Overview Of The Three Estates - Balnagown Highland Estate Luxury Retreats

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Overview Of The Three Estates

Balnagown Estates is made of three separate estates: Balnagown estate itself, Invercassley Estate and Duchally Estate. These three estates cover a combined area of 34,000 acres (13,760 ha), though each has a very different landscape and character.

Balnagown Estate

Balnagown Estate covers 8,900 acres (3,600 ha) and is located close to the shores of the Cromarty Firth along the estate’s south side. Unlike many Highland estates and indeed unlike both Invercassley and Duchally, Balnagown does not have a rugged landscape, but instead one of relatively level farmland, lochans, parkland and gardens, with a backdrop of rolling wooded hills to its north side. However, this somewhat tame landscape takes nothing away from the estate’s beauty, and indeed the combination of its varied features makes it truly stunning.

Balnagown Estate is also where Mohammed Al Fayed has his personal residence; the beautifully restored Balnagown Castle. Although there is no access to the castle for our guests, the surrounding gardens are open for guests to enjoy and all that’s required is for this to be arranged with the estate office. Beyond the castle gardens though, there is unrestricted access to the estate and guests are free to enjoy its huge network of paths and tracks.

The estate also benefits from high security, with tall steel gates remaining closed at all times other than for access, and controlled through CCTV. Security guards are also present on the estate, with these combined measures taken purely because of My Al Fayed’s personal residence. However, for anyone who also requires security and privacy, Balnagown Estate is the perfect location to enjoy a superb and luxurious lodge or cottage, of which we have seven. So for those perhaps hounded by the media and looking for a relaxed and private place to unwind with family or friends, Balnagown Estate is absolutely ideal.

Invercassley Estate

Invercassley Estate is further north than Balnagown and located within the county of Sutherland. Sutherland has the distinction of being the least populated county in the UK, and this despite its relatively vast size. However, much of the county’s wild and rugged terrain is the reason for its lack of people, with a mixture of mountain, moorland, peat bog and forest. Of course whilst such a landscape isn’t suitable for major towns, it does combine to make the perfect highland estate!

Combined with Duchally Estate which it joins to on its NE edge, the total area is 25,100 acres (10,162 ha). This huge size and coupled with the wild and undisturbed habitat, is one of the reasons visitors are attracted to Invercassley for fishing, stalking, bird watching, mountain biking and hiking. The other reason is of course the superb holiday property we have available to let throughout the year: Inveroykel Lodge.

Duchally Estate

Duchally is the most northern of the three estates, and also the most rugged and remote. It has a wide range of habitats from high barren mountains to deep wooded glens, with The River Cassley running through much of the estate. On its westerly side it takes in Ben More Assynt, which at nearly 1000 metres is an especially impressive Munro, and one of only four in the Northern Highlands.

Duchally Estate is especially renowned for its high quality deer stalking with both Red and Sika deer being present. The management of deer populations is an essential and very important aspect of estate management, as with no natural predators the deer population would increase to unsustainably high levels – something which would be highly damaging to the Highland landscape, and indeed the health of the deer.