Born and raised in a fishing family in Peterhead, Sandy Thain was perhaps expected to follow in the footsteps of previous generations – destined for a life at sea.
Although he had nothing but respect for those who had gone before him, Sandy opted for an entirely different career.
He studied medicine at Aberdeen University and became a GP, before joining the oil industry as a senior medical officer.
He led teams off the rugged shore of Shetland before heading for an altogether different climate in Abu Dhabi.
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Sandy’s career may have seen him travel the world, but there was only one place he wished to return to upon retirement – home.
Having arrived back in the north-east from a secondment abroad, Sandy’s family predicted he would last six months before heading back to work.
He in fact stayed the course for 24 years, having found his dream home in Inverugie, near Peterhead.
It’s no surprise that Sandy did not wish to stray far from Castle Coach House, with its sprawling grounds complete with a historic castle ruin.
Gorgeous views of the River Ugie, sheltered woodland areas and a quirky ice house once used by castle servants are all on offer, and the search is on for new owners.
Sandy unfortunately passed away having been diagnosed with cancer but his family believe he lived out his retirement in complete happiness thanks to his very own fortress.
His son, Ian Thain, who is a finance broker and lives in Inverurie, is hopeful that the four-bedroom property can be passed into safe hands.
“When dad got Castle Coach House, he wanted to be home back among his own folk as the saying goes,” said Ian.
“He was the second of six siblings, he grew up with not much money.
“Inverugie was seen as a completely different world, but he fell in love with how unique it is.
“In his childhood, it was very much a wow place. This idea of living out by the river, and he finally got to live out his dream in retirement.
“We all thought he would be bored after six months but his home became like the Forth Rail Bridge. He was always finding something to do in the grounds.”
Gardens are paradise for children
The Castle Coach House offers 1.6 acres in total, and has to be seen to be believed.
The property itself would make the ideal family home, and the gardens are a child’s paradise.
But despite the impressive history, the sizeable pad also offers versatility. The lounge and sitting room are set on an open-plan level and have a wonderful cosy feel.
A separate dining room overlooks the garden, while further stunning views can be found via the modern kitchen.
“I think the house appeals to all generations,” said Ian.
“There is a big window in the kitchen that looks out all the way down to the river. That was dad’s spot, particularly in the morning.
“The view was stunning all year round, whether the sun was shining or you could see even further in the winter when the trees were bare.
“There’s a lot on offer in so many different ways.”
A shower room completes the accommodation on the ground floor, while the large master bedroom can be found upstairs. It comes complete with a dressing room and en suite shower room.
The remaining three bedrooms are all of excellent size, and there is also a home office and bathroom.
But it is the grounds of the Castle Coach House which are the real jewel in the crown. The ruins of Inverugie Castle date back to the late 16th and early 17th Century, and are B listed by Historic Scotland.
The castle was once occupied by members of Clan Keith, and much of the original architecture can still be spotted today.
The main tower house is visible with round towers on the north-east and south-east corners.
To the west, a small archway leads to courtyards which are flanked by remains of buildings on the south.
If you can tear yourself away from the history, you can enjoy fishing rights on the river, or lounge on the patio.
“There’s a bit of a tale as to how dad came to own the castle ruins,” said Ian.
“He had a wonderful neighbour called Tam, and the pair of them became great friends.
“They each purchased one half of the ruins, and had this agreement. They said whoever died first, well the remaining man would buy that half of the castle.
“Tam, God rest him, passed away before my dad. So as per the agreement, dad bought his half as well.”
Ever one for practicality, Sandy also installed an extensive double garage on site – so you’ll never run out of space.
“My dad was a humble man, he came from that generation,” said Ian.
“He appreciated every single thing that he worked for. And in his 24 years spent at Castle Coach House, he appreciated it every single day.
“It was special to him, special to us and we hope it will be special to someone else.”
Offers should be made of more than £450,000.
Contact Galbraith on 01224 860710.