Key details

Address
Belmont House, Unst, ZE2 9DW
Status
Available
Price
Offers over £395,000
Entry
By arrangement.

  • receptions 3 Reception Rooms
  • bedrooms 4 Bedrooms
  • bathrooms 3 Bathrooms

Overview

Unique opportunity to acquire a stunning, fully restored, Georgian house of historic interest, set in 2 acre landscaped grounds close to the shore at Belmont at the south end of the island of Unst, Britain’s northerly most inhabited island.

Enjoying a southerly aspect and fine uninterrupted views over Bluemull Sound and the Loch of Belmont, this Grade ‘A’ listed property has provided a lovely family home since 1775.

Arranged over three floors, the beautiful, authentically decorated accommodation comprises four spacious bedrooms, one retaining two original box beds, an impressive triple aspect drawing room, two further reception rooms, a writing room plus a country house style kitchen and three modern bath / shower rooms. There is also a substantial cellar and additional workshop or accommodation space provided by two pavilions set adjacent to the formal gardens with additional land to the rear of the house.

Since its award winning restoration in 2011, the house has offered high quality self-catering holiday accommodation and hosted weddings and events. This use could be continued or it would once again make a wonderful family home or upmarket B&B.

Viewing is essential to fully appreciate this important and elegant house and its fantastic setting.

Situation

‘Belmont House’ is situated just above the shore at the very southern end of the island of Unst, Britain’s most northerly inhabited island, the island being renowned for its dramatic coastline and stunning rugged landscape, its Viking heritage, a rich variety of bird and other wildlife, and geology, Shetland being a UNESCO Geopark.

Although measuring just 12 miles long by 5 miles wide and having a population of only around 600, the islanders enjoy a range of amenities far beyond what might be expected given the remote location, these mostly being situated in the village of Baltasound the main settlement about 7 miles north of the house, amenities here including several local shops and a post office, the island’s Junior High School (nursery, primary and secondary education to year four), a superb leisure centre and swimming pool, doctor’s surgery, garage and pier / marina.

There are also many places of interest making the island a popular tourist destination, in particular Hermaness National Nature Reserve, an important seabird colony, Keen of Hamar Reserve, historic Muness Castle, as well as a heritage centre and boat haven at Haroldswick, and fine beaches at Norwick, Skaw, Sandwick, Westing & Burrafirth. Seals and porpoises are commonly seen, and also otters and orcas (killer whales). There are a number or archeological sites and scheduled monuments close to the house, including a Viking long house, the remains of a broch and standing stones and burnt mounds.

A regular ro-ro ferry service connects Unst with Mainland Shetland, inter-island ferries running throughout the day from the terminal close by the house to Gutcher on the neighbouring island of Yell (10 minute crossing), and from Ulsta at the south end of Yell to Toft on Mainland Shetland (20 minute crossing), Toft being situated about 27 miles north of Lerwick, Shetland’s capital which can be reached in around 2½ hours.

Further information about the island can be found at:-
https://www.visit-unst.com
https://www.shetland.org/visit/plan/areas/unst

The Shetland Islands themselves, the most northerly part of the United Kingdom, are located approximately 200 miles north of Aberdeen and 200 miles west of Bergen, Norway. A daily overnight ferry service operated by NorthLink Ferries (https://www.northlinkferries.co.uk) runs from Lerwick to Aberdeen, whilst Loganair (https://www.loganair.co.uk) operates direct flights from Sumburgh at the south end of Shetland to Aberdeen, Edinburgh & Glasgow. Shetland residents are currently entitled to discounted ferry and air fares.

With over 100 islands of which 15 are inhabited, Shetland is home to around 23,000 people and offers a vibrant and safe community which enjoys dramatic and unspoilt scenery and an abundance of wildlife. Considerable press coverage and TV exposure in recent years, in particular the ‘Shetland’ TV detective series and numerous wildlife programmes, has made the islands an increasingly popular and well-known visitor destination.

The House

Belmont House is an outstanding example of 18th century neo-classical architecture, this Grade ‘A’ listed property was built in 1775 by local businessman Thomas Mouat as his family home. The design was influenced by his visit to Hopetoun House outside Edinburgh. The house overlooks the Wick of Belmont and enjoys fine views out to sea and across Bluemull Sound to the neighbouring island of Yell, and also westwards to the Loch of Belmont.

In recent times the property had fallen into disrepair until the Belmont Trust was set up in 1996 with the aim of restoring it. The house had been little altered with much of the original interior remaining allowing the restoration to remain faithful to the original design. The restoration was done to the highest standards with the original lathe and plaster, wood and timber fittings salvaged and re-used, or faithfully reproduced, the work being mainly carried out by local craftsmen.

The restoration project won numerous awards including an RICS Scotland Building Conservation and Project of the Year Award, The Georgian Group Architectural Award, a Shetland Environmental Award and a Scottish Civic Trust My Place commendation.

Property Overview

Belmont House has been a lovely family home for most of its history, with formal gardens, additional land to the rear of the house, and pavilions which offer workshop, additional accommodation or storage space.

Since restoration, the Belmont Trust, a registered charity has offered high quality self-catering accommodation for up to 12 people. The house has also been used as venue for events such as weddings, all surplus income being reinvested in the house to ensure it is saved for the future.

Holiday use has proved popular, the location being an ideal base for exploring not only the island of Unst itself, but also the neighbouring islands of Yell and Fetlar (ferries also run from Unst to Fetlar), the accommodation having achieved a five star rating on TripAdvisor and four star rating for the National Trust for Scotland holidays. For further information on the property visit the Belmont Trust website at https://www.belmontunst.co.uk.

Note the external photographs have been taken at various times within recent years.

Accommodation

Benefiting from a southerly aspect the house is of a symmetrical three bay design, the accommodation being arranged over two storeys and an attic (there is also a large cellar). Although the formal entrance is to the front (south) side of the house, in practice entry is usually to the rear where a wood-lined porch with stone flagged floor leads to an entrance lobby with doors to the kitchen, shower room and main hall.

The shower room comprises an electric shower plus a period style WC with high level cistern, and a contemporary style wash hand basin bowl set on antique wash stand. The large farmhouse style kitchen which faces south, features handcrafted solid wood dresser style units arranged around space for a table in the centre, the main run of units housing a ‘Belfast’ style sink with slate worktop and drainer, open shelving allowing for display of crockery etc. Cooking is provided by an electric range cooker set in a fireplace recess, a walk-in pantry cupboard providing additional storage and also housing a larder fridge.

The main hall is an impressive space with doors to two ground floor reception rooms, an archway continuing through to the front door with built-in cupboards to either side. The dining room is a handsome south-facing room enjoying the fine view over the garden, with wood paneling to a dado rail, two striking pendant light fittings over the dining table adding a contemporary touch, a shelved cupboard providing storage. Off the dining room but also having its own access from the hall, is a separate living room to the rear, this north-facing room providing an extra bedroom when required.

A curved staircase lit by a large window facing north, sweeps up and around from the hall to the first floor, the accommodation on this principal floor comprising a drawing room, writing room and two double bedrooms. The generously proportioned drawing room is a stunning room enjoying a triple aspect with windows to the north, south & west flooding the space with natural light and also making the most of the views, the original wooden paneling to the dado rail, door architrave and dentil cornice being particular features. The fireplace houses a cast iron multi-fuel stove although central heating is provided. The finely detailed stone surround is a very rare and original example of hand painted marbling.

Next to the drawing room is a delightful writing room, again a well-lit room, a perfect space for contemplation or simply enjoying the fine view to the sea. Finally on the first floor are two large double bedrooms both similarly finished with wood paneling to a dado rail, double bedroom 1, the main bedroom facing south, twin bedroom 2 being situated to the rear.

The stair continues up to the wood paneled landing on the top floor where there are two further double bedrooms and two bathrooms, all the rooms being wood-lined. The first bathroom features a roll top bath with claw feet and mixer tap / shower fitting, a WC and wash hand basin, plus a period style heated towel rail, a built-in cupboard housing the ‘Megaflo’ hot water tank. Next is twin bedroom 3 and the second bathroom, a particularly cosy space with raised inset bath, WC and wash hand basin, and again a period style towel rail, and then up a couple of steps is bedroom 4, a spacious double room retaining two original additional box beds (thus sleeping four), one full length, the other for a child. There are also two shelved cupboards.

Finally accessed via a door from the ground floor lobby is a substantial cellar (approx. 7.7m x 3.3m) with a stone-flagged floor which provides extensive storage space and also houses the three Heatrae Sadia Amptec electric central heating boilers which supply thermostatically controlled period style radiators throughout the house, and also the two tanks for the fire alarm suppression system.

Room sizes

On the Ground Floor:-

Dining Room

Approx. 4.7m x 3.4m (15'5" x 11'1")

Living Room

Approx. 4.7m x 3m (15'5" x 9'10")

Kitchen

Approx. 4.7m x 3.4m (15'5" x 11'1")

Shower Room

Approx. 3.15m x 1.95m (10'4" x 6'4")

On the First Floor:-

Drawing Room

Approx. 6.6m x 4.7m (21'7" x 15'5")

Writing Room / Study

Approx. 2.4m x 2.3m into window (7'10" x 7'6" into window)

Bedroom 1

Approx. 4.75m x 3.3m (15'7" x 10'9")

Bedroom 2

Approx. 4.75m x 3.15m (15'7" x 10'4")

On the Second Floor:-

Bedroom 3

Approx. 4.45m x 3.25m (14'7" x 10'7")

Bedroom 4

Approx. 5.75m x 3.5m (at widest points) plus box b (18'10" x 11'5" (at widest points) plus box)

Bathroom 1

Approx. 3.55m x 3.1m (11'7" x 10'2")

Bathroom 2

Approx. 2.45m x 2.1m (8'0" x 6'10")

Grounds

As noted the property sits in walled grounds extending to around two acres or thereby, the formal gardens being designed and laid out at the same time as the house and therefore providing the perfect setting and a delightful outdoor space, the central design axis linking the farm steading to the north of the house (not included) with the gates to the shore to the south.

The house is accessed via a drive which leads to a substantial parking area. The formal garden lies to the front, the immediate lawned forecourt being enclosed by walls to the rear which sweep around to meet up with the east and west pavilions, and by a low wall with original gate piers to the front, the gates leading to the larger garden area beyond comprising three walled enclosures again symmetrically laid out in relation to the house, the central area being divided into four quadrants around a path aligned with the front door and the gates to the shore reflecting what was originally the main approach to the house.

Gateways to either side of the central area lead to further walled areas to either side, the area to the east, now a hay park, thought to have been used for growing vegetables, the area to the west being more of a pleasure garden and now laid out with four fenced areas each surrounded by well-established planting creating a series of more private enclosures, a circular stone paved area enclosed by a semi-circular dyke to the west and a small wooden pavilion providing pleasant places to sit and enjoy the landscape and scenery.

Both pavilions have also been restored, each having two floors with a floor area of approximately 3.5m x 3.8m. The east pavilion is used as a laundry room with two ‘Belfast’ sinks, plus a wood-lined store over. The west pavilion has a stone flagged ground floor providing a work space quietly situated away from the main house, the wood-lined lined first floor having been used as occasional basic guest accommodation in the summer months.

Finally on the east side of the house is a large store (approximately 9m x 6m) with power supply, and a large park to the rear.

Rateable Value

The property is currently commercially rated as a self-catering accommodation unit for which the Rateable Value is understood to be £2,900. Shetland Island Council currently offers a 100% Small Business Rates Relief scheme offering 100% rates relief to qualifying property owners.

Prospective purchasers should satisfy themselves in this regard by contacting the Council directly.

Property location

The property is situated close to the small ferry terminal at Belmont. Drive north from the ferry and turn first left.

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Important Information for Prospective Purchasers

This schedule is intended only to help you decide whether to view the property. We always recommend you view the property personally.

The information is believed to be correct, but it is not warranted and is not to form part of any contract of sale. All dates, distances, areas and room sizes noted are approximate and for use as a general guide only. Prospective purchasers should satisfy themselves as to the working condition or otherwise of any equipment such as central heating or kitchen appliances.

This schedule should not be taken as a comment on the condition of the property. This is a matter for your surveyor and we recommend that once you have found a property you are interested in, you obtain a survey report. We can provide details of surveyors if required.

Interested parties are advised to note their interest through their solicitor as soon as possible so that they can be informed if a closing date is fixed. Noting interest does not place any obligation on the seller to set a closing date or to give any noted interests the opportunity to offer. Whilst every effort will be made to advise noted interests of any closing date set, this cannot be guaranteed.

No responsibility will be accepted for expenses incurred by parties who have noted interest but do not get an opportunity to offer, or for any expenses incurred traveling to properties which have been sold or withdrawn.

We were extremely pleased with the service that your office provided and also that of Sharon Nisbet.
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Belmont House, Unst, ZE2 9DW