Alcaig Cottages represent a most desirable business and lifestyle opportunity set in an idyllic location on the Black Isle just north of Inverness. This property has a charming and magical trading outlook overlooking the Cromarty Firth and with views towards the rolling Easter-Ross mountains. Situated just 12 miles north of the Highlands capital, this attractive uncomplicated business benefits from being strategically placed to benefit those wishing to undertake an odyssey of the Highlands of Scotland.
This most appealing property and business has many attractive features in addition to its charming setting. The house (Easter Lodge) was built in the 1940s and offers spacious family accommodation. This 3-bedroom home provides all the comforts of a quality residence. The current owners have upgraded and maintained the property to a high standard since purchasing in 2010, making it a most beautiful family dwelling providing a flexible living environment. In addition, there are two self-catering cottages (Osprey Cottage and Firth Cottage) which were also constructed around 1940, being converted into holiday lets in 2006. These self-catering units offer an easy-to-operate business and simple trading model, making this a true lifestyle business. The letting cottages provide relaxing accommodation being presented in excellent order with high quality décor, fixtures and fittings. The business offers flexible accommodation to suit a wide range of clientele. In addition to the excellent property, the subjects have spacious and attractive grounds extending to around 1.7 acres. With 2 garages/out buildings these could be used for a wide range of recreational and business uses. In addition, there is a very large, semi-derelict wooden barn which is not currently used by the vendors and this could be developed subject to consents.
The business is presented to the market in walk-in condition and is ready to operate with no requirement for additional significant capital investment. The sale of Alcaig Cottages represents an exceptional opportunity for new vendors to own a lovely property and operate a charming 'quality of life' business in the heart of the Highlands.
REASON FOR SELLING
The vendors have brought the property onto the market to allow them to relocate closer to family.
The vendors trade the business whilst enjoying separate employment options. Operating year-round, income is primarily generated during the main season (Easter to October). The business attracts a variety of tourists to include cyclists, mountaineers or those just enjoying a more leisurely holiday taking advantage of the natural beauty of the Highlands. The cottages are an ideal base for exploring the wider region. Catering for groups, families and single travellers, the business has an excellently well-maintained website plus the use of www.ownersdirect.co.uk generating a steady stream of customers. The cottages are presently let for full weeks or shorter-term lets. The vendors trade well below the VAT threshold and at a very leisurely pace which suits their lifestyle choices. New owners could, if so desired, drive the business more fully and develop the site further subject to consents.
Easter Lodge and Alcaig Cottages are situated approximately 400 metres off the B9163 in a secluded location, which is off both the A9 and A835, sitting in the hamlet of Alcaig enjoying panoramic views across the Cromarty Firth and to the hills northwards. Set on the Black Isle, this friendly community is within easy commuter distance of Inverness some 12 miles away. Alcaig is situated close to village of Conon Bridge (2 miles away) which has shops, a primary school and various community clubs etc. A larger range of welfare and social amenities are available in the Town of Dingwall (4.5 miles away) as well as in Inverness. Secondary schooling is available in both Dingwall and Fortrose.
The broader area boasts a number of sandy beaches, quality golf courses and places of general interest. The area is renowned for its sea life and the firths / coastal areas are home to seals, minke whales and the ever-popular dolphins. Water sports and fishing are highly popular past times in the region, as are field sports. The cottages are excellently located to use as a base to visit the many places of historic and social interest within the region. This includes Loch Ness, Culloden Battlefield, numerous castles and distilleries plus the beautiful countryside stretching from the West Coast, Cairngorm Mountains, Speyside and North to Orkney and Caithness.
The property is clearly signed and accessed via a tarmac drive leading into a spacious parking area. Both the main house and cottage building were built in the 1940’s. Easter Lodge is of non-standard construction (Doran) and the cottages are of traditional stone construction under slate roof; both properties are single storey. The subjects extend to circa 1.7 acres and have areas of manicured lawn with some areas of maintained wild growth.
An attractive feature of this sale is the spacious family home. Most rooms are of larger than normal proportions giving ample and comfortable living space. This charming detached house is of non-standard construction and is set to the ground floor only. Entrance to the property is via a double glazed door which leads into a spacious hallway; a secondary entrance is from the side of the building into the utility room.
From the hallway, to the left is a spacious lounge which has a multi-fuel stove with attractive oak-surround and marble hearth. With two double sized windows, the lounge offers a bright, charming and relaxing environment. The lounge has attractive oak effect laminate flooring which is also a feature in the dining room off the lounge; this is used as a quiet sitting room as it has double glass doors affording unobscured views to the Cromarty Firth. From the dining room, access is gained to the very large kitchen / dining room which is modern. With ample wall and floor mounted units, the kitchen is well-appointed with a good selection of fitted equipment. This open plan room has an excellent family dining area plus a work station. Off the kitchen is a spacious utility room which has a W.C. off. From the right of the main entrance hall is a further hallway which has a cloakroom area. Next to this is a shower room with a W.C., wash-hand basin and large shower. Further along the corridor is the main family bathroom with bath wash-hand basin and W.C.; the latter are fitted into floor mounted vanity units.
The three bedrooms are all well-appointed with built-in units in the master bedroom and the second bedroom. The master bedroom offers an exceptionally large space which could be used to build an en-suite facility. This sumptuous bedroom offers unobstructed views and has patio doors which lead to the garden. Bedroom 2 is a double room which also has an abundance of space offering some reconfiguration potential if desired. The final bedroom is currently being used as an office but there is space for a double bed. There is ample storage throughout the house.
The business trades with two letting units; Osprey Cottage and Firth Cottage. These properties are believed to date back to the 1940s but were extensively refurbished and updated in 2006 bringing them into use as self-catering units. They are semi-detached with separate entrances and garden / patio areas.
Both cottages benefit from under-floor heating with individually-controllable thermostats in each room and a heated-towel radiator in the shower room making them cosy living spaces. The cottages are presented to a high standard of décor and the service provision includes all bed linen / towels, a welcome pack of washing-up liquid, washing powder, dishwasher tablets, toilet rolls and soap. Both units have TV with Freeview, a DVD player and selection of DVDs, a CD/Radio, games etc.
Accessed from a tarmac parking space Osprey Cottage has a ramp making entrance suitable for less able guests. With 2 bedrooms, 1 double with king-size bed and a single, the cottage is suitable for a small family group. The double bedroom has a fitted wardrobe. With a well-appointed kitchen, equipped with dishwasher, washer-drying machine, gas hob, electric oven, microwave and fridge-freezer, guests have all they need for an extended stay. The cottage has a spacious open-plan dining and living area benefiting from glorious views across the Cromarty Firth and towards Ben Wyvis. From the dining area, French doors open out onto the private patio area which has tables and chairs.
Also accessed from the tarmac parking area Firth Cottage has 2 bedrooms, a king-size room and a twin bedroom, to sleep 4 people; both bedrooms have built-in wardrobes. This cottage has an open-plan kitchen, dining and living area providing an excellent living space and offering superlative views to the Firth and hills beyond. Like the Osprey, this cottage has French doors opening out from the living area onto the private patio area that has tables and chairs. The kitchen is also equipped with a dishwasher, washer-dryer machine, gas hob, electric oven, microwave, fridge-freezer, and George Foreman grill.
The grounds extend to around 1.7 acres and offer ample parking and recreational space both for guests and owners. To the front of the cottages is a guest seating area with bench seats. Each unit also has a private patio area set to tables and chairs. Immediately to the front of the property the grounds are laid mainly to lawns with shrubs and bushes. However, there are extensive areas which are intentionally left to grow wild to encourage wildlife and to make for attractive walks etc. To the rear of the main house is a large lawn for private use, where there is an old concrete Second World War gun platform (ideal for BBQ’s). To the side of the house there are raised planters and fruit trees (apple, plum and greengage). Within the grounds are two large garage / sheds plus an additional large building; the latter is not currently used and could be converted subject to consents.
The subjects benefit from mains electricity and water with drainage to septic tank. The main house benefits from oil-fired central heating. The cottages have oil-fired underfloor heating. LPG gas is used for cooking in the house and letting units. All accommodation units are mainly double glazed.
The business trades below the VAT threshold and is operated on a restricted basis to suit the vendor’s lifestyle. Trading profitably, the business could be traded more fully by new owners. Full trading figures will be presented post viewing.
The EPC ratings for the property are:
Easter Lodge - D
Osprey Cottage - C
Firth Cottage - C
The business elements have rateable values of; 1 Alcaig Cottage is £1,350 and 2 Alcaig Cottage is £1,800 (effective from 01 Apr 2017) both are eligible for 100% discount under the Small Business Bonus scheme for eligible applicants. The house has a Council Tax banding of ‘E’.