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Dochfour was another Victorian estate that was pointed out to us on our tour on Loch Ness.
Dochfour is a Victorian terraced garden surrounding a historic 18th-century house, home of the Baillie family for over 500 years. There are terraced Italianate gardens near the loch, and parkland rising to woodland above the house.
In 1442 Alexander Gordon, Earl of Huntly, was one of the royalist leaders at the Battle of Brechin, against the forces supporting the Black Douglases. One of Gordon’s supporters was his cousin, Alexander Baillie. Baillie distinguished himself in the Battle, and Gordon rewarded him with the baronies of Dunain, Dochfour, Leys and Torbreck, and named him Constable of Inverness Castle. The Baillie family still retain Dochfour today, more than 560 years later.
Dochfour House stands on a rise of ground looking out over Loch Dochfour. The first house on this spot was burned during the Jacobite Rebellion in 1745 and rebuilt in 1780 in its current form. A family legend says that at the time of the Rebellion, the Baillie owner of the estate hid in a cave in the hill above the house to escape from English troops.
In 1839 Evan Baillie called in architect William Robertson to remodel the Georgian house in Italianate style, much like an ornate Italian villa. The house is a mix of styles, integrating the original Georgian building with Victorian and Edwardian renovations. The result has pleased royalty, for Prince Albert reportedly wrote to Queen Victoria in 1847 that Dochfour was ‘beautiful, the house elegant with a fine garden’.
Not open to the public to visit, but you can see it from Loch Dochfour via watercraft.