Whether it is reliving Spiderman, Stuart Little or Swallows and Amazons, turning childhood dreams into reality is for the fortunate few.

Castle Levan in Gourock first caught Trevor Hayward's imagination as a young boy, when he played in its ruins during summer holidays in the area. Five years ago, he realised his dream, by purchasing the fourteenth century B-listed castle as his family home, and now lives there with his wife and three sons, aged nine, 11 and 13.

Sadly there is no fairytale ending, as the Haywards are being forced to sell due to job relocation and Trevor believes the sale of the property he has adored since childhood will break his heart. ''My grandparents were Salvation Army officers stationed in the area,'' says Trevor and we used to go ''doon the water'' to Gourock for days out and I would play at the castle.

''About 10 years ago, I moved back to Glasgow as I was working for IBM. I got fed up with commuting and looked at houses in the area. When the castle came up, I thought it was out of my league but we got it. As it turned out, there was not much difference between the price of the castle and a house in the west end of Glasgow.''

No longer a ruin, the castle was the subject of an exhaustive restoration programme during the 1980s, with the approval of Historic Scotland, using authentic materials. Apart form commissioning a local craftsman to handmake a wrought-iron candelabra, the family had little to do except move in.

Set in landscaped garden grounds with entrance courtyard and broad lawned areas to the rear, the castle is bounded by a burn with waterfall on the westerly perimeter. The castle was constructed around 1457 on a site which is believed to have archeological links to an earlier Roman site, with a second tower added 50 years later.

In 1547, the castle was sold to the Semple family and this exchange is said to have given rise to the appearance of the White Lady, whose apparition dates from a period when Marion Montgomery was sentenced to death by the mother of Mary Queen of Scots, for the murder of one of her tenants.

Although the sentence was commuted to house arrest, when Marion's husband returned from military service, he was so apalled by her crime that he had her imprisoned and starved to death. In the seventeenth century, Castle Levan was taken over by the Shaw Stewarts and it was during this era that the White Lady, assumed to be Marion, was said to have been seen.

Castle Levan fell into disrepair on the construction of a new manor house in its gardens, with the manor itself, recently restored into executive housing. Today, the property provides comfortable family accommodation within an historical environment, with scope for banqueting or upscale bed and breakfast.

Accommodation is set over four levels, offering all the features associated with castles of the period including turret, turnpike staircases, parapet walkways and gunloops. Entrance to the castle is through one of the many steel studded doors, with the ground floor vaults offering two bedrooms and a store room.

Level two consists of the great hall, with its reclaimed pine ceiling decorated by Glasgow Art Club president, Norman Edgar. This leads to the kitchen, featuring upgraded units, Aga, marble work tops and splashbacks reclaimed from a grocery store in Helensburgh. The dining area is accessed through a sandstone arch.

A well-proportioned bathroom, awash with marble and restored timber is situated on level three. Adjacent to the bathroom is the master bedroom as well as a utility and laundry room. Level four offers a guest bedroom with washhand basin, restored flooring and reclaimed ceiling. A hall with a window-to-window walk leads to the library and second bathroom, which has access to the roof.

''This is a sheltered spot,'' says Trevor, ''no matter what the weather is like, the views take in Dunoon, Holy Loch and Loch Long, and the castle is in the direct line of those loch sunsets. If I could find a way of keeping the castle, I would, but as my work is now based in London, it is not possible.''

Far from being isolated, the castle shares a comfortable environment with more contemporary homes and Trevor says he will miss the neighbours and sense of community in the area. ''There is a real sense of security about the castle but then you would expect that. It just feels so peaceful inside and you have no sense of anything else being close by.''

The gardens replicate the grandeur of the interior with ornamental pergolas, display and dwarf walls leading to a stairwell and ultimately to the elegant courtyard. Castle Levan comes with a summer house, detached two-car garage and is surrounded by stone perimeter walls.

''In spite of its age and status, the castle also succeeds in being homely and not like some stately manor,'' says Trevor. ''There are so many nooks and crannies, window seats and unexpected corners and the sense of light makes it a very special place to live.''

If, like Trevor, you have dreamed of being king of your own castle, Castle Levan can be yours for offers in excess of (pounds) 345,000. Contact Slater Hogg & Howison's Larg's office on 01475 687400.