The Historic Houses Association (HHA) and Sothebys
announced that the winning entry of their Restoration Award for 2011 - an award now in its fourth year - is Aldourie Castle, on the southern shore of Loch Ness, near Inverness, Scotland. Aldourie Castles extensive programme of restoration has created an historic property for those wishing to experience the authenticity of a Scottish Baronial Castle and Estate at its best. Three commendations are also announced by the HHA and Sothebys: Iscoyd Park, near Whitchurch in Wales; Hoveton Hall (Glasshouse), Norwich, Norfolk; and Browsholme Hall (Tithe Barn), Clitheroe, Lancashire. The 2010 winner of the award was Wilton House near Salisbury in Wiltshire.
Only a short distance from Inverness, Aldourie Castle was bought by Roger Tempest in 2004. The restoration work began in 2007 after it had remained unoccupied for three years. Nearly every aspect of the 57 room building needed renewing or refurbishing - not only the Castle, but also the Estate Cottages and the landscape beyond. The aim of the restoration was to ensure its revival as an important historic Grade A Listed building and to bring alive its character: to revive the identity of the Estate, looking at each of its component parts, from the Castle itself, its formal gardens to the mature woodland and 19th century kitchen garden.
The process of reviving any historic country estate is a detailed and multi-faceted approach and the development of the Castle was prodigious, ranging from garden design, painting conservation, and construction, to accountancy and Health and Safety regulations. The carefully selected team combined the talents of the formidable
historic interiors consultant Alec Cobbe with several antiquities specialists, historic furnishings expert Ann Lister, specialist painters Charles Hesp and Associates, metallurgist Sally Bowling, and architects Ross Sharpe, Lachie Stewart and Douglas Reid.
The interiors, which were allowed to develop as the project progressed, are ornamented with one of the most impressive collections of recently-acquired and skillfully selected Old Master and British paintings, along with a specially-commissioned blue and pink glass chandelier from Murano in Italy and curtains made of Rubelli Silk.
Outside the formal garden has been revived by Richard Preston and complements the natural scenery, while the re-introduction of the rustic bridge and fencing into the landscape demonstrates a clear comprehension of historic styles.
The work undertaken has included:
57 rooms remodelled 17 bathrooms revamped 172 windows repaired or replaced Furnished with over 2000 works of art (of which 580 were paintings and prints) Historic furnishings added, including Rubelli Silk curtains to hand carved pelmets Reroofed, rewired, replumbed Thousands of trees edited and planted 82 carpets acquired, many antique 35 chimneys and fireplaces restored A new heating system and cast iron radiators to all rooms installed The harling repaired and repainted The cellars were drained and wine cellars, china room and a boiler room have been installed