I'd ever get tired of walking up and down these stairs.
-No, you wouldn't, would you?
Again, everywhere you go, there's that light pouring in.
You could even do some painting here.
-Or am I pushing it?
-Yeah, I think you're pushing it.
With seven bedrooms, they can take their three for the family and put the rest aside for the business.
The five in the main house include a spacious double
with a bright spruce bathroom next door.
Also leading off the landing is a small double room with its own
roll-top en-suite bathroom and a large double with an impressive bay window.
The fourth room is currently set up as a twin.
Let's turn our attention to where they would sleep.
-So currently this is the master bedroom.
I don't know if you'd keep this as a master or, you know, use one of the others.
Yeah, it depends... but it's a good size.
Dual aspect as well, so plenty of light coming in.
And next door the family bathroom certainly measures up.
This is rather impressive.
This is big! This is really big.
I love that old wood effect, the old-style wood panelling. Lovely.
It's good enough for artists, isn't it?
What are they used to, these artists?
They're used to living in squalor for their art!
-This is practically perfect for them.
The other two bedrooms are tucked away in the annexe part,
so there are lots of options where they could put their paying guests.
This enormous property certainly offers Leah and Raymond a fine
family home and huge scope to develop their business.
Let's go down by the water's edge
and survey the one acre grounds and scenery that could be theirs.
Oh, I'm getting so bored of that view, I really am.
-Imagine waking up in the morning and looking at that!
-You couldn't get bored of it, could you?
It's beautiful, isn't it? Absolutely beautiful.
All this could be yours.
I think, on the whole, you have been impressed with it, haven't you?
-And what about the outside space in itself?
Well, I think when you have the ocean as your garden, an extended garden,
that the actual ground itself, it doesn't bother me, anyway, does it?
Does it bother you?
You're right on a sea loch here, you've got the ocean right on your doorstep,
and it's a lovely view, you've got a fantastic view.
You can imagine the way the light changes there throughout the day.
-All right, then, let's talk money.
-Who is going first?
-It's up to you.
-You go first.
Do you want me to give the bad news?
I think you're well over budget, excess of 550.
-A lot of money, isn't it?
-It is, it is.
Offers in the region of...525.
Oh, you want to know, do you?
Oh, sorry! I was taking in the surroundings then. It's lovely here.
All I can tell you is that it could
most definitely be yours, offers over £460,000.
-No way! That's a lot for 460.
It is a lot, but there's a lot to be done.
-But you've got the money to do it.
-But we would potentially have the money to do it!
Don't make up your mind, go and have a look around, and I'll come and catch you.
£40,000 under budget, this listed Victorian house
is on the market at £460,000,
leaving them a substantial pot of funds to develop the business.
It gives them a whole host of reception areas for family living and for guests to relax in,
its own Masonic hall, which could be transformed into a great artists' studio, seven bedrooms, including
two in the self-contained annexe,
and an acre of garden leading down to the shores of the Gareloch.
So has the property and its fantastic location inspired their vision?
This is the biggest of the bedrooms, I think.
-I mean, look at the view!
-It's perfect, isn't it?
I think it's been a surprise.
I think as we've came in and explored, it's opened up a different way of thinking for me.
Without doubt, this is the place where you would use as a studio.
That's great, that's a bigger-sized room,
but look at the light in there, compared to there.
Yeah, perfect. I think the house is fantastic.
There's a lot to be done, but it has the aspect that we've been looking for.
Hey, you whipped around there pretty quickly!
-And you're still smiling, what a bonus.
-Come on, plenty more to see, follow me.
Argyll's vast landscape may dwarf the towns and villages,
but their heritage is deeply rooted in this area's fascinating history.
Perched on the edge of Loch Fyne, Inveraray is renowned as
the ancestral home of the Duke of Argyll.
The old town was originally where the castle stands,
but in the 18th century the Duke had radical plans for the town's redevelopment.
Earlier in the week, Leah and Raymond met local resident Colin Stephenson to find out more.
The man who started rebuilding the town and moving it over here, the second Duke of Argyll,
was a member of the Campbell family, who have lived in this area for not only centuries,
but a couple of thousand years, basically, going right back into their Celtic background.
They were the guardians of the western approaches at the bottom of Loch Awe
against Viking pirates and other people,
and for their services to the crown, they were promoted to being Earls of Argyll in the early 1400s.
The old town was moved because the dukes wanted a bit more space.
They wanted to build policies, gardens, round their castle, and the old town was in the way.
It wasn't exactly falling apart, but it was very cramped for accommodation.
The circuit judges came here, and there was virtually no room for them.
So all in all, it was one of these periods in history were things were
due for a change and a tidy up, and that's what was done.
Repositioning the town meant the second duke could set about rebuilding his castle,
which incorporates a range of styles from its French-inspired turrets to its gothic windows.
First by sketched by Vanbrugh in 1720, it was finally completed in 1789 by Robert Adam,
three generations later, ready for the fifth duke to move into.
It remains the family home today and, unsurprisingly,
has seen some illustrious figures cross its threshold.
Going back to the early days, you had Benjamin Franklin, the famous American politician.
He and his son stayed here before American independence.
And Queen Victoria was probably one of the more famous for two reasons.
She was here as a visitor, first of all,
but she latterly became not only the monarch, she became
the mother-in-law, as her daughter Louise married the ninth Duke of Argyll.
When the Campbells moved the family seat to Inveraray in the mid-1400s,
they clearly had their sights set on the perfect location.
They have a fairly important part to play in the development of the town.
First of all, the original reason for the Campbells
moving from Loch Awe to Inveraray was strategy in the old days.
There was literally no road transport, and the loch there
was your road to the outside world, to Europe, to middle Scotland, to England and across to Ireland.
It's directly positioned for that.
And over the years, it also became important for trade.
The prevailing winds brought boats from France in a direct line,
bringing liquid refreshment and other things from France. Seriously!
All the way up here.
We then had the growth of the herring industry, which lasted up until about the First World War.
I can see why the Campbells moved to enjoy the spoils of this remarkable setting.
And our second property has a strong historical link to the family.
Located three miles outside the coastal village of Ardrishaig, with a convenient primary school
for Molly, its location on the edge of Loch Fyne would provide Raymond and his guests
with more artistic inspiration than they could shake a brush at.
As would this Victorian country residence, built by the Campbells.
Will this do you?
If you hold on here a second, take it all in.
-It's like a little mini castle.
-It is a mini castle, exactly that. What do you think?
-It is unique, isn't it?
-I've never seen anything quite like it.
What did you expect when you were driving up the drive? It's quite a long way.
It is quite a long way, and it's also the walls,
a big turreted wall at the entrance, which is really quite intriguing.
Do you fancy having your own walled garden, do you?
-Two-acre walled garden.
It used to be the finest fruit-growing garden
in the whole of Scotland. Did you also notice a little ice house?
Yes, I was just asking Raymond.
That's where they preserved the fruit so it would last longer. This is a house with masses of history.
If you can block out the '50s bit, which isn't too bad, maybe you can do something with that,
what you've got here is a massive slice of Scottish history, you really do.
The turrets, basically, the farmers used to live in the turrets,
so you've got three rooms in one turret, which you would have to redo, and two rooms in the other.
So imagine your guests living in those turrets looking out over a walled garden.
-And that would be ours!
-Well, it could be.
Don't jump the gun.
You're smiling now. It's gone from an "interesting" to a "woo-hoo!" and a little jig.
Let's get in. That sounds like a good idea, the best one you've come up with all day.
Despite much of the original house being demolished in the 1950s,
with modern living in mind, apparently,
this property thankfully retains much of its original character, as we'll see inside.
Come on in.
-Very impressive, isn't it?
He's our friend, the guardian of the house, and if you don't like it, he sorts you out.
As you can tell, at the moment he's not a-moose-d.
-Come on through.
First impressions, guys?
This is...fantastic, it has a really...traditional feel about it.
Yeah, it's got that kind of castle feel.
It's not a huge entrance, but it's impressive.
I think this has definitely got the flavour of Scotland all over it.
It sure has, Raymond.
And I'm sure that the living room will measure up.
-Dual aspect, but a great window there.
Again, having the two windows in either wall brings in a lot of light.
Would you use this as a studio?
Yeah, you could do, I mean it's big enough.
-You're quite liking it as a living room.
Yeah, I think we could find your studio somewhere else.
This will be interesting, who wins this battle?
Well, Raymond has thrown down the gauntlet early on,
but if he holds out till the end, I might just have the answer.
The dining room also has those dual-aspect windows.
Next door, the kitchen may be smaller than Leah would like, but there is scope to extend,
and it leads through into a conservatory, which gives them extra space to play with.
Well, now downstairs is covered, we'll explore the first floor,
where there's a lovely family bathroom with great views
and two of the five bedrooms, both potentially good-sized doubles.
Here's one of the bedrooms anyway.
OK, that's a nice size.
-It is, isn't it?
And there again, you have the view.
It is a lovely view. Well, it's the same view as the bathroom.
Again, you've got the high ceilings, though.
-It gives that fantastic element of space, doesn't it?
-These are big rooms.
Well, they are.
Let me take you up now. How are you with heights?
Upstairs again on the second floor are three other bedrooms.
Another very bright room. Good size?
-It's very pleasant, isn't it?
-It is, it's fine.
If I was an artist, I really would enjoy waking up in the morning and seeing the view of the loch.
-It is just spectacular, it really is.
Along with converting those turrets, the remaining two bedrooms
are spacious and could both serve as great doubles.
So let's go downstairs again and head outside, where there's
a stone stable block, which would be a fantastic conversion project,
as it's got planning permission to be developed sympathetically into a dwelling.
Or Raymond could look at converting it into an enormous studio space.
The grounds certainly leave room for them to spread out.
The two-acre walled garden is just part of the staggering seven acres
that comes with this property.
-You could just let the guests loose into the grounds.
-Yeah, you could.
Oh it's fantastic, it really is amazing.
You don't have to take them out on location, it is on location!
The way we're seeing the garden now is as natural as it gets.
It's up to you how much work you want to put in.
How much do you think this property is on the market for?
-I think we're talking nearer £600,000.
I would say we are up sort of high 500,000, up end of that...for all this.
OK, £600,000. OK. How about you?
OK, 600, 595.
Offers above £475,000.
-We're moving in! You've given us a lot to think about.
I won't be in the garden, because you will never find me.
-I'll be by the front door, is that all right?
Well...how exciting was that?
You should see them, they're dancing for joy, they really are.
There's a big difference between £600,000 and £475,000.
I can really imagine them both here.
I think that they would have the time of their lives, I really would.
I'm not going to say any more, because really I am being bitten to shreds.
Under budget at £475,000, Leah and Raymond would be
buying a historic landmark, which has scope to be developed into their perfect property.
It offers them two large reception areas with period features,
five bedrooms, a barn which has potential to be Raymond's studio
and turrets to renovate for their holiday guests,
all set in seven acres of grounds looking out over Loch Fyne.
It sounds like a dream come true, doesn't it?
The question is, do they think so?
This house is just...jaw-dropping.
It is everything I ever dreamt about when we have been talking about our
venture and what we were looking for and what we wanted from a property.
I think this house is very characterful.
It has so many aspects to it that I'm really interested in.
But it does need a little bit of work.
Can you tell?
I'm half the man I was, I've been eaten alive, I really have.
-I love it, I love it.
I think it's fantastic.
I think it's got a real good feel about it.
Well, I want you to go and have some you time, have a chat about it all,
because you've seen two very different properties, and I'll catch up with you later.
Come on, let's go.
As the day draws to a close over the Scottish Highlands,
it marks the end of the first day of our property search.
Armed with a £500,000 budget, Leah and Raymond want to quit the Glasgow
suburbs and get creative by setting up an artists' retreat in Argyll.
They've been stunned by the two properties I have shown them so far.
Honestly! Honestly, this is amazing.
But could the mystery property be their field of dreams or a project too far?
It's a new day, and our search continues to find artist Raymond
and his lovely wife Leah a dream property here in Argyll.
Yesterday, it's fair to say that we opened their eyes to the potential
of what's available here for their budget.
My legs are killing me, walking around those massive properties,
and it was good to see that they're willing to compromise. Their ideal wish list isn't set in stone.
It's a great house-hunting word, that, isn't it, compromise?
But can they be pushed too far?
Let the mystery property be the judge of that.
Our mystery property is in the small West Highland village of Kilchrenan,
with a primary school for Molly and a pub within walking distance from where we're heading.
With spectacular panoramic views over Loch Awe,
this tiny village is in a stunning but very remote location, which I hope will inspire them.
What I love about you two is neither of you have really asked me why I've brought you to a field.
Well, actually, we were just about to. We wondered.
I might not have asked you, but I'm thinking it.
OK. Well, this is a two-acre plot of land.
In front of me, you can see two cottages.
Currently, two three-bedroomed cottages with living room, kitchen, bathroom.
And you've got a little forest area there.
So the potential here is massive.
You can knock that property down if you wanted a bigger one,
-and you could actually build double the size.
OK. And where would we live?
Well, you'd live there as well, and then you would develop that into your artists' retreat.
Is it too much to take on?
I think we're a bit far out here
to develop what we would want here. To demolish that, to rebuild it?
I don't know if it's too big a project.
I love the area, I'm just thinking about the size of a project.
-It is a massive project to take on.
-It is, but...
-could we do it?
-I'm not sure, because it's not
something that I've thought about before, so you have me thinking now.
So you are willing to do a little bit of work, then?
No, I'm willing to do a lot of work,
but this is from the ground up.
Right, yeah. I reckon, if you took on this project, she'd go from being standby to being full-time again.
"How are you getting on, darling? Is the first floor finished?"
"Oh, yeah, I'm just by the pool in Miami. Oh, weather's terrible.
-"Anyway, you carry on. Lovely."
-"It's turned into a ten-day trip."
-I'll tell you what, I think you should go and have a look around, and I'll come and find you.
This should be interesting.
As they stand, the two cottages are perfectly serviceable, offering up
very similar living spaces and could be run as a holiday-let business
with sitting rooms that look out over the surrounding mountains.
There's also a kitchen in each, a bathroom,
-and three bedrooms, two large enough to be double rooms, and a single room.
-What do you think?
Yeah, look at the views. I'm just looking out the windows, really.
It's a great spot, it's a fantastic spot, absolutely idyllic.
It's a blank canvas, you know?
You've got to think if you completely stripped this and just went up the way.
-I think developing out there may be a huge task.
Now they've had a chance to consider their options, let's rendezvous with the chickens
in the woods and see if it's a development opportunity too far.
This is fantastic, look at this.
-You wanted to look after chickens.
-Yeah, I did.
YOU wanted to look after chickens.
Myself and Molly want to look after chickens. This is great, look at them.
-Something you've got to do in the country, isn't it?
-I think this little forest area is lovely as well.
It's nice shading, isn't it?
Is it too big a project for you, do you think?
-I think it may well be for you. I don't see you...
-I just said no, did you see my lips saying no?
-You said no.
I wouldn't write it off.
-I think it's something that we haven't thought about,
so we'd need to, really...
It would all hinge on whether you could get planning permission and where we could go from there.
And also you have the design element to take in as well, that's exciting.
-You could create whatever you wanted.
-We haven't talked money, of course.
We've been so bad at this.
-You have been pretty bad, I have to say.
Well, be good now.
I'm going to say offers in the region of 160.
-I think it's more, I think it's about 350 for the whole thing.
You're closer to the mark. It's 340.
-There you go.
-You seem really surprised.
I think we're going to have to really think about this one.
I mean, at that kind of money,
this location and the potential...
I mean, as it stands, we would need to do an awful lot here.
Don't say no straight away. Don't chicken out of the project.
I'm here all day!
What I think you should do is go away, have a long conversation, not
just about this property, but how do the others compare now as well.
You've got three very, very different properties to think about, and I think we should
sit down over a drink later on, somewhere nice, nice with a view.
I can promise you that. Come on, let's go.
Priced at £340,000, that's a whopping £160,000 under budget.
Our mystery proposition gives them the chance to be real free-thinkers
with their business venture, offering them two existing three-bedroom cottages,
which they could rebuild and in doing so double the footprint.
All in all, an outstandingly beautiful location by the shores
of Loch Awe, so an idyllic holiday bolthole for their potential guests.
Now our house tours are over, there's a lot for Raymond and Leah to think about.
I'm in Knapdale Forest, and back in the 16th century this was home to the European beaver.
It's been extinct around here for over 400 years,
but I'm on my way to meet a man, Simon Milne, whose mission it is to bring the beaver back to Argyll.
I really hope I get to see one.
27 other countries have reintroduced beavers, and although
it's sparked some controversy here, the Government has granted a licence
for the Scottish Wildlife Trust to carry out a five-year trial introduction of the beaver.
Ecologically, we need to restore processes back into the environment.
Nature can't work in a box, we're missing various key species, and the beaver is one of those.
Although there's perhaps a moral obligation to bring back species that are being wiped out,
we also need to look at those animals which have a profound impact on maintaining
wildlife and the habitats as we would like them, and the beavers
are essentially natural habitat creators and maintainers.
They create wetlands, they create coppiced woods and make sure that that variety of the countryside
that's so important for different animals and different species, it's there for them to live and thrive.
So it's to the benefit of a lot of other wildlife, not just the beavers.
In medieval times, beavers were hunted for their fur, meat
and for medicinal purposes, producing a secretion
rich in salicylic acid from their diet of willow, which is now known as a forerunner of aspirin.
Simon is taking me to a site in the forest where these industrious creatures have clearly been at work.
And this is the dam.
What, this is a dam they have created?
Probably the first beaver dam to be created in the wild in the United Kingdom for 400 years.
-How long would it have taken a family of beavers to create that?
-They've been working on that
for the best part of nine months, I suppose, but the bulk of that work
has been done in the space of three or four months.
Beavers build dams primarily for security,
because the entrances to the lodges are underwater, and they like to maintain a steady depth of water,
and they don't like water which goes up and down in depths,
because it exposes them or indeed could flood their lodges.
So what we believe triggers dam building is the sound of running water.
Beavers don't like running water. Because it's moist and quite warm here,
the regeneration happens very quickly.
We're seeing where they've cut trees, the growth is coming back up again,
and that's what we want, we want trees at different stages of maturity.
-Could we go to an area where you think they're living?
-We can certainly go and have a look.
I wouldn't put any money on seeing one, who knows, but we'll certainly have a go.
Since releasing three beaver families a year ago, Simon and his team
are successfully monitoring the activity of two of them, although they tend to be rather elusive.
(What is the longest time you have ever waited to see one?)
-(Three or four hours and then still not seen one.
-(So it's not definite that we'll see one.
-It's not, you can be lucky.)
Well, all that waiting was not in vain, as eventually we struck gold and got a brief sighting.
If all goes to plan and the beavers here successfully breed,
the hope is that colonies can be reintroduced elsewhere in Scotland.
Leah and Raymond are positive people, which always makes it an easier house hunt.
They've seen the potential in three very different properties.
We now need to find out how much effort they're willing to put in.
Do they really want a blank canvas to work with? Let's find out.
Well, I have to say, it doesn't get much more idyllic than this, does it?
-No, it doesn't.
-This is perfect.
-I can see why you want to live here.
Let's start with the property down by the loch.
Out of all the properties we've seen, I think that had the most potential in terms of the layout.
It was almost ready-made, wasn't it, for our requirements?
I liked the internal, I liked the view down the loch.
I think for the venture, I think for the business plan,
I think we might have struggled to attract people to come to there.
Although it was stunning and it was a lovely house, I don't think it had that kind of rural appeal.
-OK. Well, let's move on, then.
How do you fancy owning a castle?
-That was stunning. That really was.
-That was a wow.
Yeah, that was a real surprise. The walled gardens,
just the whole set up there, it was just totally unexpected.
It's what you would dream of owning,
but thinking that you would never be able to afford something like that.
That's what you were like, the both of you, when you were walking round.
Again, what that place had, that needed a bit more work to it, but you could see it.
A lot more work to be done, but your imagination could really run wild.
I think that property, there's something very special about it.
You're talking as if you want to own it.
Yeah, well, I do. It's convincing Raymond.
What's panicking you, the work that needs to be done?
I think the kitchen area and living area for us as a family to work in,
that was a bit small, so we'd really need to look at building out from the side,
and maybe the barn, converting that into a studio space.
I think that's really what we were talking about.
Dare I ask, then, if that's too much work for you, then obviously
-the mystery property is going to be a no-no.
-Well, I wouldn't say that.
I think there's a lot of homework to be done on the mystery property.
It was completely...thrown at us.
I don't think we were prepared for that.
No. Well, I mean, as I said before, what it did do was really...
open up our minds to the fact that maybe we should consider looking at plots and building.
Location-wise, I thought it was perfect.
Oh, beautiful location. Is there one property that you
think you'd be willing to put an offer in on, or...?
I think the castle. We'd definitely like to go back and have another look.
The third mystery house I would like to look into further. We'd need to check out the planning.
Purely because of the location.
But the castle, definitely, and do you know what you have done for us?
We've discovered a part of Argyll that we didn't know before.
-It's amazing, isn't it?
Well, good luck being shown around the castle. It will be like this a little bit.
I think so.
Well, I really hope that you do find what you're looking for here, because if any couple deserved it,
you do, and it's been really good fun as well.
Well, we've loved every minute of it. Thank you.
Leah and Raymond's sunny outlook on life will, I'm sure, stand them in
good stead when they're looking for their ideal home, and they really have chosen the right area.
Argyll is a beautiful region,
it has everything you could want from country living.
It has the great mountain ranges,
the stunning loch views and spectacular houses.
Tell you what, if I was an artist, I'd like to retreat here.
Until next time, goodbye.
Well if you'd like to escape to the country in Scotland, Wales,
Northern Ireland or England and need our help, please apply online at -
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]