Anyone who loves the beautiful Argyll coast south of Tayvallich will know that the Edinburgh estate agents Rettie & Co were not exaggerating when they described the peninsula’s Keills Estate as “a rural idyll”. With Loch Sween on one side and the sea on the other, with views from its beaches to Islay and Jura, with deer-stalking and fishing rights open to negotiation, Rettie confidently expected a wealthy buyer to snap up the property.
They were not disappointed. Iain Coucher already had a company flat in central London and a comfortable house in the Midlands, but he couldn’t resist adding to his property portfolio. For just under £1m, he bought three-quarters of the estate, including a solid home, complete with boathouse, jetty and 173 acres of surrounding land, and two little islands.
No surprise there. Ever since the Clearances, the nouveaux riches have aped the aristocracy and paid to play the highland gentleman. Coucher stood out from his predecessors, however. The new laird of Keills, the monarch of his very own glen, was, to all outward appearances, an undistinguished civil servant on a second-rate railway board.
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