Property with grim past for sale

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A former fishing station on a coastal cliff near St Cyrus, which has a dark and eerie past, is up for sale.

The remains of Kaim of Mathers Castle, a scheduled ancient monument, sit within the nine-acre grounds.

According to the book ‘Portrait of a Parish’ by Duncan Fraser, the 15th century castle was originally built by courtier James Barclay who, along with other local lairds, detested the local sheriff and complained about him frequently to King James I of Scotland until the king told them to go and make soup of the sheriff and “sup” him.

Taking this literally, Barclay and the lairds tricked the sheriff into a day’s hunting, tipped him into a boiling cauldron, and one by one, “had a sup of the broth”.

Denying any involvement, the king denounced them and swore an oath that Barclay “would get no peace to live neither on land nor sea for the rest of his life”. The cannibal laird spent the rest of his life at Kaim of Mathers “poised between the land and sea on a cliff top near St Cyrus”.

Complete with its own beach, slipway, ruined castle and caves, Rock Hall Fishing Station and Bungalow, a mile north of St Cyrus, is now available as a whole for offers over £725,000 or in two lots (offers over £530,000 and £195,000 respectively) through Strutt & Parker.

Bought as a ruin in 1998, it was restored and turned into a family home by Andrew and Annie Hamilton, who have been running it as a holiday let since 2008.

Dating from around the late 18th century, Rock Hall was run as a salmon fishing station for around 200 years. Built into a hollow at the top of the cliffs, it has been transformed from a working station with skipper’s quarters, net store, two crewmen’s bothies and a vaulted ice house into one large five-bedroom family home.

The buildings are situated overlooking St Cyrus’ sandy beach and Montrose Bay.

A former engine shed stands on the slipway; it houses a winch which was formerly used to hoist salmon to the top of the cliff.

Kevin Maley of Strutt & Parker said: “The combined fishing station and bungalow package offers numerous opportunities as a family home and annexe, a rural retreat, a home with additional holiday let or as a holiday let in its entirety.”