Beside the cold, clear waters edge of Loch Indaal on the Isle of Islay, Scotland sits the imposing white, mansion called Islay House that looks out over the wild sea.
Acquried in 1677, the property is seeped in Scotlands past and also foreshadows the islands bright future.
Listed as a Category A historic home, it was gifted for services rendered during the reign of Charles II and given as a reward to Sir John Hughs for bringing the rebellious residents of Islay to heal in 1614.
It wasn’t until 1644 that his great grandson, Sir Hugh Campbell of Cawdor, felt secure enough to build the house on the land granted by the King of England as a Crown Charter “Ye lands of Ylay and Rynnis”. They owned the entire island.
It was Cawdor Castle, the family’s seat, which is forever linked with the name Macbeth in Shakespeare’s famous tragedy.
The Islay site was chosen because the land was very fertile at the head of Loch Indaal, but also it’s sweeping views across the water of the Kilchoman Peninsula which must have been the deciding factor in the houses location.
The island has ancient chapels, historic standing stones and also is the site of Finlaggan, chosen by the Macdonalds, Lords of the Isles, in the 12th Century as the base from where they ruled the Hebridean Islands and the west coast of Scotland.
The loch’s tides can be seen from the house windows and sweeping lawns.
Over the centuries, the house has had many alterations and additions, the most dramatic completed in the 1730s.
The gable-fronted north wing was added, and repeated again in the 1760s, with matching octagonal staircases to both the north and south wings.
They are also hung double doors at the main front door entrance, with pillars and fanlight that give a sense of drama at the entrance.
It wasn’t until 1841, that the Scottish architect William Playfair was hired to create the service buildings to the rear, which added a deer larder, dry goods larder, wine cellar, butlers pantries, housekeepers suite and other staff quarters all on three floors.
The present day house, although large and impressive, is well laid out for modern day living.
The trophy room is large and has tall ceilings, with a large stone fireplace.
The central part of the house, which was the former servants hall in the north east wing feature a beautiful curving staircase at each end and an impressive reception hall, with well proportioned reception rooms.
The mansion has many fine period features such as original fireplaces throughout and decorative cornices, wooden panelling and working window shutters.
There is a massive kitchen and store rooms where once the servants prepared the family meals.
There were many stone built outbuildings, such as the gameskeepers cottage.
The current owner has leased the Walled Garden to local residents that created a productive vegetable business.
Islay Ales Brewhouse serves fresh beer from the former horse stables.
Islay is world famous for single malt whiskies fromits 8 whisky distilleries and the renowned Bowmore Whisky Distillery sits directly on the sea.
There is the outstanding annual Islay Festival Music and Malt, which helps to bring tourism to Islay Isle.
Yet it is Islay House that forever stands as a testament to time immortal of the clans whose hertiage built this remarkable home on this wild, remote part of Scotland.