Hot property: Finding love at Firth site

Hot property: Finding love at Firth site
Collin House in picturesque Auchencairn

In the heart of Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland’s answer to Cornwall, the rose-tinted Collin House is pretty as a picture and steeped in a colourful history, writes Ann Wallace

WHAT: Georgian six-
bedroomed country

WHERE: Castle Douglas

PRICE: Offers over £650,000

CONTACT: Savills 0141 222 5896

PRETTY in pink Collin House, with its elegant interiors and enchanting gardens, is straight out of a storybook or old-fashioned jigsaw puzzle.

The Georgian country house in picturesque Auchencairn in Kirkcudbrightshire also boasts spectacular views which stretch all the way from the Solway Firth to the Lake District.

"There has been a house on this site since the 17th century, when it was built precisely to take advantage of the glorious, uninterrupted views towards Hestan Island," explains local property expert Peter Gillespie of Savills.

"It is a beautiful, peaceful spot in a part of the country that has much to offer. I always describe Dumfries and Galloway as the Cornwall of Scotland – stunning countryside, peace, quiet and views but without the traffic ... "

Much of the period charm of Collin House has been lovingly preserved by the current owners, who have lived there for almost 20 years.

Everything about the property – from its rose-tinted symmetrical exterior to its stylish décor – hints at the building’s elegant past and standing in the local community.

But it is also a comfortable, warm and bright home, which has welcomed and entertained family members of all ages over the decades.

"It is a very special house," agrees Peter.

"Not only is it a beautiful example of Georgian architectural artistry, it has a captivating rural setting and it has been, over the years, a very happy family home."

The beautiful reception hallway leads through to the drawing room, with its white marble fireplace and large windows, boasting fantastic views across to small but intriguing Hestan Island.

This tiny piece of land at the mouth of the Urr Estuary has a past littered with kings and earls, copper mines and smugglers – it was home to the manor house of Edward Balliol, king of Scotland for brief periods in the 1300s.

Hestan was notable as one of many sites used by smugglers to hide their illegal goods, and it has copper mines which were used back in the 1840s. Many ships came to grief in the waters of the Solway Firth and around the island, so the sea may still hold shipwreck secrets.

Back on land, it’s hard to imagine any long-ago occupants of Collin House being connected to anything as unsavoury as smuggling.

The hallway also leads in to a formal dining room where an archway takes you in to an open plan sitting room which provides plenty of space for entertaining, and the dining kitchen, complete with cream four-oven Aga, is the heart of the house.

A useful pantry and a bedroom with an en-suite bathroom – five of the six bedrooms are en-suite – complete the ground floor accommodation.

The bedrooms on the first floor comprise four doubles, all with en-suite bathrooms and the attic floor is home to the sixth bedroom and a bathroom.

While Collin House is proud of its traditional past, the owners have also created flexible accommodation on the lower ground floor, to meet the needs of any growing, contemporary family.

At the moment, this level contains a games room, a gym, a boot room, a laundry and a home office, but there is scope for the new owners to adapt it to their needs.

Collin House sits in around 20 acres of mature gardens and grounds, close to the picturesque village of Auchencairn.

Auchencairn is home to a wide range of local amenities including a post office, primary school, a restaurant and local shops while further afield, the towns of Castle Douglas, Kirkcudbright, Dalbeattie and Dumfries provide more shopping and leisure facilities.

There are excellent opportunities for birdwatching on the Solway Firth; there is an RSPB reserve and geese sanctuary at nearby Mersehead and the Red Kite Trail close by is renowned. There are also fantastic golf courses in the Auchencairn area, including the 18-hole course minutes away at Colvend Bay and the acclaimed championship course at Southerness.

The area is well connected by rail and road to Glasgow and the central belt and beyond.

"Dumfries and Galloway is a fantastic area – the whole of the south west of Scotland is famous for its beautiful scenery, mild climate and excellent sailing," explains Peter Gillespie.

"Some of the finest beaches in Scotland are found along the Solway coast and the surrounding countryside is undulating and attractive, with fine walks along the coast and inland."

The front garden at Collin House was once a croquet lawn, and has magnificent open views. There is also a substantial paddock to the front of the property with a wide variety of mature trees and shrubs providing additional privacy.

To the east of the main house lie several stone built sheds and steading buildings. These could offer excellent potential for future conversion (provided planning permission is sought and approved.)

But it is in the gardens to the side and rear of Collin House that you get a real sense of a more gentle time in history.

The area is lined with eucalyptus trees, oaks and copper beeches and there are also fruit trees and rhododendrons and an enchanting wildflower meadow, providing wonderful displays of blossom and colour throughout each season.

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