A brief history of Scourie Lodge
The Duke of Sutherland built Scourie Lodge in 1835 for his new bride, the Duchess. Perhaps surprisingly, the Duchess did not enjoy living here, preferring their main residence, Dunrobin Castle. Consequently, in 1845, the Duke allowed Mr Evander MacIver (pronounced ‘Maceever’) to reside at the Lodge. MacIver was a Factor to the Duke from 1845 until 1895. During the latter part of that time, he was also working for the Duke of Westminster. MacIver was a very educated man who had attended three universities, but he was very unpopular with the local people, from whom he collected taxes. It is said that he played a part in the ‘Highland Clearances’.
Following his retirement, MacIver continued to live at the Lodge until his death on the 10th January 1903, and is buried, with his wife and some of his children, in Scourie Burial Ground. He had 11 children, of which only four survived into adulthood. During MacIver’s residence at Scourie Lodge, Prime Minister Gladstone visited several times for holidays.
For many years after MacIver’s death, the Lodge was used for guests of the Duke of Sutherland. Amongst the more notable visitors were Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (the late Queen Elisabeth, the Queen Mother) and the famous author J. M. Barrie. The Lodge was sold by the Duke in the 1940’s, became a private residence, and was later used briefly as a hotel.
Around the time of the Second World War, the Lodge and Gardens fell into ruin. During the 1970’s, a Swiss gentleman named Mr Halfner bought them. He spent a small fortune renovating Scourie Lodge, re-designing and modernising its interior to that which exists today.
The Lodge changed hands twice more before being bought by Gerald and Penny Klein in 1993. They ran it as a very successful Bed and Breakfast until they retired in 2016 when they passed on the custodianship to Angus Marland and Elisabeth Tønsberg.
The great-grandson of Evander MacIver, together with his own son, visited from South Africa in 1998.