For the 17th century Bishops of Glasgow and Galloway, the spot in the lush Clyde Valley was a welcome retreat from the grime of the city, with ample fruit and vegetables on the doorstep, plentiful trout in the bubbling river and peace to pray.

An escape to the country for the holy men, as years rolled by the tower they knew as ‘Garyn’ expanded into an imposing Victorian baronial pile at the heart of one of the Valley’s many thriving fruit and vegetable farms.

But as Nicole Rudder climbed over a fence and trudged through overgrown gardens to its entrance porch, it had become a faded relic, with broken turret, weeds sprouting from the stonework and an empty space where the roof should have been.

That could be a ‘red flag’ moment, when most would turn on their high heels and head for the hills.

Instead, in Nicole’s mind’s eye it was a sumptuous, grand manor with glamorous suites, New York style rooftop cocktail bar – a stretch, perhaps for some to envisage under bleak North Lanarkshire skies - and, importantly, a repaired roof.

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She reached for her mobile phone, tapped out an email and sent off an offer to buy it.

“I put in a cheeky offer, literally emailed it from my phone while I was standing there,” she says. “Then I jumped back over the fence, went back to work and didn’t think about it again.”

Nicole, a multi-tasking, 33-year-old very glamorous mother of two daughters who has built up a string of businesses including an claims company, boutique and media studio, shaved £200,000 off the £435,000 asking price, fully expecting her offer to fall flat.

“Next day the agent phoned and asked why I made that offer. I said, ‘I know it’s cheeky, but I can’t go any higher. It’s what I can afford without killing myself and if it sits for 10 years it’s not going to bankrupt me’.

“He said, ‘Well, lucky you, you’ve got it’.

HeraldScotland: Concept drawing Concept drawing (Image: Nicole Rudder)

Later, she gently broke the news to her husband, Grant. “I’ve bought a castle,” she told him. He replied: “It’s not a castle, it’s a bloody ruin”.

Now, just 15 months since she became the proud owner of a dilapidated B-listed baronial tower house with boarded up windows, conical tower with missing slates, wild vegetation in the gutters and broken weathervane, her vision is within touching distance.

In a non-stop whirlwind of action, environmental studies have been carried out to check for bats, badgers and water voles. Structural surveys done, tree surgeons have checked the gardens and found one particular 800-year-old sycamore they want to put forward for national recognition, and Nicole is busy giving the nod of approval for floor tiles, colour schemes and furnishings.

If all goes to plan, early next month her proposals to renovate and expand Garrion Tower to create a modern wedding and hospitality venue will go before North Lanarkshire Council’s planning committee.

Then, barring unforeseen banana skins, the once sad ruin will be reborn - complete with that new rooftop cocktail bar, in time for summer 2025.

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That would be a rapid transformation for a three-storey manor abandoned 15 years ago and left to rot, and a clarion call to others of what can be achieved when vision, determined mindset and, to be fair, a chunk of cash is pumped into just one property among Scotland’s countless ‘at risk’ built heritage.

Nicole, owner of G4 Claims, estimates between £5m to £7m will be needed to realise her ambitions, of which around £3m is likely to come from various grant and support schemes.

But, she adds, it’s money well spent to save a crumbling building that seemed doomed: demolition, surely just around the corner, would not just have obliterated it, but also would crush the memories of locals whose lives are entwined with the house, estate and farm that once grew plump Clydeside tomatoes in its array of greenhouses.

“So many people have messaged me and said their granddad worked there or they had an auntie who worked at the fruit farm,” she says.

“People don’t want to see an old building going to ruins and pulled down because it's a danger.  People want to see buildings like this restored.

“I want people who have those old connections to come and get married where their grandfather worked, or their aunt visited.

“Of course,” she adds, “I want to produce a business from this. But at the same time, I want to save an old building.”

HeraldScotland: Nicole inside the buildingNicole inside the building (Image: Nicole Rudder)

Nicole, who is sharing her progress on social media, says she has been overwhelmed by people keen to marry in a building which is currently minus just about every mod con, from gas central heating to functioning toilets.

“We’ve been inundated with people wanting to book weddings,” she says. “It's putting pressure on me. We put a message on TikTok saying ‘here’s an address if you want to be added to the waiting list’.

“There are now 187 people on the list. It’s madness. The house doesn’t even have a proper roof at the moment, and I’ve got people wanting to get married in it.”

Still, things have powered ahead despite grim warnings of how laborious and painful renovating a B Listed property could be – perhaps another lesson to anyone considering taking on a ‘doer-upper’.

“Everyone was telling me horror stories about planning being a nightmare. I was prepared for the worst,” Nicole continues.

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“But it’s been really refreshing. I’ve got a good relationship with North Lanarkshire Council, everyone is happy that the building is being saved, that we’re making it wind and watertight and secure.”

Yet it’s still just over a year since she took her first steps inside to find  three floors had collapsed, mountains of rubble, rickety stairs, a rusty Rayburn range and old wooden pulley in the kitchen.

Light streaming through cracked and broken sash windows offered a glimpse of past glories: intricate cornicing, ornate fire surrounds some complete with pot holders, and floor to ceiling wooden panelling.

She plans to salvage what she can: snippets of cornicing will be used as a template to create new. Eventually nine rooms will emerge including a plush bridal suite, restaurant and bars, while outside the path to the banks of the River Clyde will be cleared and a chateau style garden created.

The scale might be daunting, but Nicole, originally from Glasgow’s East End is no stranger to hard graft.

HeraldScotland: The interior of the buildingThe interior of the building (Image: Nicole Rudden)

She was 20, training to become an accountant and helping her father set up his non-fault accident claims business, when she took over the reins.

“He likes to go to work at 9am and finish at 5pm, so running his own business wasn’t really for him,” she explains. “But I was too invested in it by then not to carry on.”

She remembers being “on my knees” for the first five years, and too hard up to afford lunch, never mind the £500 rent for a city centre office which she eventually realised she had to quit.

“It was difficult, it was hard work. You don’t walk into success, you have to struggle a bit – and there was quite a bit of struggling.

“I’ve been in business for 14 years and it’s only in the last five or six years that it’s been successful.”

Garrion Tower’s rebirth may look close to being an overnight sensation, but there’s still a long way to go, she adds.

“There are always going to be teething problems. This is a B listed building, there will be coming and going about the details. I've not got an issue with that.

“I would be lying if I didn’t sometime say ‘Jesus, is there no end to this, what now?’ I’d be lying if I said everything in the garden is rosy.

“But not a day goes by that I’m not grateful for being able to say that I’m doing this and have the opportunity in my life to do this.

“There’ll be plenty of days when there’ll be plenty of swearing – I’m a Glasgow city centre girl.

“But I’m looking forward to sitting on the roof top bar, looking out over Lanarkshire, snuggled under a big blanket on a December, sipping my cocktail.”