A HISTORIC lighthouse hotel near Stranraer has been snapped up by a couple from Norfolk, who will be making a 400 mile move to Scotland for their dream home.
Helen Mason and photographer fiance John Harris fell in love with the Corsewall Lighthouse Hotel on the Galloway coast some eight years ago on a visit to Scotland.
When the property recently appeared on the market, the couple put £400,000 of their life savings towards purchasing the iconic property.
Built in 1815 by Robert Louis Stevenson’s engineer grandfather, the Corsewall Lighthouse is set on the serene northern coast of the Rhinns of Galloway and has operated for decades as a boutique hotel.
The Corsewall Lighthouse has also featured as a dramatic backdrop in various TV series and films, such as The Vanishing.
Helen, 60, said: “We came up here and stayed in a friend’s bothy about eight years ago, saw the area and fell in love with it. We almost forgot about it but once Covid hit, we decided that the time was right for us to make a change.
“When we saw the hotel was for sale, we realised it could be the ideal opportunity. It’s perfect for John’s photography and builds on my love of working with people and interest in food and hospitality. After spending a week there in the summer we were sure this is what we wanted.”
Professional photographer John, 62, called the historic site “a hidden gem”:
“We’ve got some of the oldest rock formations in the UK, dating back to when Scotland was connected to Newfoundland in Canada, and the rocks are particular to the Scottish coast.
“During World War II, the lighthouse was blackened with soot to hide it from German bombers. But the Luftwaffe accidentally bombed it anyway, mistaking it for key military targets across the Irish Sea in Belfast.
“There are four resident deer, seals, porpoises and a sea otter has been seen swimming around the lighthouse. It’s a photographer’s dream.”
The property offers five self-contained holiday cottages and also allows for small parties of up to 25 guests as a licensed wedding venue.
Despite the economic pressures of the pandemic, Helen is hopeful that the hotel’s planned reopening will be a success.
“We have put a strong business plan in place and believe that, once restrictions ease, there will be more people looking for UK-based holidays and we have the perfect place for them to come and stay.”
Such plans include updating the property to make it a destination for tourists and ‘staycationers’ looking to holiday in the UK after lockdown.
In addition to keeping on the hotel’s five members of staff, including head chef Andrew Downie, the couple hope to be able to employ more seasonal staff for the warmer months.
Helen and John were aided in buying their dream property after securing a loan with award-winning specialist loan and finance provider Together.
Regional development director for Scotland at Together, Steven Clark, said:
“The lighthouse hotel is a Grade A-listed building with a fascinating history in a beautiful, remote area of coastal Scotland.
“After hearing Helen and John’s plans for its future, we were delighted that we were able to provide the finance they needed, helping them follow their ambitions and complete their dream move.”