It is often cold, wet and windy. The sun is dodgy and fickle and sharp winds can nip the finest summer’s day. Hospitality can be variable in quality, with atrocious food and unpardonable expense. The worst parts of our cities and countryside are like the weather, grey, bleak and uninviting at best.
Why is it then that Scotland consistently remains a place of romance – attracting enthusiastic purchasers of property from all over the globe?
It is partly the history and mystery of it all. Sir Walter Scott and countless others have done a marvellous job in promoting the country’s romantic and often tragic past. The wanderings of Bonnie Prince Charlie could be seen as a badly organised and failed insurrection, but instead are the stuff of folklore, attracting tourists in their thousands. On a happier note, the songs and poems of Robert Burns and Lady Nairne have captured the aching beauty of the Scottish countryside in spring.
It is in the wildness which still remains in much of the country with rugged hills and shaggy woods – wind turbines and forestry plantations have done much to spoil this, but have failed to do so, yet. It is easy to feel the lure of adventure when looking out over a still desolate scene.
It is also in the safe, domestic scale of everything. Scotland is not big and daunting like the Canadian wilderness or the Australian outback. It has been lived in for thousands of years. Paths lead to ancient castles, deserted villages and forgotten harbours. The country is not big and there are no earthquakes. English is spoken and Edinburgh is only hours away – it is safe.
Compared with prices in England and elsewhere, Scottish property is very ‘affordable’ and often is in run-down condition, allowing the potential to be restored to one’s own fancy.
There are romantic properties to suit every taste and budget, from baronial castles to little highland cottages and from classical country houses to garret flats in Edinburgh’s Royal Mile.
Above all, it is the “hit and miss” nature of Scotland, its scenery, climate and people which ensures the magic of the country. When the clouds part after two weeks of rain, a sunset shines over a wild ocean and there is whisky to hand, the hardest headed investor will find himself reaching for his cheque book and ultimately will not care if it’s a good buy or not. You only live once!