CLOSING DATE SET – NOON on TUESDAY 5th NOVEMBER 2019
Lot 4 of 5 Hill of Towanreef (About 1,053 acres)
The Hill of Towanreef from which the lot takes its name, lies towards the eastern end of the ground, with its summit at 432m (1,440 feet) above sea level. The second summit Peddies Hill lies at the western end.
From a land use perspective, the hill was traditionally managed as a grouse moor. The ordnance survey map shows the position of the historic butt lines but in recent memory, the hill has been managed on a low key basis to provide
Whilst there are no recent game records, the Barlas familys game books show that bags of up to 20 brace of grouse for teams of 4 to 6 guns were consistently achieved on the hill at Craig Estate during the 1980s and 1990s.
Whilst the current population of grouse on this hill is not sufficient to support any shooting, a programme of renewed management would provide the opportunity for grouse shooting in future. There are actively managed grouse moors adjoining the estate and others in the area which demonstrate that grouse populations can respond well to improved habitat management.
In addition, there are both red and roe deer on the hill providing the opportunity for stalking. From an agricultural perspective, there has been no grazing of the hill for a number of years. Traditionally, the hill was grazed by a hefted flock of Scottish Blackface sheep but following the retirement of a farm tenant, many years ago, the sheep were taken off the hill and have not been replaced.
As classified by the James Hutton Institute, the land varies from grade 4.1 on the road side edge,
to grade 6.1 on the hill saddle with a relatively large area of grade 5.2 land also included.
Whilst there are remnant vehicular tracks through the hill, there is no principal hill road. With over a
mile of roadside access, vehicular access can be created (with the appropriate consent). Access is also provided via the track following the eastern boundary through Tamduff. This track leads to a former gravel quarry which can provide useful materials for the existing tracks and any potential new roads in future.
In terms of environmental designations, the entirety of this lot is subject to a Special Area of
Conservation (SAC) and Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), on account of its alpine and sub-alpine heaths, blanket bog, dry heaths and grasslands on soils which are rich in heavy metals. This enables the preservation of fragile ecosystems
but restricts the potential for alternative land uses such as commercial forestry establishment.
At the northwestern edge of this lot, adjoining the public road on the north side is a copse of deciduous woodland providing shelter to small stone and slate bothy called Innesbrae. Originally built as a Shepherds dwelling, the bothy has been used in recent times as a picnic place and lunch hut. The building has two rooms and no formal services.
Craig Castle Estate enjoys a spectacular setting in the foothills of the Grampian Mountains on the Highland fringe of Aberdeenshire. Situated a short distance to the north of Strathdon on the road to The Cabrach an area sparsely populated and within the top thirty most remote zones of mainland Scotland Craig Castle Estate is secluded yet accessible, being 40 miles from Aberdeen, the Granite City and oil capital of Europe.
The closest village to the estate is, by a margin, Lumsden which is 3 miles south, with the village of Rhynie lying 3½ miles to the north. The combination of these villages provides convenient local services including primary schooling, a petrol station, village shop and post office. Further afield and equidistant from Craig Castle are the larger village of Alford, home of Aberdeen Angus cattle, and the town of Huntly, situated at the edge of the popular Speyside whisky trail. These settlements provide secondary schooling, and a wider range of public services, amenities and transport links.
The nearest railway station is in Huntly (12 miles) which runs services both north to Inverness and south to Aberdeen and beyond. The closest airport with both domestic and international flights is at Aberdeen (33 miles) which can be reached in about 50 minutes by car under normal traffic conditions.
Comprehensive services are available in the city of Aberdeen which provides a range of administrative, retail, recreational, educational and cultural facilities. Private education in Aberdeen
includes Albyn School, Robert Gordons College and St Margarets School for Girls. In addition, the
well-known Gordonstoun School near Elgin is 40 miles to the north.
Aberdeenshire offers a wealth of activities, including fishing, sporting, whisky tasting, golf, winter sports, walking, climbing and cycling.
The River Dee is one of Scotlands big four salmon rivers with picturesque and productive fishing
for salmon and sea trout. It is available to rent on either a weekly and/or daily basis on the majority of beats throughout the rivers course. Nearer to home, the River Don is also a well-established salmon river but is more celebrated for the quality of its wild brown trout fishing which is amongst the best and most productive in the UK.
In addition, the River Deveron is also known for its salmon and sea trout fishing. It rises a short distance away in The Cabrach and flows into the Moray Firth at Banff.
There are a number of renowned golf courses on the North Sea coast at Royal Aberdeen, Cruden Bay and the Trump International Golf Links. More locally, there are enjoyable courses at Huntly and Dufftown.
For winter sports enthusiasts, the Lecht Ski Centre is situated 28 miles west, Glenshee slightly further at 51 miles distant and Cairngorm Mountain Ski centre is 57 miles away.
The Cairngorm Mountains lie to the west and provide climbing, walking and cycling opportunities amongst some of the most spectacular terrain in the British Isles.
For many, the Grampian foothills of Aberdeenshire and Moray are synonymous with Whisky and Malt Whisky in particular. The area surrounding Craig Castle is home to historic and famous distilleries, coopers, bottlers and retailers contributing to an industry which is said to be worth about £5.5 billion to the Scottish economy according to an April 2019 report by the Scotch Whisky Association. The Malt Whisky Trail is a collaboration of distilleries offering enthusiasts
the opportunity to visit nine local distilleries in order to meet those who play key roles in this
multinational industry. It is popular with tourists and adds significantly to the variety of activities available within striking range of the estate.