When an Estate Agent’s alarm goes off before 6am, a long shift is in prospect, but at Robb Residential that day will likely involve land and sea, encompassing some of the best terrain and sights the west of Scotland, its coasts and islands, have to offer. It’s a benchmark for our personalised, tailored service: we want to see and experience your property and its surrounds, allowing us to represent everything the home, its grounds, environs and connectivity have to offer. As one of our online competitors makes property headlines for falling profits – in a uniquely busy market – and possible HMRC issues around their staff employment status, we thought showcasing some of our work would be of interest to clients old, new, and prospective. Not many Estate Agents are on six boats in one day.
The radio alarm comes to life just before 6am, the gentle tones of Radio 4 seeping into the master bedroom. Sometimes it’s straight up and at it, but on other days a few more minutes of slumber are needed, accompanied by Tweet of The Day, its birdsong fitting for the hours ahead. After a jolt of caffeine and a light breakfast, it’s a drive to Gourock for the departure of the Western ferry to Hunters Quay in Dunoon. This crossing is almost as solid as a bridge, as Western sail in most weathers. During the 20 minutes that follow, it’s time to make some calls, check and send an email or two, and enjoy the – hopefully – clear morning skies as the sun glitters on the Clyde as it and the Holy Loch dissolve into one. On a rare occasion, the traveller might spot a pilot whale or two, their long fins cutting through the surface water. These beautiful mammals might prefer the offshore depths, but it’s not unknown for them to venture closer to our world. Boat #1 has delivered me on time, and it’s onward to the day’s first instruction.
From Hunters Quay it’s a 23-mile drive to Tighnabruaich, home of my initial appointment. The drive and destination are often magical, the panoramic views of the Kyles of Bute and their lush straits ideal for tourist and local boats alike. And it’s not unusual to see the famous Waverley: built in 1946, and named for Sir Walter Scott’s first novel, the world’s last sea-going paddle steamer has been providing excursion fun for decades.
At all instructions we are keen to understand your requirements as a seller, and how they might dovetail with our known buyers, or the open market: if our visit takes an hour or as long as three hours, it’s important we get to know you and your property. After my first instruction, it’s a nod to the old steamer and time to hit the road to Portavadie. Situated on the far west side of the Cowal Peninsula, Portavadie began its life as a home for various trades and industries related to North Sea oil. Its modern economic history was inauspicious until 2009, when the marina was first used to tie-up yachts. In the seven years that followed, a new marina complex, luxury homes, a conference space, spas and other accoutrements for high-end visitors have made this small haven a choice destination, especially for seafarers. A fine case of “if you build it, they will come.”
Boat #2 is the Calmac ferry that takes me west across to Tarbert, home of my next meeting. In fair weather it’s great to sit out and enjoy some digital detox while watching seals, otters, salmon farms and diving gannets at work. Tarbert is a beautiful harbour town now home to yachting and seafood festivals, as well as an amusement fair that passes through annually. After my second stop, unlike Magnus Barefoot, King of Norway, I don’t have to carry my transport – in his case it was a boat, signalling his power and ownership over the Western Isles – west across the isthmus, and instead I am in the car and on the A83 to Tayinloan and another Calmac crossing, boat #3. After more work on my iPhone, I disembark onto Gigha, and an opportunity to pitch for some work for the island’s Heritage Trust.
Since 2002, the island of Gigha has been community-owned, and this is just the latest innovation on an island inhabited since before the Iron Age. The origins of the name Gigha are disputed, but that doesn’t obscure the rich Norse, Gaelic and Scottish histories of this outpost inhabited by fewer than 200 good folk. The growing community that binds this society is fired by the tales of seafarers from ancient times and the likes of the Battle of Largs (1263) to the modern day that saw three wind turbines installed, producing electricity for local consumption and sale to the National Grid.
If I continued further west my next call would be Islay, accompanied perhaps by a fine malt and maybe a quick game of golf in the morning but, alas, it’s time to head homeward. Not for me via the grassy landing strip on Gigha and a quick hop to Glasgow but, instead, courtesy of the three crossings that smoothly delivered me here, I return towards the city. It’s poignant to depart an island with links to pre-historic times and mediaeval history, only to find oneself on the internet and Robb Residential’s mailing list, identifying from our clients and others who have registered those interested parties for our two residential listings, in Tignabruaich and Tarbert.
On the drive and three boats back, I realise I’ve had no lunch, but a couple of coffees here and there have sustained me. With all three instructions secured, life feels good and I realise – again – I have a job that I love. The journey from Gigha to home is likely followed by a late night or early start, the better to get our personalised, high-quality brochure out to our marketplace; and the properties listed on the web. If you have a property you want to sell, Robb Residential, like that Western ferry between Dunoon and Hunters Quay, will come out in almost all weathers.
Robb Residential are an Estate Agent based in Glasgow who deal in a range of unique and beautiful properties in the middle-to-prime market in Scotland. For more information, please contact us, email or call on 0141 225 3880.
Note: statistics, percentages and references are correct at the time of writing.