THE world’s most northerly palm tree is up for sale – and it comes with a beautiful and historic five bedroom shooting lodge.
Scourie Lodge, Sutherland, has a rich history of famous visitors, including the Queen Mother, Peter Pan author JM Barrie and Prime Minister William Gladstone.
But the property – 250 miles and six hours north of Glasgow – has probably its most impressive feature in the garden.
A 20ft palm tree stands strong in the face of regular gales, driving rain and temperatures that recently dropped as low as minus 12 Centigrade recently.
The palm, which is commonly found in the tropics, is still thriving after 162 years at 58 degrees north, compared with Moscow at 55.
Scourie Lodge, Lairg, described as a “handsome traditional Scottish laird’s house”, was originally built in 1835 by the Duke of Sutherland for his wife.
In 1851 the lodge gardener had one of his relatives – then living in New Zealand – send him seeds from a native “Cabbage” palm tree.
It is said that the seeds took six months to make the mammoth trip to lodge on Scotland’s most northerly tip. The tree took well to its location in the walled garden.
Palm trees are found elsewhere on the west coast but the Scourie palm is accepted as the most northerly on the planet.
Fiona Inches – glasshouse and quarantine manager at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh – said: “It is possible for a Cordyline australis – New Zealand Cabbage Palm – to survive on the west coast even that far north. The Gulf stream is a wonderful thing.
“The plant at Scourie is in the walled garden which is close to the sea and this would help protect it from the worst of the weather.
“They are remarkable robust plants and have big reserves underground, so it is quite possible that any hard winters they have received may have killed the top off but they could regrow from the base which the gardener had protected – we have had this happen in Edinburgh.”
Set just back from the rocky, sprawling Sutherland coastline in a sheltered bay, the £545,000 price tag of Scourie Lodge will get you five bedrooms, three reception rooms and six bathrooms.
It also comes with four acres of land, a coach house and a summer house.
The property was originally managed for the Sutherland family by Evander MacIver – a local taxman who had a terrible reputation among locals for his part in the Highland clearances.
During his reign as manager the lodge was frequently used for then Prime Minister William Gladstone for his holidays.
But since since MacIver’s death in 1903 the home has enjoyed further celebrity visits from the Queen Mother and JM Barrie – author of Peter Pan.
In the 1970s is was bought up by a Swiss businessman – who extensively renovated and repaired the run-down lodge.
Since then it has been converted used as a a four-star bed and breakfast retreat for those looking to get a slice of luxury in one of the nation’s best beauty spots.
Suzanne Moss – who is managing the sale of the property for Strutt and Parker – said: “Scourie Lodge is the ideal property for those looking to enjoy and appreciate the stunning scenery that the Highlands has to offer whether as a sizeable family home or guest house.”