The restoration and conversion of what is thought to be the longest listed building in Britain, at a whopping quarter of a mile long, is reaching its final phase.
After standing empty for two decades, the magnificent Grade II Craig Dunain Hospital in Inverness, renamed Great Glen Hall, is now a series of unique properties with work due to be completed at the end of this year.
The huge undertaking is being carried out by Robertson Homes which has employed teams of master craftsmen to transform the building.
Coming back to life
The exterior has been restored to its Victorian glory while the interior provides 30 apartments and 27 terraces and townhouses with views over Inverness and up to the Great Glen Way.
The first residents have moved in and only five homes remain for sale.
Lorna Steele, from the Highland Archive Centre, said: “When Robertson bought the site, a lot of the team came to our centre to look at the records and found all the old photographs and plans of the building really fascinating.”
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Brian McBride, who has overseen the project, said: “It is not a standard site but the satisfaction in seeing it come back to life has been incredible for the whole team and the reaction of people living here now is just inspiring.”
Working with Historic Scotland, the teams had to find innovative ways to create new spaces without damaging the fabric of the building.
Brian said: “We took the building back to its original stone walls and constructed individual timber frames for each apartment which then sit within the shell and are incredibly energy efficient.
I remember seeing it for the first time and just thinking, wow!”
Jacqui McPherson, sales manager
“Some of the ceiling heights in the spaces are amazing – the tallest is more than four metres.
“We have had stonemasons working on the original 1864 sandstone, which all had to be repointed with lime mortar, and it was great to be able to use local firms to do the work.
“The biggest technical challenge was repairing the roofs on the two distinctive towers.
“They were removed and rebuilt on the ground before being craned back into place.”
A specialist local firm was also employed to re-slate the vast expanse of roof, replace leadwork and introduce hidden ventilation under the eaves.
Robertson worked with nature conservation bodies to accommodate bats, kestrels and owls into the development.
Jacqui McPherson, sales manager North for Robertson Homes, said: “I remember seeing it for the first time and just thinking, wow!”
Brian added: “It reminds me of a Cinderella castle.”
Prices start at £295,000 for a three-bedroom terrace.