BEAUFORT Castle, ancestral home of the Frasers of Lovat, was sold

yesterday to Mrs Ann Gloag, co-owner of the Stagecoach bus company, for

what was understood to have been the asking price of #1.3m.

Mrs Gloag has also bought the adjoining Home Farm which had been

valued at #500,000.

Most of the rest of the 19,500-acre estate, the Frasers' heartland for

more than 500 years, has been sold in a number of lots, with purchasers

coming from the immediate locality and from further afield, including

Belgium, Holland, and Sweden.

Only a few cottages and woodland plots remain unsold but according to

the joint selling agents, Finlayson Hughes of Inverness and Knight,

Frank, and Rutley of Edinburgh, it is anticipated that these lots will

find buyers soon.

Mrs Gloag, whose mother was a Fraser, intends to keep the 23-bedroom

Beaufort Castle as a private house. She could not be contacted yesterday

for comment but issued a statement through a spokesman saying she was

delighted because of the Fraser connection.

She was also pleased to have been able to help keep Beaufort in

Scottish hands. This had been one of the motivating forces behind her

move for the property.

Mrs Gloag, who grew up in a council house in Perth, is reputed to

share a personal fortune of #174m with her brother, Mr Brian Souter, who

with her founded Stagecoach 14 years ago.

Meanwhile, the past few years have seen unremitting difficulty and

tragedy visited on the Lovat Frasers. In 1990, financial difficulties

had forced them to sell the fishing on the Beauly River, a river which

had been associated with their forbears since the fourteenth century,

and the 33,000-acre Brauien Estate for a reported #15m.

In March last year, Lord Lovat's son, Andrew Fraser, was killed by a

buffalo while on safari in Tanzania and, within a week, his eldest son

and heir Simon, Master of Lovat, died from a heart attack, leaving #7m


The 12,000-acre North Morar Estate, which had been bought at the end

of the eighteenth century by General Simon Fraser, was sold last autumn

to West End impresario Cameron Mackintosh.

In March of this year, the wartime commando hero Lord Lovat died

knowing that debts would force his family to sell Beaufort. His

grandson, Simon, 18,succeeded him. The new Lord Lovat has just finished

his A- levels and is planning an adventure holiday to Chile.

The Lovat family will retain about 7000 acres and 60 houses but,

yesterday, Mr Giles Foster, factor of the Lovat Estate and a cousin of

the last Lord Lovat, said: ''Sadly there were no bids from the family

and it is very sad to see the castle go out of the family after such a

long history.''

It had been rumoured that the late Lord Lovat's daughter, Mrs Tessa

Keswick, would make a late bid.

Mr John Bound, of Finlayson Hughes, said yesterday: ''While the family

and all those associated with the Beaufort Castle Estate have been

greatly saddened by events of the last two years, culminating in the

sale of the estate, they are nonetheless relieved that the estate has

been sold satisfactorily.