Dougarie Estate covers 27 000 acres in the north west of the Isle of Arran. The principle house – Dougarie Lodge – was built in 1865 as a summerhouse for the 11th Duke of Hamilton; subsequently other buildings, including the deer larder, walled garden and boathouse were added to comprise the ‘nerve centre’ of the estate. The Gibbs family bought the estate in 1972 and live in the Lodge all year round.
The estate uses its natural beauty and resources to attract visitors and country sports are an important aspect of drawing people to the area. The River Iorsa is a spate river offering salmon and sea trout fishing from Loch Iorsa, where there is a boat and small boathouse, right down to the sea. Sea angling and lobster potting are also available using the estate’s 17 foot sea boat. There is a variety of game shooting at Dougarie both driven and walked up. The red deer stalking is a particular feature, and the views westwards to Islay, Jura (and even Mull on a clear day) are outstanding.
As well as fishing and field sports, Dougarie offers golf at Machrie Bay. Created in 1900 it is a charming 9 hole course beside the sea. Clubs and trolleys are available for hire and dogs are allowed to join golfers on the course. There is also a small putting green and a tennis court available for visitors to use and rackets can be hired from the tearoom.
The tearoom at the golf course provides lunches, snacks and drinks throughout the year. There is a children’s play area nearby and seating both inside and out. This encourages visitors to spend extra time and money in the area and provides the perfect place for locals to meet.
Dougarie offers guests a range of self-catering accommodation options from a luxurious country house sleeping up to 14 guests to smaller comfortable cottages. In order to attract a greater clientele they can also provide catering and housekeeping staff if desired. The properties are also child and pet friendly in recognition that people often want to enjoy the outdoors with their whole family. The Estate website has full information and photographs of each of the accommodation options.
The location of Dougarie Estate sells itself but by embracing digital marketing tools the estate manages to overcome its comparative remoteness and connect with potential visitors. The estate has an informative website and uses Scottish Country Sports Tourism Group to help market the available sporting. Dougarie is an active user of social media which helps them keep in contact with past and prospective visitors. Photographs are used to really show off the beautiful surroundings.
By promoting other activities and attractions on Arran the estate shows visitors a full package of things to do on their holiday and promotes Arran as a destination.