It was built on one of Scotland’s most furthest-flung outposts by a family who made their tenant farmers homeless after evicting them in favour of sheep.  

Brough Lodge, on the island of Fetlar, has stood as a monument to the clearances for more than a century after its first stones were laid by the Nicolson family, who gained ownership of the island in lieu of a debt.  

Now the Gothic mansion and its estate – which boasts two folly towers and spreads across 40 acres - is on the market for a fraction of the price of a flat on the mainland.  

Described as Shetland's most unusual group of 19th century buildings, Brough Lodge is up for grabs for just £30,000. 

The crumbling castle is situated on the island of Fetlar, which lies off the east coast of mainland Shetland, 200 miles north of Aberdeen and 200 miles west of Bergen, Norway.  

It has lain empty since the 1980s when the last Lady Nicolson moved out, and is currently the focus of a restoration project by the owners the Brough Lodge Trust.

The Herald:

The Trust are putting the A-listed building up for sale in the hopes a philanthropic individual will take it on and help them realise their dream of creating a ‘retreat’ which could become a focal point of tourism to the island.  

The group have already invested £500,000 in grants and match-funding into making the lodge watertight and replacing the main roof.   

But they estimate it would take a further £10m to turn the building into a luxury hub for ecotourism, and a further £1.6m to build staff quarters.  

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In their pitch video, a spokeswoman for the Trust, says: “The buildings and land are now offered for sale to someone with the passion and ability to transform the site. 

“In this beautiful setting there is an opportunity to create an exceptional world-class retreat, offering an outstanding experience for guests. 

“It would also make a contribution to the preservation of a priceless heritage and strengthen the economy of this island community.” 

The Herald:

The 24-bedroom property dates back to the 1820s, when it was built by Baronet Arthur Nicolson – the man responsible for the clearances on Fetlar. 

Said to be situated on even older buildings once used as workshops, one of its towers was built on the ruins of an iron Age broch - a type of drystone tower unique to Scotland.  

A courtyard is accessed via a gateway, and there are several walled garden spaces. The Trust has prepared detailed plans for the transformation of the lodge, and hope these can be put to use if the right individual or group comes forward to purchase it.  

Proceeds from the sale would go towards the Trust's work in supporting hand-knitting tuition for Shetland school children. 

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The Trust says: “We have also recently obtained an estimate of the capital cost of the development, including the restoration of Brough Lodge itself and new-build accommodation including 24 luxurious guest bedrooms.   The indicative cost is estimated in 2022 at £10m, and the plans also provide for new-build separate staff accommodation costing £1.6m.  

“By mid-2022, we were satisfied that we had a credible project that would meet the stringent requirements associated with a Category A Listed Building and would realise the vision we had adopted.  We were also convinced that the project could become an exemplar for the benefits of developing ecotourism in areas requiring economic regeneration. 

“With all this work completed, we concluded that the time had come to involve a philanthropic individual or organisation with the resources and skills to transform that vision into reality.  Our preference is that a single investor should take ownership of the site and pursue the project. 

The Herald:

Fetlar is known as the Garden of Shetland due to its green landscape and rich fertile soil, which was greatly valued by Viking settlers. It’s name is thought to derive from the Norse for ‘fat land’  

Seven miles long and four miles wide at its widest point, the island is the fourth largest in the Shetland isles.  

It is famed for its stunning scenery, particularly the long, sandy beach at Tresta, and is home to around 60 full-time inhabitants.  

Around two-thirds of the island is protected in some way,either, as a site of special scientific interest (SSSI), a special area of conservation (SAC) or as an RSPB Reserve at Mires of Funzie. 

Access to the island is via a short 25-minute ro-ro ferry service which runs several times a day from the neighbouring islands of Yell and Unst.