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We've heard the song You Take The High Road
And I'll Take The Low Road, but where does it lead?
Well, the answer is to this very stretch of water.
But what's it called and where am I?
Find out in a moment as we escape to the country.
In today's show I'll be helping a couple
find a country retreat to call home after 25 years on the move.
But they're keeping their cards close to their chest.
Interesting good, interest bad or interesting other?
And the mystery house throws even more confusion into the mix.
It's not what we were expecting, you know, really. You've thrown us.
Today I'm in Scotland in the county of Argyll & Bute
and, of course, I'm enjoying views
of the bonny, bonny banks of Loch Lomond,
where, according to the song, me and my true love will never meet again.
As forlorn as I might be at such a prospect,
I can see why it might be quite hard to find her,
because at 24 miles in length,
this is the longest stretch of inland water
in the whole of Great Britain.
Argyll & Bute is Scotland's second largest county,
spread over 2,600 square miles,
with some of the most wild and magnificent coastline
found anywhere in the UK.
Despite its size, the county has the third sparsest population
of the 32 Scottish local authorities
but still attracts around two million visitors a year,
drawn to Loch Lomond, Trossachs National Park
and lochside towns such as Inveraray and Rothesay.
With over 95% of the county's population
living within six miles of the coast,
the county is awash with waterside properties,
with imposing Victorian villas a running theme.
The average price of a property here in Scotland is around £156,000.
Here in Argyll, it's around £10,000 cheaper,
meaning your budget should stretch just that little bit further,
especially when you compare it to places like Perthshire,
where the average house will set you back around £177,000.
Here in Scotland, the way you way you buy and sell property
is slightly different to the rest of the UK.
Once you've found your dream Scottish home,
it's not you that places the offer but the solicitor,
and only once they're satisfied
you've either got the money in the bank
or have a mortgage offer in place.
So if you're thinking of escaping to Scotland
or, to be more precise, here to Argyll & Bute,
here's an example of some fantastic properties
currently on the market.
On the market for just shy of £370,000,
this handsome five-bedroom Victorian property in Garelochhead
offers up some generous room sizes,
with large windows also a theme upstairs in the bedrooms.
Or what about this detached villa in Kilcreggan for just under £500,000?
Its light, airy reception areas are complemented
by a modern kitchen diner,
and upstairs there are five good-sized bedrooms.
£695,000 could get you
this magnificent Edwardian turreted house by the shores of Loch Awe,
with a distinctly baronial feel throughout its reception rooms.
Along with four acres of grounds, the property enjoys some stunning views of Kilchurn Castle.
Some great properties there in a stunning part of the UK,
which is exactly why today's buyers want to move here.
So let's meet them.
Trisha, an interior designer, and Graham, an engineer,
have been splitting their time between their two flats,
one in Glasgow, which the couple are keeping,
and the other in Dubai, which they've decided to sell.
After 25 years of globetrotting for work,
Graham's retirement means a permanent return home to their roots, and not before time.
We've been travelling all over the world, living in different houses.
We just want to settle down in one place and make it feel like home
and enjoy our lives a wee bit together.
There are elements of their lifestyle they want to bring back to enjoy in Argyll.
One of the beauties of the Middle East, in some ways,
is it's an outdoor life, and we like the outdoor life.
We hope to pursue activities on the water,
whether it be fishing, boating...
Yeah, any of these, something active.
So what's on the wish list for their perfect property?
For me, the priorities would be
a nice little workshop or something outside, an outbuilding that I could develop.
I've always wanted to do something with an old car
or an old tractor that I could do something, along those lines.
So that would be one.
-You would like some land.
-Yeah, probably two, three acres.
You know, nothing vast.
I would certainly like it to be near the water
or sitting on the coastline,
so that I could have nice views out my windows, things like that.
With an eye for interior design,
Trisha has her sights set on a project.
No less than three bedrooms.
Preferably upstairs, downstairs.
Large windows, hopefully, but, again,
I could knock down walls and put some windows in.
And that's as far as it goes for Graham.
We don't necessarily want a shell where we have to start from scratch,
and we don't necessarily want to park a caravan alongside
and live in a caravan while the renovations are being carried out.
I wouldn't mind.
They've clearly got differing views on that front.
But how much do they have to spend on the move?
Our absolute top budget would be £500,000.
This could be interesting.
We've got Trish, who's after a project,
something she can put her very own definitive stamp on,
and Graham's after a house with land
and, if he gets his own way, potentially animals.
He's also after a maybe more easy retirement.
He's no idea that he might be putting a house together brick by brick
underneath Trish's watchful eye.
Let's hope they can find some middle ground.
Trisha and Graham want to be no more than a three-hour drive from Glasgow,
so we'll turn our gaze to lochside locations within that radius.
I'll be showing them three very different properties
but will only reveal the price once they've had a guess first.
And our mystery house comes with more than they could ever imagine.
-Good morning, Graham and Trish.
-What have you missed about Scotland?
-Looking out your window and seeing that.
Seeing water. That's what we want to see.
I think you're in a great position at the moment for property.
Traditionally, as you know, there's an "offers over" system for asking prices,
or sometimes a fixed price.
You'll find places settling for less than the offers over, or certainly around that.
So if we see something that we like,
you shouldn't have to pay much more than the asking price.
I've noticed that, cos usually in Scotland it's always asking over
and you can go sometimes 20, 30% over.
-So it's great now. You see a lot more fixed prices.
-It's supply and demand, essentially.
-It is, yeah.
But on the subject of price, we've got a fantastic budget, £500,000.
It sounds like location is the first thing to get right.
-I would think so.
-We've got some cracking locations lined up.
-Let's go and have a look at the first one, shall we?
With their budget of half a million pounds,
Graham and Trish are happy to remodel and redecorate,
but their Argyll property needs to give them:
..at least three bedrooms, two with en suite...
..and, critically, it must have views over water
and be located within a three-hour drive from Glasgow.
So, Graham, this smallholding, is it a big desire of yours?
It is, yeah. I'd quite like to have a bit of space.
OK. And, Trish, what are you like with animals?
-Are you thinking about a few cows, sheep?
Graham would want sheep, cows, pigs. Nope.
He can have a few hens and that's it, for the eggs in the morning.
-That doesn't sound much of a smallholding, really.
I quite like The Good Life idea.
While they iron out their differences,
we're making location our top priority
in kicking off the house search in Lochgoilhead,
just an hour and 20 minutes from Glasgow.
Sitting on the shores of Loch Goil, with the stunning backdrop of the National Park,
the village has a local shop and pub
both within walking distance of our first property.
-All right for you? Looks good?
-Excellent. Absolutely amazing.
Well, the whole house faces onto those views.
-What do you think of the house?
-All right, yeah.
Interesting good, interest bad or interesting other?
-What's going through your mind, Trish?
-What's your reservation? I feel there is one.
-OK. Let's see if we can't put some of these reservations aside
inside the house, yeah?
This property is totally in keeping with the local heritage,
the main body of the house dating back to 1753 and extended in 1840.
Let's hope it's not just the views that impress once we get inside.
Okey-doke, so the first room, a reception room.
-Look at that view there.
-Yeah, that's good.
Doesn't sound that amazing.
-Or are you taken aback by it all?
-Bit of both.
-It's a bit small for me.
-But, then, change of use.
We could just make it a nice reading room and have these lovely views.
Well, next door could open up options for Trisha.
OK, so I reckon a pretty good size kitchen here.
-Very good size.
It is, you know, your farmhouse kitchen. It's what it was built for.
You've got the range there.
That takes care of your heating and hot water.
What you've got here already is a good size room.
Now, how do you feel about the room we've just seen?
-If you were to knock through...
-It's a big job.
You'd have to comply with building regs.
You would lose some cupboard space,
but you might be able to put it elsewhere.
A big, big room with those fantastic views.
Yeah, that would be very good.
Cos I want to try and bring the views into all my rooms.
Got a window at the back there, windows along the side and front.
-It would be such a real heart of the home, wouldn't it?
-It would, yeah.
Off the hallway, there's also a useful porch,
currently put to good use as a library,
which leads through to a downstairs bathroom.
But what do they think of the other reception rooms?
You can already see a door through there
with an equally sized reception room.
-Currently an office. It's not huge open-plan living here.
You've got two definite reception rooms, if you like.
But if you've already made those changes in the kitchen,
-could you cope with maybe just a sitting room?
-A sitting room, yeah.
-Can you put in, like, French doors?
Everything you try and do, certainly to the exterior of this property,
you have to run past the local authority and whoever controls the National Park.
If you were to change the appearance of this,
I would suggest you need some consent.
French doors essentially are still windows going out to the front of a property,
so if you do it within character, you never know, there are things you can do.
I want to be able to bring in the outside. I know I keep saying this.
If I was in here, I want to be able to walk out to it.
I don't want to have to go out to front doors, back doors.
-I think you're right, Trish. You've got flawless views.
Why wouldn't you want to bring them in to this lovely home?
That's something to think about and research we'd have to take on.
-So if you could make those changes,
-would that make you feel different about this room?
After the modern, open-plan living they're used to in Dubai,
they seem to be finding it tricky to adjust to traditional rooms.
As we'll see upstairs, there is plenty of space on offer
in the four bedrooms.
Now, then, clearly a double bedroom. At the moment, a guest bedroom.
That's great. Good size, actually. Excellent size for a guest bedroom.
Behind here is a shower room. But a bedroom with some stunning views.
-You wouldn't get rid of your guests.
-No, it's great.
-That ticks the boxes.
The other three bedrooms include a smaller double and a long single room with built-in cupboards.
But let's see what they make of where they would sleep.
This is the master bedroom.
Another good size room. Excellent size room.
This isn't en suite, so you need to start thinking about is it suitable?
The bedrooms I'm not as worried about, if you know what I mean.
-The living area is more important to me.
-You spend more time there.
Yeah, although en suite is one of the key factors in the bedrooms.
-Well, for us. I don't care about the...
-Stuff them. Yes, OK.
They're starting to see how they could remodel aspects of this house
and I'm sensing more positive vibes.
Outside in the courtyard are some attractive outbuildings, complete with a wood store and workshop.
Although a public footpath to the pub runs past the front of the property,
the side is very secluded.
Trish will be pleased to hear there's no room for animals in the landscaped gardens,
but there is space for Graham to grow vegetables
and maybe keep some chickens, so he gets a bit of The Good Life,
but at what cost?
How much do you think this is on the market for?
I'm not overly familiar with the property market because I've been away so long,
but I would suspect around 480 to 500.
I'd say 425.
It's on the market for offers in excess of £450,000.
You were closer.
Go and have a look at the outbuildings. Have a look at the opportunities there.
You might see the fact that you could potentially let them out.
Have another look round the whole of the house. I'll catch you in a bit.
Comfortably under budget,
this traditional property gives Trisha scope
to put her interior design skills to good use
and offers them:
...two large enough to add en suites...
It's also close enough to Glasgow
for trips to see the family.
What I liked about the house when I first came in was that it wasn't as small as I thought it was.
Sizewise definitely, up the stairs, four bedrooms,
all very good sizes.
I was surprised how enclosed it was.
A lot of different houses, neighbours,
a bit closer than we'd anticipated.
But the gardens, everything, are quite stunning in some ways.
The views are spectacular. We couldn't ask for anything better.
But there would be quite a bit of work involved to get it exactly how we would like it.
-So did you see enough to get your interior design juices going?
-Onto the next one.
Argyll has some of the most breathtaking scenery Scotland has to offer
and is also home to 25 inhabited islands,
more than any other Scottish local authority.
The Isle of Bute is just a five-minute ferry ride from the mainland
where its principal town of Rothesay
became a popular coastal resort during the Victorian era,
on account of its proximity to Glasgow.
Set back from the promenade,
the ruins of Rothesay's 800-year-old castle
have withstood centuries of conflict.
Earlier in the week, we arranged for Graham and Trisha to meet Councillor Len Scoullar
to find out more about this historic gem,
now a scheduled ancient monument.
The castle has, in its history, been invaded by many people,
Norwegians, the English army.
The Cromwellians, in fact, took up residence here.
And the castle actually was allowed to fall into ruin
after the civil wars
for a period of about 200 years.
The third Marquess of Bute,
who was a very enthusiastic man about architecture,
decided he would restore it.
And with 70 men he employed,
a great deal of restoration work was done in the building.
And by 1900, he had restored all of the entrance that we came in,
the entrance gateway, and part of the castle up here
which you can see has been done in red stone
to differentiate it from the original castle.
For such a small island, its landscape is hugely diverse.
On the western shore, Scalpsie Bay is a wildlife haven,
home to a protected colony of around 200 grey and common seals.
Local ranger Billy Shields knows all about why they choose to bask
in this spectacular setting.
The seals come down to Scalpsie for two or three reasons.
One is it's a good feeding area for them.
They've got plenty of fish out in the sea,
crustaceans round about the rocks.
Also they're pretty well protected in here.
They can get onto the great big rocks.
They just enjoy it and they're left alone.
There's no fishermen or anglers that come down to fish this area,
so they're pretty well left and not disturbed that way.
-Are they territorial? Are seals territorial?
-Yes, they do.
It's the same ones that will come back and stay round about this area.
And I suppose if there's any incomers,
maybe coming over from Ireland or something like that, then they will see them off.
-All right, OK. Invaders.
At only 15 miles long by four miles across,
the Isle of Bute certainly has a rich natural and historic heritage
that goes far beyond its modest size.
We continue our house search near the village of Rosneath,
just over an hour's drive from Glasgow.
Set on the shores of the Gare Loch
and looking out towards the Firth of Clyde,
it's a small community of under a thousand people, with a local church
and the nearby romantic ruins of its 18th-century predecessor.
A five-minute drive away is our second property,
where I hope the mix of modern style and remote lochside setting
will hit the mark.
-You wanted waterside views. Gare Loch, just there.
-It's tidal, apparently.
Now, you've got loads of land. You've got so much land.
-You've got 2.3 acres.
Now, who here wants to have a tractor?
-You do, yeah.
-There's not just one barn. There's three barns there.
Those barns also have something very, very special, which is outline planning consent
to build your own dwelling there.
-A separate dwelling to this house.
-Something I've always wanted to do.
-We can focus on that part, I think.
-That's my dream.
Well, whilst you're waiting for one dream to be built,
I'm hoping this will be pretty close to your existing dream.
-What do we think?
-Beautiful. Very well maintained.
Well, the promise of so much outside has gone down well,
and I don't think Trisha will be disappointed by the views from these windows.
You wanted floor-to-ceiling windows. You've got wall-to-wall windows.
A brilliant window. Fantastic.
There's a reason why that window is here and it's this reason.
-Look at that.
-Oh, my goodness. That is fantastic.
-It's a picture, isn't it?
So that's this room, but next door we've got a few options, actually.
-A good size room, isn't it, for a dining room?
-No, it is, yeah, very good size.
You've got a kitchen the other side of that wall.
That window used to be a doorway.
You seem to like contemporary living and open plan.
So you could open that back up to be a doorway
or make it slightly wider and have a big kitchen
into a dining room into a big living room.
I think that's what I would do. I'd take the wall away.
Definitely open that up.
'Let's check out what they would be knocking through into.'
So this kitchen is about four years old, according to the owner.
-Yeah, good size.
-Now, that's the doorway.
-Maybe opened up a little bit more.
Just seeing what I could do with the wall.
Well, look, if you're going to have open plan here,
maybe you stick these cupboards on that side of the kitchen.
Got a store cupboard there as well.
But just through that doorway, you've got a conservatory.
So an extra room as well, maybe a reading room.
At the moment, you could move straight in here and be pretty happy.
-More than functional.
Well, it doesn't end there, guys.
A large downstairs bathroom services the three bedrooms on this floor,
the smallest of which is set up as a study,
along with two lovely light double rooms
which both take in those fantastic views.
With five bedrooms in total, the larger two are upstairs.
-It's a nice, bright landing area here.
-Yeah, lovely. Nice and big.
Behind that door is a shower room with a loo,
easily big enough to have a bath in there as well,
which would serve this as maybe your master bedroom.
-Yeah, definitely. Yeah.
-Nice and bright. Good views.
-Yeah, excellent views.
Twin aspect, so views on both sides here.
Behind this here, you've got a walk-in wardrobe.
My idea would be to potentially put a door in that side of the walk-in wardrobe
to go straight into the bathroom and then seal that door off.
Great. Yeah, I like that idea.
-This is then totally your suite.
They're making the right noises so far.
Let's see if the next room fires up their imagination.
So just a little bit of an add-on room here.
Wow! My goodness.
Can I just check it for my pool table?
-This is a good boys' room, this.
-This is a good gym for me.
-Nice little bar, a few friends round.
-No, good gym for me.
-I'll let you have the wee snooker table in that corner.
-You're so kind.
It's great that they're really trying to see
how this house could work for them.
And outside, as well as the barns, over two acres of land
would give Graham ample space to keep a few animals.
'Let's survey all that could be theirs and have a think about the price tag.'
What a fantastic spot to see all of your land, and look at that view.
What's your ideas on value,
or how much do you think it's on the market for?
I'm going to go for 510.
I would suspect 460, 470.
This house was originally on the market for offers above 495.
The vendor now says they're looking for offers in the region of 475.
-What do you think now?
I'd like to investigate the options for the barns.
-That's obviously very important.
Go and have a look at the barns.
There's lots to see but even more to think about.
-That's for sure, yeah.
-I'll catch you in a bit.
-Good. Thank you.
this modern property not only gives Trisha her large windows
but also delivers on so many other levels.
This gives them:
And bags of potential outside, with three purpose-built sheds
and outline planning consent to build a property from scratch.
Wrapped up in over two acres for Graham's smallholding.
And lest we forget, a gorgeous rural lochside setting
within easy reach of Glasgow.
My first impressions were sort of "Wow".
I liked it, and the location is just near-perfect.
The thing I like most about the house is when I walked into this one,
there was definitely a feeling of space.
It just opened up to you, and living room into dining room
and then, as we were talking earlier,
potentially developing into the kitchen,
opening that up with the rest.
More modern, more contemporary, like what I like.
You could move in, you could move in tomorrow,
and we could work on a plan here.
-It's incredible to have something like this.
-It is. It's just...
There's going to be big opportunity here, I think, that we can...
-We could get a couple of houses in this one. Keep us busy.
-Aye, good project.
-Yeah, very much so.
-Lots to think about, isn't there?
-Come on, then.
As the sun sets over the Scottish countryside,
it marks the end of the first day of our property search.
Armed with a budget of £500,000,
Trish and Graham want to give up on apartment living in Dubai
and, with a permanent move back to Scottish soil,
enjoy the spoils of the Argyll countryside.
They seem to like the modern style and potential of our second property.
But coming up, our mystery house is an enormous proposition.
Oh! It's not fair.
And I dip into one of the area's cooler outdoor sports.
So yesterday I showed Trish and Graham two properties
which were, I think it's fair to say, pretty much poles apart.
The first house gave them the character they're after,
but the second house, the modern house,
was much more their thing, I think.
They liked the big windows allowing all that light
into those quite spacious rooms.
In my opinion, I think that just heads the race at the moment.
But today, another glorious day, it's time to see the mystery house.
And with this property, we're delivering a project for Trish
which may also make a farmer out of Graham.
It's close to Crinan, where a 200-year-old canal
provides a stunning nine-mile shortcut through from Loch Fyne
for well over 2,000 boats a year.
Our mystery house sits on a prime spot overlooking the canal and the marina.
It'll be interesting to see what they think of it, as it's a far cry from modern.
Mystery house is here, the left-hand side of the old schoolhouse.
Its 200 years old. It's Grade B listed.
What do you think of it?
-What are you giggling at?
-I don't think it's what we expected.
That's being honest. I think it's way different.
The house is way different. Location, probably the best yet.
Along with a thumbs up for the setting,
Graham will be pleased with the barn they get,
which is ripe for development and the perfect home for the tractor that he wants.
But let's tackle the main house, which is laid out over four floors.
This lower level consists of a cellar store and a huge utility room space,
with an adjoining pantry.
As our mystery property is listed,
they're not able to knock down walls or open up windows,
so here's hoping the living areas up on the next level
measure up to their expectations.
Now, then, this is kind of the ground floor,
kind of raised ground floor,
because we've come up the stairs from the front door,
yet you walk straight out onto the back garden.
-What do you think of this kitchen?
-Looks good, yeah.
I'm not going to let you off the hook here this easy.
You've both gone very quiet.
Are you saying all the positives but not mentioning the negatives?
Be honest. This a mystery house. It's always going to be hit or miss.
I don't see that there's that many negatives,
from what we've seen so far.
-Need to see the rest of the place to sort of make my mind up.
'Perhaps Trisha will open up a bit more
'when she sees the main living area.'
-Not a bad size room.
-No, it's good.
-Good size room.
Double-aspect window makes a difference to the light.
Trish, what's going through your mind? What's holding you back?
Nothing's holding me back. I like old houses.
We've had Victorian houses before that we've done up ourselves.
So I like all styles of houses.
I just have to get my head round what this one is, really.
-Getting a feel for it.
-Get the whole thing together.
This is a good size room, there's no doubt about it.
-You'd put your own touch into it anyway.
On this level there's also a family bathroom.
And upstairs on the third floor there's decorative work
for Trish to get stuck into in the four spacious double rooms,
one currently fitted out as a twin, with another set up as a study.
There's also a good size shower room.
But I'm going for a change of use on the current master.
Now, I'm thinking as a guest bedroom...
-Yeah, it's fine.
-It's pretty good.
-Wake up in that bed, first thing you see is that amazing view.
I still think we need a bigger bedroom, and thankfully this house gives you one.
-We go up one more floor.
'Hopefully, my master plan will whet Trisha's creative appetite.'
-This is big, isn't it?
-It is, yeah. This is big.
This used to be three rooms.
-The bathroom is there.
-There, uh-huh, yeah.
That's where your plumbing is.
My thoughts are stick a bathroom this far end, en suite.
All of that is a huge master bedroom.
That's a great size room.
Does this change your perceptions of the house so far?
Yeah, it gives it more potential.
There's a lot to take in, that's what it is. It's slightly overwhelming.
We don't wish to appear negative.
It's just there is a lot
and it's not what we were expecting, really.
You've thrown us.
Initially, I was worried that you were thinking not great thoughts.
But now I look at you, I know there's a lot going on in there.
You're trying to work things out, how you would have the rooms and what you would change.
There's definitely things to think about.
Trying to get round their head around the house is just the tip of the iceberg.
Wait until I throw them the mystery curve ball
that lies beyond the immediate terraced gardens.
So, outside, just up from the house, you can see the garden.
-What do you think of the garden?
-Two acres you're after?
-It's smaller than what we'd imagined.
-Well, imagine having 38 acres.
-'Cos that's what this place comes with.
All right? Now, I'll explain to you what we've got.
-We've got the land going up at the back.
-All the way up this road. This road's yours, this track.
-See those conifers?
-For goodness' sake.
The foot of those conifers is your boundary.
All the way across there, down.
Now, it's not just woodland. There's some rough grazing there.
At the moment, on this land,
there are ten highland cattle and 20 sheep.
-They don't come with the property.
-But it goes to show that there is the ability to have animals...
-The works, if you so desire.
If that's daunting to you, local farmers and land-holders
would snap your hands off to farm that land on your behalf,
-or at least some of it.
Armed with that knowledge, how much do you think it's worth?
I would pitch in... The land, you threw me.
-I had a price in mind.
-So did I.
But probably, I don't know,
about 430, 430...
-Stick with that.
-It was a long answer, wasn't it?
-It was. Sorry.
OK, all right. Trish?
-You haven't had mine yet.
-Have I got to answer?
Oh! It's not fair.
-If anything, just try and give a shorter answer.
-I would go...
-I'd go for 450.
450. Well, Trish, well done. You're closer.
The asking price is offers above £499,000.
On speaking to the vendor, they're expecting to settle
-around the £500,000 mark.
So, go back inside the house, have a look around,
and have a look at the land as well.
-I'll catch you in a bit.
-OK. Thanks a lot.
On budget, the potential of our historic mystery house
really seems to have got under their skin.
It offers them:
Four bedrooms with the scope for a top-floor master,
a barn ripe for renovating,
and close to 40 acres of land,
which could be let out to a local farmer,
or Graham could have it as the smallholding
beyond his wildest dreams.
All of this set by the spectacular Loch Crinan,
just over a two-hour drive from Glasgow.
The mystery house I found amazing.
It was quite interesting to see it for the first time.
Not at all what I expected.
There's a lot of space available to modify.
It just didn't appear to be that small.
I kept going on about my house must have big, huge windows,
with the view outside that must come in.
And I thought why am I not wanting that more in this house?
Why is this house...? I don't know.
I can't even answer that, why that didn't bother me.
There was definitely something about the house.
And as you went through it, it started to grow on you.
When the land was thrown in
as the surprise element at the end,
the real surprise element,
it just sort of knocked me back a bit, to be honest.
It's just incredible.
It puts a completely different picture on things, really.
-A lot more to think about.
You've always wanted something like this. You'd love this.
-It would be ideal, yeah, yeah.
-We could have our own little estate here.
-I thought you'd got lost up in that land.
-Yeah, we did.
-Lots to think about.
We'll find somewhere quiet for you to get your heads together and have a chat after that.
The Argyll landscape is awash with the most stunning lochs and rivers,
so you're never far away from a chance to take to the water.
'I've donned a wetsuit to try out one particular sport
'that's making a comeback, open water swimming,
'or, to give it its cooler name, wild swimming.
'I'm meeting outdoor swimming enthusiast Lorna MacGregor,
'by the shores of Loch Leathen,
'who's going to help me take the plunge.'
I woke up this morning, Lorna, and it was a beautiful day.
Then I thought about wild swimming and it suddenly looked very cold.
So how long has it been more organised, would you say?
I think in the last three or four years, really. it's just taken off,
I think perhaps driven by the triathlon sort of sport, people got into it through that,
and the development of wetsuits which make it a lot more accessible to most people.
Now, where will we be swimming to and from?
We're gonna swim from the shore, just over there, out towards that island, which is a crannog.
That's a long way. Are we swimming alone or have we got friends along?
-There's a good crowd of us here today.
-Any lifesavers among you?
-I heard you're a doctor, aren't you?
-Yeah, that's right.
-Do you know CPR, all that stuff?
-Lead the way.
'When open water swimming, it's best to wear a wetsuit
'to avoid hypothermia.
'Always swim with others in an area you know it's legal to do so,
'and watch out for strong currents.'
How does this water compare heatwise to how it normally is?
It's colder. This has been literally where you could put your feet down
and it would warm, almost like a bath.
-I don't believe you.
-It can be amazing.
-What's the coldest it can get?
-Oh, probably about four.
-It can freeze over.
What's the coldest you've swum in, Iona?
Coldest I've swum in would be four degrees
down in London at Tooting Bec Lido.
Beautiful lochs, surrounded by amazing countryside,
we're talking about Tooting Bec Lido. Amazing!
Wild swimming was championed by the literary figures
Wordsworth and Coleridge.
Defying the prudery of the day,
bathing outdoors was a common Victorian pursuit.
This translated into the open-air lidos popular in the 1930s
and the precursor to the modern-day swimming pool.
However, in the 1990s, environmentalist Roger Deakin
kicked back against the indoor chlorinated waters in his book Waterlog,
which spawned a whole host of recently published books,
so that now there are over 50 organised groups just like this
around the UK.
Well, I've got to say, I'm pretty sold on the idea of wild swimming.
It combines two of my favourite things,
exercise and the great outdoors,
and getting closer to what's beautiful around us,
like this stunning countryside.
Our house hunt is now at an end.
Although our properties have served up lots of different options,
can Graham and Trisha agree on which house suits them both?
-Looks like you've found yourselves a nice spot.
-Had a good chinwag?
-We have, yes.
-Yeah, long time.
-Lots to talk about.
-So let's start at the beginning.
Property number one, period. How do you feel about it now?
-I think we've kind of scored that one off.
-We've sort of taken that one off the list.
-For what reasons?
-It wasn't isolated enough, really, for what we had in mind.
-But nice house.
-The view and the lochside was great.
-It was a pretty good start, wasn't it?
-Yeah, very good.
Definitely, it was a good start. Made you think when you saw it.
That's when I first got an idea of what your style might be like.
When you went inside that house,
you exhibited what you would like the house to be like once inside,
knocking walls through, and out of that came the real desire
to have light, open, airy rooms,
which were delivered in the form of property number two.
-That was definitely a wow.
I think it was just so immaculate and beautifully looked after
that you just couldn't help but like it, actually.
Nice grounds, nice setting.
You could see yourself living there in some ways.
-You know what you haven't mentioned.
-We're leaving that.
Yeah. Again, the barn was... It's an exciting prospect.
There's something that could be done there.
We'd view that if we were to go ahead
as more a sort of short, medium-term project,
finish it and move on type thing.
-And we're not sure again if that's what we want to do.
We want to have a more settled lifestyle
after being a bit nomadic for the last few years.
-All right, then, the mystery house, today.
You didn't fall in love with it from the start,
but it seemed to grow on you.
It definitely did grow on us.
I think our reaction was just a surprised reaction.
I wouldn't read too much into that.
Some people might give you the sort of wow and the high fives,
but a silence from us is probably we're thinking,
there's something going on here.
And I think that's what happened. That came out as we went through.
It delivered. It delivered these things, yeah.
Have you got a favourite out of any of the three?
-Surprisingly enough, I would say number three.
-The mystery house, yeah.
I felt that I could go out and enjoy the outside.
I was getting my views outside.
I know I always say I want a view in the window and I want this and that,
but I just felt I could get outside.
I just had a feeling of going outside all the time. I did, anyway.
For me, the outdoor part was always important.
There's lots to do with that amount of ground
and, you know, the canal and everything in front of it.
We could see ourselves living there quite easy.
-With lots of things to do.
Keeping ourselves occupied.
-Hopefully something will come of that.
This is just down the road.
-This could be one of your local walking spots.
-Could see you with a boat on this bit.
-Great news. Good luck.
-Excellent. Thanks for everything.
Thanks for your help.
Well, I was fairly taken aback when Graham and Trish told me
their favourite was the mystery property,
especially when you bear in mind their wonderful reactions to the second house I showed them.
But, then, if you compare the mystery house
with what they asked for,
it gave them loads of land, 38 acres.
They asked for a minimum of three bedrooms. I think it gave them five in total.
They wanted a project, and they had the barn next door.
And it gave them some wonderful waterside views.
Now, like any property of that period,
they need to do some serious homework,
probably need a survey not only on the land but on the building itself.
And like me, I'm sure you'll be wishing them the very best of luck.
See you next time.
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