1.5m pounds sporting life dampened by Scottish rainy season

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MARK DIKS, a wealthy Dutchman, likes the Highlands so much that three weeks ago he bought a sporting estate near Dalwhinnie for pounds 1.5m.

His enthusiasm has, however, been dampened by three weeks of rain and he has put it on the market again.

Mr Diks, 36, who owns a bed manufacturing firm, is a lifelong visitor to Scotland and a keen hunter. He bought the 23,000-acre (9,308 hectares) Ben Alder estate on the spur of the moment. Valued at pounds 2.5m last year, but advertised at over pounds 1.75m in August, the Dutchman must have thought he had bagged a bargain.

His wife, Sandy, had seen the place only briefly before her husband completed the sale.

Mr and Mrs Diks and their two young children moved into the lodge on the shores on Loch Ericht in the middle of last month.

It rained non-stop, day and night for a fortnight. Mrs Diks spent a lot of time indoors, eventually threatening her husband that either the estate went or she did.

'We were there for a fortnight. It rained all the time . . . from morning to night. It just never stopped,' Mr Diks said. 'My wife hated it. She told me I had a choice between the estate or her.'

Most of Scotland had rain one and a half to double its normal August levels. Edinburgh had its wettest month in nearly 30 years, Glasgow its wettest month since 1910. Records for Loch Ericht, encircled by mountains of up to 3,765 feet, show it to have an annual average of 1,600mm (63in). Even Glasgow normally escapes with a mere 1,000mm a year.

Guy Galbraith, of Savills in Edinburgh, who will be handling the sale once more, said Mr Diks was heartbroken. 'He loves the place, but the truth is his family don't'

Now the property, described by the agents as the 'most spectacular of sporting estates', with a 12- roomed house, eight cottages, deer forest, grouse moors and fishing, is up for sale - for pounds 1.4m.