Blairquhan Castle
Blairquhan (pronounced /blɛrˈʍɑːn/ blehr-HWAHN), is a Regency-era castle near Maybole in South Ayrshire, Scotland. It is the historic home of the Hunter-Blair Baronets and remains in the family's possession. It is now for sale through Savill's.

Four different families have lived at Blairquhan or on its lands. The McWhirters built the first tower house about 1346. The Kennedys then inherited the estate through marriage and built the remainder of the old castle about 1573. In the early 17th century the Whitefords took over, but in 1798, suffering the effects of a bank crash, they sold Blairquhan to Sir David Hunter Blair, 3rd Baronet and second son of James Hunter-Blair, 1st Baronet who had married Jean Blair, the daughter and heiress of John Blair of Dunskey in Wigtonshire in 1770. (When Jean Blair inherited her father’s estate in 1777, the family added Blair to their name.) In 1820, Sir David commissioned Scottish architect William Burn to design a new house on Blairquhan. The old castle, which had become ruinous due to previous fires and neglect, was torn down for a new the Tudor-style castle, which nevertheless incorporated some of the decorative mouldings and sculpted stones from the old castle into the kitchen courtyard of the new house. The new mansion was completed in 1824, and contains many antiques and an important collection of paintings by Scottish artists.

The estate and grounds
Perhaps the best achievement of Blairquhan are the three mile (5 km) approach to the castle along the river Girvan and the beautiful walled gardens. The late Sir James Hunter-Blair, 8th Baronet (1926-2004) was a noted horticulturalist and forester who spent most of his life restoring the castle and preserving the estate grounds, which includes hundreds-year old trees. An ancient sycamore which stands in the shadow of the castle is thought to be a Dule Tree, planted early in the 16th century during the reign of King James V of Scotland. The once spreading crown was heavily pruned in 1997, saving the much-weakened trunk from total collapse.

Surrounding area
Nestled in what is known as " Burns' Country," Blairquhan is within walking distance to the small Ayrshire town of Straiton, and a short drive to Kirkmichael and Maybole. The entire area is known for its gently rolling, pastoral topography, its hills dotted with sheep and traversed by the winding Girvan. On a clear day, Ailsa Craig can be seen in the distance.

As a tourist attraction
Blairquhan is open to visitors by appointment only. The award-winning gardens are open to the public for tours in the summer. To help offset operating costs, Sir James opened the 2,000-acre (8.1 km 2) estate as a venue for private functions such as weddings, corporate outings and filming. With historic cottages and abundant places to picnic, fish or shoot, as well as its proximity to the legendary Open Championship golf courses in Troon and Turnberry, it is becoming a popular choice for lodging and those touring the Scottish lowlands. Blairquhan has also increased its profile as a filming location. It was seen in the UK television programme " Beauty and the Geek". Its interiors and grounds were also featured in the Oscar-winning 2005 film The Queen , starring Helen Mirren. Another movie, The Match, was filmed in Straiton.


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