The owner of Carbisdale Castle says nothing will shake her commitment to refurbish the landmark as she prepares to launch a private members’ club.
Samantha Kane, known as Lady Carbisdale, will unveil plans on Friday to lure international events to the venue.
The venture will target high-spending corporate groups, luxury travellers and celebrities.
The owner aims to have Carbisdale Castle recognised as one of the most prestigious private members’ clubs in the world within five years.
How much will Carbisdale Castle private members’ club cost to join?
It will open on February 1 and will set out to recruit 100 founder members each paying a £10,000 joining fee.
A further £550,000 could be raised from accommodation fees and advertising income.
Membership will be capped at 300 – a figure the Carbisdale Club hopes to achieve by 2029.
Lady Carbisdale bought the Sutherland castle in 2022 and has already spent £10 million on its renovation.
She has set her sights on the castle becoming a smaller-scale version of venues like Davos, the town in the Swiss Alps that hosts the annual world economic forum.
However, she insists it will be done alongside community events, while creating up to 90 jobs.
The latest development comes just two months after heated confrontations involving Lady Carbisdale and members of the community resulted in police being called.
It followed a meeting on November 21 of Ardgay and District Community Council, of which she is vice chair, to discuss her plans to buy a seven-acre plot near the castle.
The community council voted against the proposal due to doubts over the local benefits from the purchase.
It later said it received several complaints from the public in response to events following the meeting.
The issue will be discussed at the next meeting next month.
Police also confirmed they were called to a disturbance in Ardgay on November 23. They said a woman was issued with a warning relating to a previous incident two days before.
Lady Carbisdale, who accused some local people of discrimination, declined to comment on the incidents and said she has “moved on”.
She said: “I can’t see why a small event in Ardgay can overshadow something so great.
“We are talking about a very small group of individuals who unfortunately are driven by negative emotions such as envy, prejudice or some fear of change.
“It’s not going to stop anything. No individual or small group of individuals will be allowed to destroy an iconic landmark for generations to come.
“Nothing is affecting the project. Whatever happened, as far as I am concerned, is forgotten about.
“People can say their opinions. There might be heated arguments here and there, but we move on.
“None of that is important or will make any difference to our plans which will have tremendous public benefits.
“Nothing will shake my commitment to serve the good people of Argday and Sutherland and the Highlands.”
Carbisdale Castle is ‘paradise on earth’
She said the Carbisdale Club offers a unique setting for corporate events and meetings as well as “fairy tale” weddings.
Income will help fund the ongoing restoration and upkeep of the building. It costs around £1 million a year to run.
“It’s not a bad thing to attract wealthy people which can create jobs and bring money into the wider area.
“The only thing I want to do is save Carbisdale Castle. I’m in love with this iconic building.
“For me this is paradise on earth and I want to make it beautiful and make it last for generations to come.
“When I moved here it reminded me of Switzerland. Using Carbisdale to attract international business leaders to enjoy a Highland retreat is one of my aims.
“Obviously, we are not going to become Davos, but we can be, on a smaller scale, an effective force for Scotland.”
But she said the castle will also still be used for community events.
“I have a commitment to the community which is, while we could have international business leaders here, we will still have time for small community events, while also providing employment, particularly for young people.”