‘Estate Office’ ~ Applecross
Applecross, a remote peninsula located on the North West Coast of Scotland: an area of true beauty. Atmospheric, dramatic and steeped in history it really is an extremely special part of the world.
Our annual visit to Applecross Estate gives us the chance to catch up with the fantastic team up there, take a visit to each of the holiday homes and get up to date on any new projects they may have running. The mention of a brand new holiday home “Estate Office” certainly got our attention and we figured you would be interested to so we are going to follow its journey from rubble to riches!
A brief history ~ “Bocsa-Buidh Alasdair a’Mhuilleir”
The “Estate Office” house appears to have been built in the 1820’s for Captain Alexander Mackenzie, a merchant and ship owner. He was the son of the local miller and thus known as Alasdair a’Mhuilleir ( Alexander son of the miller), and he set up a merchants and traders business, built the house that is now the Estate Office and set up a shop and storehouses in the south wing. So successful was he that his “Bocsa-Buidh” – “yellow box” (a tin packed to the brim with notes and coin) became known and admired amongst his contemporaries. He was a bachelor but lived in the house with his gillie-buth (servant) who went by the name of “MacLeay” from the North Coast, an ancestor of Domhnull Mor- Donald Livingstone who later ran the shop at the top of Milton pier in Applecross.
One Sunday Afternoon Alastair died suddenly in his chair, and when his friends ran to the scene the Bocsa-Buidh was missing. It was never found. However it may come as no surprise to some that The MacLeays became the richest family in the parish and started their own business with schooners and shops! That is the story of “Bocsa-Buidh Alasdair a’Mhuilleir” – A phrase still heard around Applecross today. There are some variations of the tale, like most stories, but the whereabouts of his treasure will always be a mystery.
Time goes on…
The House somehow ended up as the property of Applecross Estate and became the home of managers of the Estate. An Office wing was added to the middle of the rear and this was the place where local people would come to pay their rents and do business with the landlord.The last person to be Estate Manager preffered to live at Keppoch House some distance off so by the 1980’s the Estate Office was used as a private house from time to time although the Office itself was still in use. It was during the mid-1980’s that is was the scene of one of the most heart-breaking events in terms of Applecross heritage. Fl.Lt. Watkins, the Trust Administrator at the time, instructed the then Estate Manager to tidy out the Estate Office, not expecting him to torch around 180 years’ worth of documentation – maps, rental ledgers, account books, letters – before anyone could stop him! To this day it is still hard to find anything which helps the estate determine straight facts about the history of Applecross.
In 2012 it was decided by the Applecross Trust to renovate the building before it fell into permanent disrepair. Several options were considered on how to use the building and the conclusion was that it lent itself well to becoming holiday accommodation. So far the project has been complex. Being a B listed building, architects, planners and builders have all had to work closely together.
Estate Office is in an exceptional situation, right on the shore overlooking Applecross Bay. The foundations are being improved and the interior completely transformed. There will be 6 bedrooms, sleeping 12 and in future you will be able to sit in the living room, once the Estate Office of Alexander MacKenzie. There will be a separate dining area from the kitchen and all of the bedrooms are ensuite. Although you are probably dying to visit now, the house will not be ready by autumn 2016, but you can keep up to date with progress with us. Other self-catering properties on Applecross Estate you need to check out are Faoilinn (sleeps 4), Bramble Lodge (sleeps 8), Clachan Manse & Studio (sleeps 8) and Jam Factory (sleeps 2)
We will be updating you on The ‘Estate Office’ house every few months and following the process of transformation – we just can’t wait to see the end result. Watch this space!