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Island home fit for Captain Jack

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Grab your oars and row to view one of Shetland’s most unusual properties, writes Susan Welsh


Here’s a contender for the title Bargain Home of the Year.
For around the same as you might pay for a one-bedroom flat in Aberdeen, you can get your hands on Jackville, a historic Grade B-listed house in Shetland which dates from 1834.


It comes with a boathouse, three boats, a stone pier and 54 acres of land which includes the headland of the Strom Ness peninsular. But there’s a wee catch – the location, Binna Ness, South Whiteness, is somewhat challenging.


Although just a stone’s throw from ‘civilisation’ on the other side of the voe, there is no road to the house, and it would take around two hours to walk there from the head of the voe.


The quickest way to get there is via a short, five-minute boat trip across Strom Ness Voe from the Pund at the southern tip of the South Whiteness peninsular.


Another slight drawback might be that there’s no power to the house, but it does have a water connection and a phone line.


The location sets Jackville apart from other homes as it sits in a ‘get-away-from-it-all’ spot, enjoying stunning far-reaching views of the surrounding seascape, to the island of North Havra to the west, and to Hildasay and beyond to Burra in the distance, to the south.


t’s not a home for the faint-hearted, but that, of course, is part of its appeal and reflected in the asking price of the house which requires major renovation.


But, if you’re willing to put in the effort, the reward will be a home that’s full of character in an idyllic setting. Its name comes from the first owner – one Captain Jack who built the house for himself and his wife in 1834.


It would have been no easy feat, as the dressed stone used to build the house had to be transported over a bullock track which ran along the ridge of Strom Ness.


The house was subsequently owned by a number of families, the two ‘front’ doors suggesting two separate dwellings, the property being known as ‘Jackville One and Two’ in the 1861 census.


Later the house and estate comprising the lands of Strom Ness & South Whiteness, was purchased by Andrew Smith of Assater, North Mavine, who returned to Scotland a wealthy man, having made his fortune overseas.


The house was used in the summer months, the wooden wing at the rear built to accommodate his large family. The property remained in the family and was later renovated in the 1960’s when an outside toilet was added.


Again the house was mainly used as a summer residence, although for a number of years in the 1970’s it was occupied all year round, also forming the base for a successful knitwear business.


Further work was carried out in the early 1990s, although it has not been used for any significant period of time for some eight or nine years now.


Today, Jackville still has the original rectangular, three-bay symmetrical stone-built main building, plus a wooden extension at the rear and a porch to the front.


Accommodation includes three well-proportioned rooms, a large front porch, and two rooms in the rear extension, on the ground floor, plus three large bedrooms and a bathroom on the first floor.


As previously stated, there’s no power to the house so a small wind turbine would be perhaps the simplest way of providing power to the house or a generator could be used. In the past a gas-lighting system was in operation and although this is still in existence, it has not been used for some considerable time and is probably unsafe.


Drainage is currently direct to the sea. This will be registered on sale and may include a condition that a septic tank be installed by the purchaser within five years. Any alterations would be subject to obtaining the necessary consents.


Outside, the house has a stone-flagged area and a large walled garden featuring original plants including tiger lilies, mombresia and bluebells, and two large vegetable patches. Outbuildings include a wood-lined boatsman’s room, a large store room, workshop, and a further large room, outside toilet and a further small room with the remains of an old sand cistern toilet and separate two-seater toilet.
To the north of the house is a stone pier and a large boathouse containing three boats in varying states of repair.


The property is being sold complete with all the furniture currently remaining, aside from some personal effects, and is open to offers over £150,000.

Contact: Dowle Smith & Rutherford on 01595 695583.