THE ultimate home for trainspotters is up for sale – a former station master’s house just a few feet away from a working railway line.
The front door of Loth Station opens on to the old platform and the tracks – used by eight trains a day – are a few feet beyond that.
The 1872 station master’s cottage plus the ticket office and waiting room were converted in the 1960s into a two-storey, two bedroom home.
Now the property, on the Wick-Inverness line and set amidst the scenic splendour of Sutherland, is up for sale for £150,000.
The current owner, Rowland Chamberlain, 68, has owned Loth station for 22 years.
He and wife Clare are selling up to move nearer her family in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Mr Chamberlain fell in love with the run-down cottage in 1994 whilst out on a country walk.
He spied a handwritten “For sale” sign on the gate and bought it for £30,000 just ten days later.
The antiques dealer was delighted, despite needing to renovate and not having electricity for the first six years he lived there.
He set up a shop in the adjacent waiting room, selling old railway memorabilia.
The cottage will be sold along with the waiting room, a hen house, timber outbuildings, and mature gardens. It also comes with documents chronicling its history.
The house also featured on BBC TV series Antiques Roadtrip in 2011.
Rather than using an estate agent, Mr Chamberlain has decided to sell the property himself, setting up a website and advertising in a railway magazine.
He said: “You see these places and fall in love with them. I never wanted to leave.
“It’s got a lot of atmosphere. It’s been wonderful. In the early days it was quite draughty and cold but it’s never been miserable.
“It’s very peaceful. We get deer here from time to time. There’s the beach on the other side. I’ve only ever been cut off snow by once, and that was for about a week.”
He added: “You get a feeling for the trains coming – the sound changes. They come by eight times a day.
“People jump because they are going quite fast. They go at 50 or 60 mph and they do go quite close to the window.”
Mr Chamberlain admitted he had learned a lot about trains from living there, and used to be a trainspotter in his youth.
He said: “I was a trainspotter down south in Burton on Trent at the end of the age of steam. I used to go and stand there in my anorak with my notebook.”
Original features include a cooking range from 1872 and a double door leading onto the platform.
The ticket office window and the original seat are also still in the waiting room.
Modern conveniences include satellite broadband and multifuel heating.
The house is five miles from the town of Brora on the east coast, and six miles from Helmsdale. It is just half a mile from the A9 trunk road leading to Inverness, 62 miles south, or Thurso, 46 miles north.
Clare, 63, said: “Essentially it’s a collector’s item. And what we need is a collector.”