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Elegant surroundings and impressive coastal views go hand-in-hand at this fine Orkney home

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If walls could talk, Roeberry House at South Ronaldsay, Orkney, could tell stories worth listening to.

The house, regarded as one of Orkney’s finest country houses, was built in 1861 for William Gray, a wealthy cotton merchant returned from Ceylon, and the house stayed in the Gray family for almost 150 years.

Over the years the house has had many a special visitor cross its threshold, including HM Queen Elizabeth II and HRH Princess Anne for social visits to the then Lord Lieutenant of Orkney, Malcolm Dennison.

Roeberry also played its part in the wartime Scapa Flow operations and was requisitioned as Naval Command HQ.


Today, it’s a wonderful property that’s been tastefully upgraded and would make a fine family home or an impressive country house offering bed and breakfast. Thanks to its special coastal location, it enjoys fine views of the sea on three sides.

To the north and west, the house overlooks Scapa Flow towards the island of Hoy and mainland Orkney.

Enclosed by a high drystone wall which runs round the four acres of gardens and grounds which provides privacy and shelter from the elements, this is a solidly built stone house, true to its Victorian heritage which still retains plenty of original features.

These include large sash windows, tiled and wooden floors, elaborate plasterwork and cornicing, some open fireplaces and handsomely proportioned rooms.

Following in the footsteps of those VIPs who have visited before, when you enter the main hall today you can’t help but be impressed by the beautiful stone staircase.

The reception rooms are arranged off the hall and include an elegant drawing room with a bay window overlooking the Pentland Firth; a study with built-in bookshelves, a small sitting room or pool room; formal dining room and a library with fine views which is a particularly pleasant place to sit.


A modern, double-glazed conservatory is possibly the best place of all to enjoy almost 360-degree views of the sea and striking landscape. The spacious kitchen is in the east wing and is a warm and welcoming place for family socialising.

The room has a Stanley range cooker, which provides hot water, as well as an eight-burner gas hob, fitted cupboards, marble counters and wood flooring.

There are seven bedrooms at Roeberry House (or potentially eight if the upstairs drawing room, with its wood-burning stove, was made into a further bedroom).

In the main house one en-suite bedroom is on the ground floor, the remaining four are upstairs, including the master suite. There is also a family bathroom.

The first-floor wing is home to a self-contained flat that has two en-suite bedrooms and is accessed independently via a staircase from the rear hallway.

The gardens and grounds at Roeberry House are a delight to explore. There are four acres of manicured lawns and a lovely sycamore wooded glade which, in May, is filled with bluebells.

There is a former rose garden with pond (dubbed the secret garden), a kitchen garden and well planted herbaceous borders, a collection of fuchsias and hedging which creates pleasing, natural divisions within the grounds.


An excellent range of practical outbuildings completes this imposing and historic island property that’s ready to welcome in new owners, their friends and guests.

Contact: Savills Fochabers office on 01343 823005.

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