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Unique Property Bulletin 29 November 2015

This Edition’s Unique Property Feature:-

How? What?

Where Eagles Dare Castle

In An Oblique Way, This Is A Unique Home

Film Location: Where Eagles Dare – In Fiction Castle Schloss Adler

We know that each edition of Unique Property Bulletin has a good tranche of properties for sale or lease. Plus our new social media presence which have many properties for sale in addition to those featured in the 3-weekly Bulletin… 

Unique Property Bulletin Facebook Newsfeed (Click Here)


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Notwithstanding the actual buildings that we feature, there may, for example, be a couple of elements that are the Cinderella of this Bulletin. The how and the what? This edition we aim to remedy that a little. By recounting an anecdotal journey. One that may hold some interest for those seeking a way of life that is essentially different from the ordinary. Not just in the style of unusual property and locations, but the important issue of a vocation.

Where Eagles Dare By Alastair MacLean

Where Eagles Dare: Book By Alistair MacLean. The Film Starred Richard Burton

& That Scary Cable Car To Castle Schloss Adler

What has this book and the resultant Holywood film got to do with you and unique property?

You’ll need to read our feature-article to join in with that journey

Whatever financial your position, whether seeking a new way to earn a living, or to stave of the lethal boredom of some forms of retirement, there has seldom been a better time to explore the range of vocational options available. Primarily because of where we are now in relation to the internet and web-based business that can be run virtually anywhere on the planet.

This Bulletin’s feature-article has an account of an accidental visit to the home of an iconic author. A modest writer who ended up with book sales exceeding 30,000,000 at a time when there was no Kindle or social media to help a publication go ‘viral’. Old school writing and publication. At his peak, he was the best-selling author in the world. His name? Alistair MacLean. Many of his books have also been translated into Holywood films. Also in this Bulletin we have a twist in the tail in the vein of an Alistair MacLean adventure. For that you’ll need to read the main article…

The full feature can be read – at the foot of this page.


=== Regular Bulletin Listings Now Follow ===

Cop Shop For Cash?

Police House & Office, 2 Prince Charles Avenue, Bowburn, Durham, County Durham, DH6 5DL
Dixon of Durham

Former Police House & Station, Prince Charles Avenue, County Durham

This old bill house and station is at a very tempting price. Ideal for many of our readers who are looking to move into a place where they can live and work from. Instead of an hour travelling between home and work each day, try a 30-second-commute. Also for folk working from or near home it is good to keep some separation between these two parts of life. Whilst having the bonus of a reasonably professional situation should folk need to meet you at your place of work. If they get a bit rowdy, pop ’em in the cells. Though this small plod place doesn’t have formal or what is known as a “legal” places of custody. Still it presents as an interesting home. May also be an legitimate excuse to buy one of these iconic blur boxes to plant in your front garden…

Tardis BBC

Tardis NOT Included- But Would Be A Good Excuse To Buy One

Location: Former Police House & Station, 2 Prince Charles Avenue, Bowburn, Durham, County Durham, DH6 5DL

Guide: £40,000 – Tardis not included

Further Details: Click Here

Archived Details For Future Reference: Click Here

Google 3D Map: Click Here

Contact: 0844 2 722444

Please can readers mention to external estate agents that they found the place for sale in Unique Property Bulletin. This helps us more than you may imagine.


Silo Building Sale

Interesting Plans Afoot

The Old Silo, Mount Wellington Mine, Truro, Cornwall, TR4 8RJ

Conversion Project: The Old Silo, Mount Wellington Mine, Truro, Cornwall

A big thankyou to one of our eagle eyed readers who emailed us with this interesting development project so that we could share it with others who follow the Unique Property Bulletin.

The old silo project is intended to become a new home or offices by converting one of the UK’s largest reinforced ore silo’s. A clever adaptation uses an industrial building that was completed in 1975 – with a short lifespan – being decommissioned in 1978, after which it has remained unused. It is reinforced with steel so that it could contain around 2,000 tons of metal ores, mostly tin and copper.

There are fine views over Cornwall’s idyllic countryside with the contrasting brutality of the retention of some of the original concrete silo walls. The beauty of working with a circular building is that it is visually dynamic – the surfaces and fixtures carry one’s eye continuously around any room, and the 360 degree views beyond. Providing approximately 580 m2 (around 6,200 sq feet) of accommodation together with parking for ten cars, there is another acre of serviced brownfield development land available on the adjacent plot, by separate negotiation.

Location: The Old Silo, Mount Wellington Mine, Truro, Cornwall, TR4 8RJ

Guide: £350,000

Further Details: Click Here

Archived Details For Future Reference: Click Here

Contact: 01702 870878

Please can readers mention to external estate agents that they found the place for sale in Unique Property Bulletin. This helps us keep the Bulletin free for all online to read.


Library Life To Coffee Shop Culture

Library, The Old Vicarage, Bilton Lane, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, HG1 3DT Photo Peter Wilson

Former Bilton Library, The Old Vicarage, Bilton Lane, Harrogate, North Yorkshire

Photo Courtesy of Peter Wilson

For some time we have yearned for one of these former libraries as a project. Too many other adventures just now, but maybe this is food for thought for a reader of the Bulletin out there somewhere. Especially given the nature of this edition’s accent on authorship and writing for a living.

The principle we would advocate for this building is to keep the core function of a library. But to add an internet cafe and coffee shop into the mix. Plus convert the upstairs to residential use (subject to planning permission). It was previously a vicarage so residential change-of-use must stand a good chance – click here. This handsome Grade II listed detached property certainly has enough room with around 2,800 square feet to play with.

Library, The Old Vicarage, Bilton Lane, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, HG1 3DT Int

Harrogate Adventure – The Old Library Interior

This would give someone, possibly a couple, a new home and workplace. We cannot guarantee it would work, but when we completed a similar project, transforming an old derelict pub and restoring it to meaningful use the results were very positive. Giving up the booze part and changing the beverage to coffee. Plus food, with an internet cafe included, we were shocked at how well the thing took off. Created 9 new jobs such was the popularity of the new place.

Click Here To Study The Bulletin Adventure With A Coffee Shop Conversion

That was from a ruinous old pub. This library is far from that. The Harrogate book reservoir is a decent building to start with, and in the scheme of things a fair amount of property for the money. Plus the potential for employment and the nice part – meeting interesting people each day. This library is also set in a nice leafy part of town – click here for a 360 degree wander around on Google Streetview. If this building and project captures your imagination, please let us know how you get on? Click Here.

Location: Former Bilton Library, The Old Vicarage, Bilton Lane, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, HG1 3DT

Guide: £250,000

Further Details: Click Here

Archived Details For Future Reference: Click Here

Contact Roy Pugh Auctions Tel: 0844 2 722444.

Please can readers mention to external estate agents that they found the place for sale in Unique Property Bulletin. This helps us keep this publication free for all readers.



Chapel Auction + Planning Permission

Guide £63,000

Chapel 2

Our Lady of the Valley Church, Darvel, East Ayrshire

Cavernous Interior: Your Architectural Canvas

A very nice opportunity to acquire this former church which has full planning permission for conversion to a 5 bedroom residence.

Location: Our Lady of the Valley Church, West Donington Street, Darvel, East Ayrshire, KA17 0AP.

Date: For Sale By AUCTION

Guide: £63,000

Auction Catalogue: Click Here

Dedicated Bulletin Page: Click Here


At The End of The Rainbow?

Unique Property Pot of Gold

Holiday For A Week At Christmas £550 – or New Year £550

Toward - End-of-The-Rainbow-Holiday - Russ McLean

Holiday Property Nestling Behind The Lighthouse At The Foot of The Rainbow

Photo (c) Russ McLean

Click Here For Further Details of A Seasonal Holiday Break


Mission In Maidstone Possible?

St Lukes Centre, 33 Foley Street, Maidstone, Kent. ME14 5BD
St Luke’s Centre, 33 Foley Street, Maidstone, Kent

This is a fine looking building. It seems a shame to consider reviving the lapsed planning permission to demolish and replace with a terrace of six dwellings. The existing structure is interesting. It also has a nice plot of ground of around .2 of an acre. The building is recorded as being built around 1887 as a Mission Church. Though the most recent use has been as a builder’s yard and offices. A quick 360 degree scope of the area via Streetview gives an idea of the what and where: click here.

Location: St Luke’s Centre, 33 Foley Street, Maidstone, Kent. ME14 5BD

Guide: £320,000

Further Details: Click Here

Archived Details For Future Reference: Click Here

Contact Clive Emson Auctioneers Tel: 01622 608400 – John Stockey or Ben Snellin.

Please can readers mention to external estate agents and auctioneers that they found the place for sale in Unique Property Bulletin. This helps us keep this publication free for all readers.



Unique Property With Ferry Views

Lighthouse Homes Starting From £80,000

Cantick Head Views By Brian

One of The Views From Cantick Head Lighthouse Cottages

A splendid place for peaceful inspiration – just watch the ships sale by. The former lighthouse keepers’ cottages can be bought – via Unique Property Bulletin – at prices starting from £80,000

Click Here For Further Details


Lincolnshire Watermill Home

Aswardby Watermill, Sausthorpe, Lincolnshire, PE23 4LB

Aswardby Watermill, Sausthorpe, Lincolnshire

This is a substantial home, converted from a watermill and set in attractive grounds of approximately 3.07 acres. There are five bedrooms – three with en suite facilities. Three reception rooms. Contemporary fitted kitchen. Self contained ‘granny’ annexe. Sun deck. Utility room. Fantastic views over the river Lymn and the mill pool. Double garage and large workshop/store.

Aswardby Watermill, Original Feature

Internal Display Features At Aswardby Watermill

Plus some charming internal features dating from the original mill use.

Location: Aswardby Watermill, Sausthorpe, Lincolnshire, PE23 4LB

Guide: £935,000

Further Details: Click Here

Archived Details For Future Reference: Click Here

Contact Kemp & Co., Tel: 01790 754888.

Please can readers mention to external estate agents that they found the place for sale in Unique Property Bulletin. This helps us keep this publication free for all readers.



Octagonal Home In Bristol

The Octagon At Bristol General Photo Dr Duncan Pepper

The Octagon, The General, Guinea Street, Bristol

Photograph Courtesy of Dr Duncan Pepper

An unusually shaped 3 bedroom duplex apartment within the octagonal tower of this historic, former hospital building. Positioned on the first floor with the open plan living space within the tower, offering 5 original sash windows which take in the glorious views of the Bathurst Basin and Bristol city beyond. There are 2 bedrooms on the lower floor along with the shower room whilst the superb master suite is positioned on the upper floor.

The General

The Octagon, The General, Guinea Street, Bristol

The floorplan gives an idea of this unusual property’s layout (please do not scale – for guidance only).

Location: The Octagon, The General, Guinea Street, Bristol, BS1 6SX

Guide: £810,000

Further Details: Click Here

Archived Details For Future Reference: Click Here

Contact Savills Tel: 0117 9100 354 – Vicky Dudbridge. 

Please can readers mention to external estate agents that they found the place for sale in Unique Property Bulletin. This helps us keep this publication free for all readers.


 Boat Home & Human Home

Treehouse Boathouse, Ropes Hill Dyke, Horning, Norwich NR12 8JS

Treehouse Boathouse, Ropes Hill Dyke, Horning, Norwich

Agency narrative: A contemporary waterside home with integral wet boathouse and quay-headed mooring. The exceptional location in a backwater off the main River Bure adds to the appeal of this very special home which was designed and built in 2005 to the highest, uncompromising standards by a highly regarded local architect and built by Wroxham Builders.

Treehouse Boathouse, Ropes Hill Dyke, Horning, Norwich NR12 8JS View

Waterside Views Abound

Yes the price tag is handsome, but this has to be the top of the list for anyone who loves messing about in boats, or loves a waterside home. I mean just look at the ‘garage’. To be clear, the boat isn’t included, but what a wonderful place for a man-cave, or lady-den to be PC about this.

Treehouse Boathouse, Ropes Hill Dyke, Horning, Norwich NR12 8JS In Garage

Sorry Boat Not Included – But What A ‘Garage’ To Play With

Treehouse is an ideal riverside home with impressive accommodation on the first floor and a boathouse with a 36′ x 17’6 wet dock as well as a 36′ external mooring. There are four bedrooms, two en-suite, a double height reception room with balcony and a spacious kitchen/breakfast room which opens to the front balcony.

Location: Treehouse Boathouse, Ropes Hill Dyke, Horning, Norwich NR12 8JS

Guide: £775,000

Further Details: Click Here

Archived Details For Future Reference: Click Here

Contact Arnold Keys Agency Tel: 01603 782053.

Please can readers mention to external estate agents that they found the place for sale in Unique Property Bulletin. This helps us keep this publication free for all readers.


Stanley Park – A Stroud Saga

Cotswold Conundrum

Stanley Park, Selsley, Stroud, Gloucestershire GL5 5LE

Stanley Park, Selsley, Stroud, Gloucestershire

We first listed this amazing property located in the picturesque Cotswolds on 15th July 2012 when it was guided at £650,000. Just goes to show that the old Unique Property Bulletin Archive site can be of some use for seeing how past properties come back up for sale.

Since then, Sanley Park appeared on an estate agency website marked as “under offer” and a revised tag of £595,000 (click here). The owner up until the trail went cold was Cretra Investments Ltd. However a short while ago they appeared to have been liquidated (click here). The odd thing is that when you research in a little more depth, the debenture/debt secured was a minuscule £500 (five hundred pounds). Simple to confirm (click here). Readers who have experience in property matters will understand what this means.

Stanley Park, Selsley, Stroud, Gloucestershire GL5 5LE 6

Stanley Park, Selsley, Stroud, Gloucestershire

Photo Courtesy of ASandP

In essence the company was NOT insolvent in the technical sense. As the solemn declaration states: click here.

If you haven’t already seen the new Companies House Beta system – which is now totally free – it is well worth trying it out. This Stanley Park property is one such case to study. Looking at the 2013 accounts the Fixed Asset is valued at £153,466. Checking the company accounts back to 2010 the Fixed Asset is valued at £146,783. There is a reasonable (though not infallible) deduction that this refers to the manor house (the slight uplift in asset on the books due to revaluation of the property for accountancy purposes). Of course you need to be a forensic accountant to probe some of these documents, and many don’t allow too much to be read into this. Even so it can give an instinctive feel for how things go behind the scenes, and is useful in informing your views on a project such as this.

However, this does give an interesting financial backdrop to this magnificent manor house. The next stage would be to either check HM Land Registry to discover the amount paid for this property in the recent past, or if it is being sold by a charge-holder (unlikely given the £500 mortgage and solemn declaration of solvency). For further tips on property research etc., you might find the Unique Property Manual helpful click here.

Stanley Park, Selsley, Stroud, Gloucestershire GL5 5LE 5

Interiof Character Awaiting Redevelopment: Stanley Park, Gloucestershire

This digression is to illustrate to any reader not yet utilising HM Land Registry and Companies House online facilities that they can be valuable in ascertaining values of property. Which in turn can help you negotiate a better deal. Especially for something as big as this building and when there is a question mark on the why and when – indeed the if – of previous sales given the place is now up for auction.

The question is that with four numbers: £650,000 sought in 2012; £595,000 asked for more recently, and a book value apparently at £153,466; then an auction guide of £750,000 – what will the actual auction sale price be?

If your interest is piqued, please let us know how you get on? This is an amazing building and looks to be in need of some t.l.c., to restore it to former glory.

Auction Summary:

Extending to Approximately 1,580 sq m (17,000 sq ft).

Planning Permission and Listed Building Consent for Alterations to provide Eight Apartments.

Occupying a Site extending to Approximately 0.853 Hectares (2.108 Acres).

Car Parking and Gardens.

Potential for Alternative Uses subject to obtaining all necessary consents.

Location: Stanley Park, Selsley, Stroud, Gloucestershire GL5 5LF

Auction Guide: £750,000Auction Date: 17th December 2015

Further Details: Click Here. Then navigate Allsop’s website to locate Lot 184 (sorry we couldn’t give a direct one-click weblink. You’ll need to ask Allsops why they make that so difficult for us to help introduce folk interested in buying).

PDF Details: Click Here

Contact Allsop’s Auction Tel: 020 7494 3686. 

Please can readers mention to external agents/auctioneers that they found the place for sale in Unique Property Bulletin. This helps us keep this publication free for all readers.



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Click Here For Email Alert’s For Each New Unique Property Bulletin

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Unique Property Competition

For November & December 2015, the Unique Property Bulletin competition prize is a modest £20 note:-

Twenty Pound Note Prize

Please Name This Unique Building & The Location…

UPB Competition Nov Dec 2015

The winner is the first drawn from our Competition Box at close of competition on 31st October 2015 – or more likely somewhat groggily on 1st or 2nd January 2016!

We are hoping to encourage the property sleuthing abilities each and every reader has with this edition’s competition. Best wishes and good luck from the Unique Property Bulletin Team

Email free entries to Unique Property Bulletin:-

Click Here For Competition Entry Contact Page


Architecturally Unique

Please note, each edition we feature the work of a unique architect. These properties are usually NOT currently for sale, but are included to help inspire readers as to the talent that abounds when a good architect’s mind meets the imagination of a unique property person, and something that little bit special is created by the synergy.


Perry Pear Orchard, Barton On The Heath, Moreton In Marsh, Gloucestershire 2

Artist’s Impression: Perry Pear Orchard, Gloucestershire. By Seymour-Smith Architects 

 Our Top & Commended Architect For This Unique Property Bulletin Are:


Seymour-Smith Architects: Official Website

This edition commended architects are husband and wife team Chris and Helen Seymour and their Seymour-Smith architect firm.

Perry Pear Orchard, Barton On The Heath, Moreton In Marsh, Gloucestershire MAIN

Artist’s Impression: Perry Pear Orchard, Gloucestershire. By Seymour-Smith Architects 

We are not overly keen when an estate agent titles a sales detail with the term “Grand Design” when the property being sold has NOT actually featured on the Grand Designs television series. Often this is clumsy click-bait by those describing their property in terms of the eponymous television programme.

However, exceptions to this do exist. Strutt & Parker are quite legitimate to invoke this popular programme, as the architects, Seymour-Smith have indeed been the author of an actual Grand Design project – Underhill House (click here).

So for this new addition to the Seymour-Smith architectural CV at Perry Pear Orchard, here is a firm of architects with the provenance to design in the Kevin McCloud Grand Design genre.

Location: Perry Pear Orchard, Barton On The Heath, Moreton In Marsh, Gloucestershire, GL56 0PJ

Guide: £950,000

Further Details: Click Here

Archived Details For Future Reference: Click Here

Contact Strutt & Parker Tel: 01608 650 502 – David Henderson.

Please can readers mention to external estate agents that they found the place for sale in Unique Property Bulletin. This helps us keep this publication free for all readers.


Try Before You Buy

The property included within the try-before-you-buy section of the Unique Property Bulletin – is NOT for sale. Our endeavour is to provide a sample, and actual experience of what it would be like to live in any particular genre of unusual abode. This specific listing is for a short-stay break. Our offering for this edition:-

Boathouse Break

Dragonwood Boathouse, Oakham, Rutland

Dragonwood Boathouse, Oakham, Rutland

This picturesque property in a serene setting is available for holidays. Set in eight acres of its own private grounds within a magnificent country estate, just outside Oakham in Rutland.

Photo Selection: Click Here

Location: Dragonwood Boathouse, Oakham, Rutland

Guide: Starting from £510 per week – Click Here – then scroll down the page for more information.

Further Details: Click Here

Archived Details For Future Reference: Click Here

Contact Unique Home Stays Tel: 01637 881183.

Please can readers mention to external estate agents that they found the place for sale in Unique Property Bulletin. This helps us keep this publication free for all readers.



This Edition’s Unique Property Feature:-

How? What?

Hohenwerfen Castle Hotel

Where Eagles Dare Movie: Hohenwerfen Castle – Schloss Adler
How To Rustle Up A Castle Adventure – Read On

Within each edition of Unique Property Bulletin we make best efforts to cover a subject of interest to our readers. However, with such a diverse range of visitors to this website, it can be hit or miss. There are millionaires in London; architects in Devon; telecommuters in Cardiff; book writers in Bristol, television researchers in Manchester; IT specialists in Belfast; buy-to let investors in Suffolk; game designers in Dundee. Plus some very accomplished Bulletin visitors such as Olympic medalists and London’s Royal Opera Albert Hall composers. The Unique Property Bulletin readership is a genuinely interesting cross section of society.

You can see our dilemma. Hopefully, whatever your core interest, we can occasionally set the thought process going. For this edition we cover two elements of what we trust may be or interest and assistance to our readers. As the trusty accompaniment to this website – Unique Property Manual says on the cover: How To Find, Fund & Have Fun With Unique Property. We know the majority of content within the Bulletin seeks at locating an interesting building to call home. However it is important to follow up on what our Manual extols – the funding part. Not just creating/locating the capital to buy that unusual home, but the earning of a living whilst there. Even if you find yourself very well placed on the financial front, you may well go nuts without something to do. An interesting vocation may be light years away from what you do now. But you never know, a little lateral thought may give you a new horizon. So for this edition’s how and what elements Unique Property Bulletin founder Russ McLean recounts a gentle journey that had a deep and positive impact.

Duart Castle - Location Filming When Eight Bells Toll

Film Start Location: Castle Duart
How to rustle up another castle adventure – please keep reading

“It is strange how seemingly simple accidents of fate can change life’s direction. Several years ago I was returning from a trip to the northern archipelago of Orkney. A rare treat. Also, the north coast is a reasonably well kept secret. Orkney in the summer can and often is like the Mediterranean – a hot, sunny and warm climate. I have had sunstroke on there. Twice. Who would have thought it? A lot of it is to do with the proximity to the Arctic Circle. Days can be full of light and at midsummer it doesn’t really get dark at night. I digress.

North Ronaldsay Island Orkney

North Ronaldsay: One of 70 Orcadian Islands That Form The Archipelago

Having stayed a while with kind and hospitable friends on North Ronaldsay island I was not in a rush to dash home…

The lighthouse keeper at the North Ronaldsay Lighthouse, North Ronaldsay, Orkney. Picture Credit: P.Tomkins / VisitScotland /Scottish Viewpoint Tel: +44 (0) 131 622 7174 Fax: +44 (0) 131 622 7175 E-Mail : This photograph cannot be used without prior permission from Scottish Viewpoint.

North Ronaldsay Lighthouse

Photograph Courtesy of P. Tomkins

So I did not take the first ferry, but opted for the midday voyage to the mainland. An ultra trivial decision with an ultimately life-enhancing result. Once back on the mainland, I began the picturesque, though long drive south. After three hours and arriving in late afternoon at Inverness I looked for a hotel to stay in. There must have been a major event, perhaps a conference or something, because there were no rooms to be had. Leaving Inverness I continued driving south. After a few miles I spied a sign to a small guesthouse at Daviot. Could have blinked and missed it. Especially as the road to this place was directly off of the busy A9 and easily passed – click here to view Google 3D. In that split second I decided to try this place for an overnight stay…

Torguish House Holiday Accommodation: Click Here

Torguish House - Alastair MacLean Feature Picture 1

Torguish House

Fortunately there were rooms still available for renting. Indeed much more than that. For this was the former home of a favourite author, Alistair MacLean. Who he? I hear some folk ask. For many he is the consummate author. One who has had many of his books translated to films.

Does this seem familiar…

Guns of Navarone

The Guns of Navarone: Paperback Novel By Alistair MacLean

Even if the novel isn’t on your own bookshelf at home, perhaps you recognise the movie that came from this work…

Guns of Navarone Film

The Guns of Navarone: The Film

Starring Gregory Peck, Sir Anthony Quayle, Sir Stanley Baxter, David Niven, Anthony Quinn

This film was released in April 1961. It had cost $6,000,000 to make and returned over $28,900,000 at the box office. In those days that was a lot of money. All of this came from the mind of a modest man tapping away at an old manual typewriter! In fact he had borrowed the typewriter from a neighbour.

To go from that imagination and create multimillion pound blockbuster movies which entertains millions of people. Surely a talent worth studying?

For now, we return to Alistair MacLean’s former home at Daviot. The current owners of Torguish House are delightful and the stay a memorable one. They hadn’t overdone the Alistair MacLean connection, but had sufficient to acknowledge the relevance of the building to the writer and vice versa. It was a strange experience breakfasting in the kitchen and wondering what it was like back in the day when such a successful author was beginning his life there in that very room and house. On a personal level, I had grown up reading the page-turning blockbuster books by this man. So the interest in how that magic was distilled had been piqued.

To some readers, the name Alistair MacLean might not mean that much. To many the works he created, especially those transformed into Holywood movies will probably ring a bell: Literally.

Others books-to-movies will jog the memory by the music from the film score…

Click On The Picture Above To View The Video Excerpt

Many Will Know This Theme Tune & Film

This clip, posted as recently as 2007, has attracted 1,111,848 views. Not bad for an old film, from an even older book.

But the story of where it came from is worth studying

The interest in how Alistair MacLean had become so successful lasted for much longer than that first stay at Torguish House. If you have ever considered writing a book – and I believe that everyone has at least one book in them just waiting to be written – then there is a gem of a biography on the author Alistair MacLean. Written by Jack Webster:-

Alistair MacLean – Biography: Click Here

You may ask: Why read this? The answer? An old mantra – If you want to study a vocation in a way that may yield results, research someone who has managed to follow that path in an inspired way.

The direction I am going with this, for those reading these words, is if you have ever thought about writing as a career, then Jack Webster’s biography of Alistair MacLean may be a very good worked example to read. There is, of course a lot to becoming an author. By no means is such a vocation plain sailing. Hazards abound, and it takes a lot to do it well. But think on this: Alistair MacLean had an old manual typewriter and some sheets of paper as his tools. Plus one amazing imagination and incredible intellect.

Within a few years, he went from this…

Alistair MacLean, A Typewriter & Paper - Imagination

Minimalist Setting, But Rich In Imagination & Ability

Alistair MacLean with an old manual typewriter, some paper and a bare room.

… to becoming the best-selling author on the planet of his time. From a near-empty room and blank literary canvas came about the sales of 30,000,000 and many films derived from them. Readers and viewers were given much enjoyment from the fruit of these labours.

How might this be relevant to you? If your potential appetite of writing as a sustainable vocation is not whetted and crystalised in Mr MacLean’s thirty million book sales, perhaps a visit to first principles might give comfort to budding authors reading this. Quoting the excellent biography by Jack Webster:-

Alistair MacLean’s early success reads like a dream come true. The quiet-mannered school teacher. Son of the manse, won a £100 short-story competition. His talent was spotted and this led to the publication of MacLean’s first novel: HMS Ulysses in October 1955. By that Christmas it had sold over a quarter of a million copies. A second best seller, The Guns of Navarone, which was made into a major film, enabled MacLean to give up teaching and set him on the road to fame and fortune.

Source: Alistair MacLean – Biography

By Jack Webster

All of this may seem a long time ago, but two points. Firstly, Alistair MacLean only had an old typewriter and never knew what a wordprocessor was, let alone had the use of such a device. You have Kindle, Amazon, and the wonders of the internet. Plus access to amazing wordprocessor technology. Nowadays you only need to press the print button once everything sit well on the page. No typing and retyping manuscripts ad nauseam. Secondly, the literary quality from a good author stands the test of time. The fact that even today, Holywood is considering Alistair MacLean’s writing for the movies, and continued sales of his books (now on Kindle) illustrates the demand for such work is enduring. That is a wonder of the written word: Dickens, Shakespeare, Tolstoy, Proust, Twain, Orwell. Many lists exist: source

As for Mr MacLean, even if you haven’t heard of his books, you have probably seen some of the movies based on his novels – and it is a substantial body of work – just take a look at the list…

Where Eagles Dare

Ice Station Zebra

Bear Island

When Eight Bells Toll

Fear Is the Key

The Guns of Navarone

The Way to Dusty Death

Force 10 from Navarone

Night Watch

River of Death

The Hostage Tower

Golden Rendezvous

Breakheart Pass

Caravan to Vaccares

Puppet on a Chain

The Satan Bug

The Secret Ways

Source: Click Here.

Even today, films created from Alistair MacLean books are eminently watchable…

Please Click On The Picture Above To See The Video Excerpt

As Recently As 2007, Youtube Clip From Ice Station Zebra Has 205,080 Views

Ice Station Zebra Close Up

Back In The Day Ice Station Zebra Was A Star Studded Epic

These films are often a staple of Christmas television film scheduling.

So where does all of this leave us, and how is it relevant to Unique Property Bulletin readers?

Well Alistair MacLean was, without doubt, and incredibly successful author. The proof?  In 1997, ten years after Alistair MacLean passed away, it is reported that the royalties from his work were still accruing £150,000 a year (source: click here). Not a bad legacy – both literary and financial.  

I personally believe that writing is a talent that many reading this have laying dormant and untapped within. It is also a way for you to work from a distant setting. Often with the unique property you would like to live in, there is a remoteness from what might be described as a normal job in the city. Writing is one remedy for the issue that can block the chances of living away from the urban environment. Long-distance-working, or telecommuting as the modern vernacular now describes it. Even if you don’t need to work – and many of our readers have been financially fortunate enough to retire very early, some as early as their mid-thirties – writing is a vocation that can keep you sane. Trust me on that one.

Over the years of putting Unique Property Bulletin together, the weird and wonderful locations of buildings we feature have often meant it is difficult for the bulk of our readers to consider a remote or semi-rural life that can attach to a few of what we list, such as Knockaird Water Tower circa £15,000 click here, located in what can fairly be described as a remote place: click here. Now with broadband and the internet there are numerous ways to earn a crust and into the bargain keep yourself busy – no matter how distant from the madding crowd where you might want to live.

I’ve cited Alistair MacLean as one author. It is likely you will have your own favourite person. Or if you have a preferred film or television genre, then writer of the screenplay etc. I’d suggest that the study of authors is an important – and often very interesting and enjoyable component of finding out whether you would like to go on a similar path. Literally pick a biography of an author you like and start a little research exercise.

This evening I just watched a television interview with Diana Gabaldon.

Dr Gabaldon is a scientist and just wanted to try writing novels. I’ve yet to read her Outlander books, or watch the Outlander television series. However, after listening to this wonderful lady describe how she accidentally became an author, I am fairly looking forward to reading and watching what she has written. Not sure how many, or the chart position of Outlander, but as a quick check, the series often tops 800 views every day on Wikipedia Outlander page (click here for a rich source of data).

Even if you just spend a few hours reading about how your favourite author got where they did, that exercise is likely to prove illuminating.

Having journeyed through some of the how of unique property, we now arrive at the second part of this treatise – the what of unique property.

At the introduction to this Bulletin’s feature – aimed at bringing out the author in many of our readers as a possible vocation – we did mention a twist in the tail to this piece.

Throughout his life, Alistair MacLean was known as a son of the manse. Well I just discovered the very manse where this best-selling author was imbued with the formative elements of his wordcraft is now up for sale. The actual building…

Torguish House MAIN

Torguish House: Formerly The Manse At Daviot
Home of Author Alistair MacLean. Now A Small Hotel With 4 Holiday Cottages

So what makes a property unique? It isn’t just the appearance, but the history that is important as well. The small hotel where I stayed just south of Inverness may appear less than unique. It is often a question we ask before property is featured in the Unique Property Bulletin: is it unusual enough to be included? The what of this publication isn’t always the visually eccentric.

Scratching below the surface of this detached three storey building it reveals itself as the original Manse for nearby Daviot Church. When Alistair MacLean was growing up in the Manse with his brothers, they would walk up to the Church from their home. Nowadays the two buildings are separate. Not just in function and ownership, but by the major arterial A9 road that now runs between the two properties.

I would suggest that Torguish House – the old MacLean family Manse – is in many ways unique. Not just as a church manse, but on the basis that such a talented person’s formative years took place in this very building. Perhaps I am bias. All I do know is that whenever the opportunity arises, I stop of at Torguish – usually whilst travelling between the North and the South of the country. There is something utterly intangible, but absolutely beguiling about this place. You need to visit it to see if the place has a similar effect on you.

To top off this Unique Property Bulletin article, it now transpires that as of November/December 2015 Alistair MacLean’s old home – Torguish House – is for sale. The price of £750,000 includes the main building, plus 4 holiday cottages. There is, indeed a fair amount included in the deal. Maybe a candidate for…

Unique Property Syndicates

A separate Unique Property Syndicate – Torguish review follows after this article. 

As to the what of this feature – it isn’t always the eccentric or overly eye catching that can, or should be classed as unique. Sometimes it is the provenance of a building that holds an essential part of that individual structure that may capture your imagination. As for me, I am sold on this place. It would of course be nice to purchase Torguish House and the four holiday cottages. Indeed there is a way. We study a unique property syndicate further on in this Bulletin. But for now, it is enough to be able to visit and stay at the place. If you too choose to take a weekend away from it all and book into Torguish House (click here). Mind and take a good book to read. I can recommend one from a very good selection here.

Concluding this reverie, I hope it has provided some food for thought. It is, like much in the Unique Property Bulletin, a digression of thought – a small journey off of the beaten path. I trust from the words written above that the how and the what of your and our unique adventures has had a fair airing?”


Torguish House

Possible Syndicate Candidate

ONLY Via Unique Property Bulletin

 Torguish House - The Old Daviot Manse

Torguish House, Daviot, Inverness IV2 5XQ

PLEASE NOTE: This is a Unique Property Bulletin proposal. It would be our intention to purchase the WHOLE of Torguish House estate from the owners with one smooth conveyancing transaction. Of the previous 18 Unique Property Syndicates – where we have bought buildings – four have been hotels. It may be worth mentioning three hotels made a significant return, one broke-even and none made a loss.

We would propose something along the following lines. Assemble the constituent elements so that our syndicate solicitors are in the position to present £750,000 or thereabouts as a single offer to the owners of Torguish House. Thereafter constituent part ownership by syndicate members would initially be on a buy-to-let basis. Those Unique Property Bulletin readers wishing to partake in a Torguish House syndicate would be buying 100% outright one or more of the following:-

The Main House: £400,000
Holiday Cottage 1: £85,000
Holiday Cottage 2: £90,000
Holiday Cottage 3: £85,000
Holiday Cottage 4: £90,000

Total: £750,000


Click Here To Register For Torguish Syndicate Alerts

Torguish House Cottage Unique Property Syndicate

Holiday Cottages At Daviot: From £85,000 Click Here

Torguish House Cottage 2 Unique Property Syndicate

Holiday Cottages At Daviot: From £85,000 Click Here

It can be seen that by this approach the candidate property for a 19th Unique Property Syndicate becomes much more financially digestible. In essence, £400,000 for the main building is much more affordable than £750,000. Also, for many of our readers the prospect of a holiday cottage at £85,000 is very attractive.

We can even make things even easier on the pocket. For some time we have been looking to run a Hotel Room Ownership type syndicate. This is one of the reasons we have bought four hotels already. The fly in the ointment of our plan is that so far we have ended up reselling each hotel, usually at a significant profit. That is of course an option. But if we look at the hotel-room-ownership idea, it is 100% ownership (NOT timeshare) of an en-suite bedroom within a hotel. Providing a buy-to-let income and also holidays when the notion takes you. The approximate numbers for the Torguish House main building if we consider a hotel-room-ownership proposal and the £400,000 target for that part, are likely to be:-

Bedrooms 1 to 8 – £39,000 each
Manager’s Accommodation: £88,000


Torguish House A

Example of Bedroom
For Photographs of Other Bedrooms Please Email: Click Here

Torguish House First Floor - Unique Property Syndicate Candidate

Guide Layout of Bedrooms – Please Do Not Scale
For Photographs of Each Bedroom Please Email: Click Here

If you are curious about Torguish House as a Unique Property Syndicate please get in touch via our usual contact page Click Here


For this edition we reiterate the importance of the EXTRA UNIQUE PROPERTIES that we place onto the radar of our readers. In ADDITION to the regular Unique Property Bulletin, we recommend that readers dip into our newsfeeds on social media so as not to miss that possible dream property that may end up being life changing in a very positive way…

How Can You Get The Best From The Bulletin?

Answer: Add Social Media To You Reading Mix…

Twitter: Regular Additional Lots – Click Here

Facebook: Regular Additional Lots – Click Here



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