Unique Property Bulletin 29 July 2012

Light At Last

Tod Head Lighthouse (c) 2012 Unique Property Bulletin

(Tower Building Only – Dwellings are NOT for sale)

This edition of the Unique Property Bulletin has been a long time coming. In some ways since 1983 when our first lighthouse was leased, and coincidentally the unique publication you are reading was started. As these iconic structures became automated, the lighthouse boards gently let the lighthouse keepers retire. Gradually the residential dwellings were sold off during the decades from the 1980’s as each tower became remotely controlled from the head offices of the Northern Lighthouse Board, Trinity House, and over the Irish sea to the Commissioner of Irish lights….




Very occasionally and certainly a rarity were the actual towers, such as Belle Tout/e came up for sale….

http://www.belletoute.co.uk/ (now sold)

For anyone who purchased our book, the Unique Property Manual they would have known many months ago that this genre (indeed any particular building style of an individual readers choice) was coming up for sale. That is a major aim of the book. To give our readers the heads-up.

So this week we have not one, not two, but several actual lighthouse towers come onto the market.

Our first offering is Tod Head Lighthouse Tower. This is a detached, almost perfect example of the iconic Northern Lighthouse structure of that ilk. Built by one of the famous family of lighthouse builders – David A Stevenson

The Board of Trade sanction to build a lighthouse and fog signal at Tod Head was given on 8 November 1894. The light was first exhibited on 20 December 1897 and the fog signal came into operation on 28 April 1898. Tod Head was automated in 1988.

In January 2005, the three General Lighthouse Authorities (GLAs) of the UK and Ireland issued a consultation document following a joint review of Aids to Navigation of the coasts of the United Kingdom and Ireland. The Review addressed the current and future requirements of national and international shipping and those of Mariners. Each Aid to Navigation – light, buoy or beacon – was studied in isolation, as well as in relation to the other Aids to Navigation in its vicinity. As a result of this review it was agreed to discontinue the light at Tod Head, which only served as a ‘waypoint’ rather than to mark a specific hazard.

Tod Head Light was therefore permanently discontinued with effect from 11 July 2007.

The lighthouse building is listed as being of Architectural/Historic interest.

It should be noted that the former lighthouse keepers’ dwellings at Tod Head are NOT currently for sale, NOR included in any sale to do with Tod Head Lighthouse Tower.

Estate agent narrative: Tod Head Lighthouse compound. Sale includes former Lighthouse Tower with adjoining single storey building / bothy. Potential for range of residential / leisure uses, subject to consents. Internal refurbishment required for residential uses (subject to Planning Permission). Approximate area 104 sq m (1,122 sq ft) Former Lighthouse Tower with adjoining single storey building and detached bothy.

Location – Estate Agent Gives: Tod Head Lighthouse approximately 8 miles south of Stonehaven Aberdeen AB39 2UF (conflicting postcode). SatNav Users Please Note, the official Local Authority address is Tod Head Lighthouse, Inverbervie, Montrose DD10 0YH.

Tenure: Feuhold (Scottish Freehold Equivalent).

Guide: Offers over £145,000.

Closing Date: 12 noon 14th September 2012.

Unique Property Syndicate: Click Here For Unique Property Syndicate Enquiries

Estate Agent Contact: DTZ Agencies Tel: 0131 222 4500 – Mr John Brown.

Online Brochure ….



Apologies to our readers who don’t have lighthouse towers at the top of their wish list. This edition needs to cover much lighthouse ground, not least, but our Unique Property Syndicate members have to have the appropriate detail and links as soon as practicable and our main Bulletin is the usual way to do this.

We promise to restore a broad spectrum of unusual properties, including a private island NEW to market in next week’s edition.


Special Strathy

Strathy Point – Lighthouse Tower Building Only (c) 2012 Russ McLean.

(Dwellings are NOT currently for sale)

Well special to us. The tower section is the only part of the lighthouse complex we didn’t own at Strathy Point.

For the avoidance of doubt, what is for sale now is the actual decommissioned lighthouse tower and related rooms as red lined on the draft title plan in the DTZ Agency details (online brochure below). As with Tod Head, the nearby former lighthouse keepers’ dwellings are NOT currently for sale. Though of course if they come up for sale we shall do our best to feature these in forthcoming Unique Property Bulletins’ online.

As you read this, it may all seem dryly academic. Something to spend a few mouse clicks on and then move to the next website. But if you scratch the surface, these are very real buildings. Indeed be careful. Many years ago we scratched the surface and ended up buying one! You are looking at the photo of it. Got into a lot of mischief at Strathy. Not one single regret. Actually there is one – we sold the lighthouse keeper’s house at Strathy Point. Should have kept it.

At that time there were other things going on, and a key element then was “telecommuting” hadn’t been fully developed. Now it is. So we will be looking to buy one of these types of houses at one of the lighthouse locations in the near future if at all possible. If you really would like a unique place to live, start scratching below the surface, and start scrathching now! You never know, we could end up neighbours.

As for the lighthouse tower at Strathy Point, this is currently beyond the physical abilities we have. Anyone who watches architect George Clarke’s Restoration Man Television Series or Kevin McCloud’s Grand Designs television programmes will appreciate that to convert such a building to residential use is a substantial undertaking. Most folk have a brilliant home at the end. Many say “never again”. To convert one of these buildings can be a huge undertaking, very worthwhile, but a true labour of love.

Strathy Point – Lighthouse Tower (c) 2012 Russ McLean.

So will you be bidding for the lighthouse tower at Strathy Point? Please let us know if you buy it, for George Clarke’s Restoration Man Television Producer is very keen to hear from you. It would be excellent to see the renovation and conversion of this lighthouse tower completed in the fast-forward 60 minutes it takes when the two years of blood, sweat, and tears are distilled into an enjoyable hour of television.

Estate Agent Description: The Lighthouse Tower is within the Strathy Point Lighthouse compound. Internal refurbishment required for residential uses. Sale includes former Lighthouse Tower with adjoining single storey building. Four adjacent properties and compound under Third party ownership. Potential for range of residential / leisure uses, subject to consents. Extends to approximately 96 sq m (1,038 sq ft).

Our Description: One of the best buildings and locations in the UK. First class sea views. Next stop Iceland. Watch out for catching sun stroke -really – in the summer the very long, near Arctic daylight can catch you unawares. You simply don’t expect that sort of thing in the north of Britain!

Location – Strathy Point Lighthouse, By Bettyhill, Thurso, Caithness, KW14 7RY.

Tenure: Feuhold (Scottish Freehold Equivalent).

Guide: Offers over £75,000.

Closing Date: 12 noon 14th September 2012.

Unique Property Syndicate: Click Here For Unique Property Syndicate Enquiries

Estate Agent Contact: DTZ Agencies Tel: 0131 222 4500 – Mr John Brown.

Online Brochure ….



Ailsa Craig – Curling Stone Paradise

Ailsa Craig Lighthouse Complex – In Perspective (c) 2012 Knight Frank

Topically, the Olympic curling stones are quarried from this very place – please Click Here for Olympic Curling Stone article. The above photograph shows how tiny the lighthouse complex looks on the shingle outcrop, compared to the vastness of the main island.

We have featured Ailsa Craig Island last year for sale at £2,500,000 and this year with a cool million shaved off of the price at £1,500,000 …


However, what is not widely appreciated is the fact that whilst Ailsa Craig Island is being sold, a large part of the shingle spit of land, the pier, the railway, the winch house, the gasometer foundations, the factory, nor the lighthouse keepers dwellings are included in the main bulk of the island sale at Knight Frank.

Sublime Setting – Ailsa Craig Lighthouse (c) 2012 Russ McLean.

We know, because after Strathy Lighthouse, the Ailsa Craig Lighthouse Complex (excluding the tower) came up for sale. Being much, much nearer to where we lived (a straight 18 mile journey across the Clyde as opposed to 300 mile, 7 hour drive from home to Strathy Point), we sold the Strathy Point Lighthouse Dwelling and bought the Ailsa Craig Lighthouse Complex and related buildings. A far more interesting commute !

Ailsa Craig Pier – Owned Privately (c) 2012 Unique Property Bulletin

Key to all of this is the Pier. Whoever buys the smaller lighthouse complex lot, will own the pier and to a point of principle become de facto Pier Master and be responsible for whom has access over the pier!

So what is the current position? We know the gentleman we sold the Ailsa Craig Island Lighthouse Complex to still owns it. We know he has indicated he is “minded” to sell if approached in order that the main island sale can also include the small, but materially important parts described above. 

However, we have not been advised exactly how much the current owner wants for his small part of paradise. If you wish to take things further, please either drop us an email via the contact page, or better still read the Unique Property Manual and this will show you all you need to locate and get in touch with the current owner. For the avoidance of doubt we do not represent the current owner, nor derive any beneficial interest in featuring this property on our Bulletin.

It is simply a case that for completeness, the fact that the Lighthouse Complex on Ailsa Craig Island (excluding the tower), is actually available for sale, and this detail is included here. As a Unique Property Bulletin, this property and it’s availability should be imparted to our readers.

Location – Ailsa Craig Lighthouse Keepers Dwellings, Ailsa Craig Island, Ayrshire KA26 9DF (postcode NOT technically accurate – it is of nearest mainland equivalent. Bear in mind Ailsa Craig island is 10 miles off of Girvan over water).

Tenure: Feuhold (Scottish Freehold Equivalent).

Guide: £Undisclosed. We can advise what we sold it for in 1999.

Contact: Owner not publicly selling, but the dwellings, pier and related buildings are for sale Contact Via This Link if you are unable to locate the details via the Unique Property Manual.


Five Grand Foghorn

Girdleness Foghorn (c) 2012 Mr Iain Lees.

A noisy bargain, but a good price nonetheless. Not too much can be said about this small but curious building.

Colloquially known as “The Torry Coo”, this Foghorn and Store Building is for sale on its own. Though it does have a much bigger neighbour, the Robert Stevenson built Girdle Ness Lighthouse.

The Foghorn and Store Building extends to about 50 sq m. (538 ft sq). As the sales agent remarks: A rare chance to acquire Category A listed historic structure.

Location – Former Foghorn and Associated Building Girdle Ness Lighthouse Aberdeen AB11 8QX.

Tenure: Feuhold (Scottish Freehold Equivalent).

Guide: £5,000.

Closing Date: 12 noon 14th September 2012.

Contact: DTZ Agencies Tel: 0131 222 4500 – Mr John Brown.

Online Brochure ….



High Up – Heads Up – Hold On

Covesea Lighthouse (c) 2012 Ann Harrison

The fifth lighthouse building in this dedicated Bulletin was to be, and in fact is the Covesea Lighthouse at Lossimouth.

However, at the time of this article, a local community group, the Covesea Lighthouse Community Company Limited has applied to register an interest in the Covesea Skerries property under the terms contained in Part 2 of The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003. The Northern Lighthouse Board are therefore obliged to withdraw this property from sale until the Scottish Ministers have determined whether the interest from Covesea Skerries Lighthouse Community Company Limited is to be registered under the terms of the Community Right to Buy legislation contained in the aforementioned Act. A decision by the Scottish Ministers is expected after 14 August 2012.

We at Unique Property Bulletin wish the Covesea Lighthouse Community Company Limited well. Though we would also recommend our readers keep an eye on this handsome building, as from direct experience at this end of the computer keyboard, some things have a habit of coming about for sale again. Indeed we missed out on the Strathy Point Lighthouse Complex first time around, only to end up as owners within eight months of first losing out.

We will keep readers updated as to the progress of Covesea Lighthouse Tower, and whether it comes back up for public sale again. In the meantime, watch this space!

Location – Covesea Lighthouse, Lossiemouth, IV31 6SP.

Tenure: Feuhold (Scottish Freehold Equivalent).

Guide: Offers over £270,000.

Closing Date: On Hold

Contact: DTZ Agencies Tel: 0131 222 4500On Hold.

Online Brochure ….

On Hold.


More Heads Up

Cape Wrath Lighthouse (c) 2012 Anne Burgess.

Within the dusty obscure journals of the Northern Lighthouse Board at 84 George Street, Edinburgh, lay the following quotes. In true Unique Property Manual sleuthing style, we hereby give the heads-up for our readers of what might, just might, be headed towards public sale.

Worry not, erstwhile coastal dwellers in the rest of the UK and beyond. We will feature other lighthouse towers elsewhere around these abundant shores. For this edition we have, by necessity, and good fortune, focussed north of Hadrians Wall on some definite delights, and fair to say, very rare lighthouse tower genre sales.

Last but of course not least, there are those unique property hunters that seek something other than lighthouse towers; something from the list of alternate dwellings at the foot of this Bulletin. So for this edition, we close with some final tasty tower morsels that yet to come our way before returning, in next week’s Unique Property Bulletin to a broader range of the unusual buildings and geographic locations.


Website Photo REUPLOADING – More work to be done. More photos being Reuploaded soon.

Cape Wrath Lighthouse (c) 2012 Helen Baker.

Northern Lighthouse Board Minutes (NLB): Cape Wrath – The Committee (NLB) noted the paper and agreed with the proposal to dispose of the land and buildings.

Start Point Lighthouse (c) 2012 Beth Loft.

Start Point – The Committee (NLB) noted the paper recommending disposal of the land and buildings detailed by an open sale. It was agreed that the advice of the Landmark Trust and Heritage Trust should be sought before a decision was finally made on the potential sale.

Rinns of Islay Lighthouse (c) 2012 Mary and Angus Hogg.

Rinns of Islay – The Committee (NLB) noted the paper recommending disposal of the island and buildings detailed by an open sale. It was agreed that the advice of the Landmark Trust and Heritage Trust should be sought before a decision was finally made on the potential sale.



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If we have missed anything, please email suggestions via our parent group website….