New owners for historic castle

Elite Ayrshire Business Circle executive chairman Norman Geddes presided at a ceremony this week to mark the official handover of historic Blairquhan Castle in Straiton to its new Chinese owners.

The castle has been sold to a Chinese company which bottles mineral water for distribution around the world.

The new owners of the 190-year-old castle in the heart of the Ayrshire countryside are Ganten Scotland, an offshoot of an international business based in the south China province of Guangdong.

The Regency House property will continue to provide upmarket accommodation, but with a renewed focus on guests from the Far East.

Blairquhan, the 14-bedroom ancestral home of Sir Patrick and Lady Hunter Blair, was put on the market for £4.85 million two years ago.

Now a deal has been done that secures the future of the house itself along with the successful weddings and conference business and the jobs of local staff.

Sir Patrick, the 9th Baronet of Dunskey, has confirmed that the family estate will be repositioned around Milton of Blairquhan, the dower house.

Sir Patrick said: “Marguerite and I look forward to supporting our new neighbours in this exciting venture.

“This is great news for the local economy.”

Sir Patrick Hunter Blair, formerly of Carsphairn, moved back to Scotland from County Down, Northern Ireland, when he inherited the property in 2004.

Blairquhan’s interiors were used to represent Balmoral in the hit film The Queen, starring Helen Mirren, one of many times that the castle has featured in movies and on television.

The new owners have pledged to be sympathetic custodians of the fine house and surrounding lands, having already spent much time at the estate.

Mr Zhou Jing Liang, owner and managing director of Ganten China, said: “Every care shall be taken in the future preservation and maintenance of these valued and traditional assets.

“Ganten wish to expand and diversify in Scotland with the aim of becoming a provider of top level accommodation and hospitality for elite Chinese and foreign tourists who desire only the best.”

The company say they are very sensitive to the cultural and historical aspects of Scotland and wish their move to be seen as promoting business here and culture in China.

Mr Zhou added: “It is the wish of Ganten to bring together the cultures of China and Scotland, by encouraging even greater tourist opportunities to the ever-growing affluent Chinese market.

“Ganten wish to become a pioneering, China-based organisation who shall bring to Scotland a sound and innovative platform for mutually beneficial tourist, cultural and commercial ventures.”