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Corrour Lodge


(Corrour Estate)

A strikingly modern house and substantial estate remotely located on Rannoch Moor, Corrour Lodge is situated at the head of Loch Ossian, 10½ miles (17 km) southeast of Roybridge and 16 miles (26 km) southwest of Dalwhinnie. The property is owned by Lisbet Rausing, of the wealthy Swedish Tetra Pak dynasty, who bought the estate from the Stirling Maxwell family in 1995. Completed in 2003, the lodge is a spectacular modernist mansion, with crisp geometric exterior lines, designed by the Boston-based architect Moshe Safdie and constructed of Portuguese granite, steel and glass at a reported cost of 20 million. Arguably not in keeping with its surroundings, it comprises cylindrical and rectangular towers linked by glass, with steel-framed glass pyramids projecting from the front of each towards the shores of Loch Ossian. This replaced the Victorian shooting lodge which was built in 1897-99 by the Glasgow-based architect Frank College for Sir John Stirling Maxwell (1866 - 1956) and subsequently extended, including work by Reginald Fairlie in 1935. It burnt down in 1942 and a cedarwood-clad bungalow was built in 1958 as a poor replacement, but this was demolished to make way for the current structure. The chapel, game larder and schoolhouse remained from the 19th C. construction and were incorporated into the plan for the new house, which includes seven en-suite double bedrooms and a bunk room for up to fourteen children. The Lodge is regularly let out for family holidays or corporate events.

Corrour Estate extends to 23,067 ha (57,000 acres) and comprises hill, moor, forest and lochs. The highest point is Beinn Eibhinn at 1102m. Its income comes from deer stalking, grouse shooting, fishing and letting holiday cottages, together with small hydro-electric schemes.

The land here was once the property of the MacDonalds of Keppoch. Corrour Old Lodge, located at higher altitude to the south, was the original house on the estate. Owing the the MacDonald's involvement in the Jacobite Rebellions, control of the estate passed to the Dukes of Gordon, who were the feudal superiors. In 1834, George Gordon, the 5th Duke of Gordon (1770 - 1836), sold the property to John Walker (d.1857) of Crawfordton for 45,000. His son, Sir George Gustavus Walker (1830-97), developed the property as a sporting estate.

Stirling Maxwell bought Corrour in 1891. Passionate about trees and plants, he designed the landscape and gardens around the Lodge, now regarded as being of outstanding historical and scenic importance. These gardens include a magnificent rhododendron garden which extends to 25 ha (63 acres) and includes new species brought from China in the 1920s by plant collector George Forrest (1873 - 1932), together with a fine alpine rock garden, wild garden, flower garden and forestry plantations which exploited the natural topography and combined an innovative mix of native and exotic species. These once included 84 species, with Lodgepole pine, Sitka spruce, Scots pine, Japanese and European larch all represented. Stirling Maxwell's work in afforesting high moorlands pioneered the introduction of these species in plantations across Scotland. He was instrumental in establishing the Forestry Commission in 1919. After the Second World War, under financial pressure, considerable tracts of the estate were sold to the Forestry Commission, although the family were able to buy this back in the 1980s.

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