For sale: Fairbairn's castle with a view

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The Independent Online
Prospective buyers of Fordell Castle should not be put off by the estate agent's remark that it is a very personal reflection of its previous owner's style and taste.

His clothing and career may have been chequered, but when it came to his home, it seems the late Sir Nicholas Fairbairn QC MP was a model of restraint. Only the walls of his dressing room display the Fairbairn passion for tartan.

Sir Nicholas bought Fordell Castle as a ruin 34 years ago and set about restoring it with the same passion he was famous for inflicting upon women.

As chairman of Historic Scotland he knew what he was doing. He incorporated the star and half moon emblem of the original 13th century owners into ceiling and window mouldings. Within the stone walls he created three acres of landscape gardens.

While the archetypal Scottish castle is romantic, cheap and totally impractical, lying at least half a day's journey from the nearest centre of work, Fordell is a different matter. Only four miles from the Forth Road Bridge and 16 miles from Edinburgh, the castle is remarkably accessible. Savills have set a guide price of pounds 500,000 for five bedrooms, three reception rooms and 70 acres, which compares with the most expensive Edinburgh town houses.

But its location has lost nothing in terms of romantic appeal. The entrance runs along a road into a forest which opens out to give a view of the turreted castle in the middle of a promontory surrounded by water.

Sir Nicholas, who was MP for Perth and Kinross, died in February. Historic houses might have legitimately featured in his list of recreations in Who's Who. Instead, his entry read "making quips, confounding Whips and scuttling drips".