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Wildflower meadow at famous Boleskine House will help fight climate change and create a colourful new tourist attraction by Loch Ness

By Alasdair Fraser

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How restored Boleskine House will look.
How restored Boleskine House will look.

A VAST “sea of colour” from millions of native wildflowers will become a tourist attraction above the southern shore of Loch Ness if owners of a historic mansion succeed in a fundraiser.

Keith and Kyra Readdy, who are restoring fire-stricken Boleskine House, aim to play a part in combating the climate crisis by creating the eco-friendly wildflower meadow.

The Boleskine Foundation is teaming up with the Aviva Community Fund to progress the idea, with plans already in place for an initial six acre garden near the famous building.

The owners say the project, set to begin next year, will help reverse the decline of wildflower meadows which support a variety of wildlife and trap greater amounts of carbon from the atmosphere than woodland.

The setting would incorporate a new vista viewpoint with 180 degree loch views and has the potential to become a major lure to tourists and visitors beside the world famous home of the Loch Ness Monster.

The Aviva Community Fund has pledged to match every public donation up to £50.

Launched during the COP26 conference, more than £4,000 has been pledged already.

As well as planting flower seeds and trees, the foundation aims to build new footpaths and benches on the site.

It would also offer seeds to neighbouring properties and residents to allow people to create smaller wildflower areas in their gardens.

The Royal Botanic Gardens Kew says wildflower meadows are one of the rarest habitats in the UK, with 97 per cent lost since the 1930s.

Mr Readdy, the Foundation’s chairman, said: “We want to do our part to reverse the decline.

“We are delighted that Aviva has chosen our project to be part of its Climate Fund, which will help us create a meaningful impact in the local area.

Render removed from Boleskine House.
Render removed from Boleskine House.

“Wildflower meadows can hold nearly three times more carbon than tree planting alone in the same area.

“This is precisely one of the reasons for our ambitious project.

“We have been overwhelmed by the response. The launch was very timely, in line with COP26, and the fact we hit our target so quickly shows that it means a lot to people.

“The ultimate plan is to get a new viewpoint for people overlooking the meadow.

“We hope it can set a trend for other large landowners to do the same thing.

“If everybody did it we could lower the carbon footprint quite significantly.

“The idea is to turn the area into a sea of colour. When people come to visit they will be able to walk through the meadow.

“It’s not just facilitating the ecosystem and lowering the carbon footprint, it will also allow people to be in nature as a therapeutic exercise.”

Mr Readdy and his wife Kyra bought the famous home - past home to rock star Jimmy Page, occultist Aleister Crowley and the Fraser clan - in July 2019.

Just days later, it was hit by a second devastating fire in four years.

A number of fundraising campaigns have enabled the Foundation to begin a major rebuild on the B listed building.

The cost for the rebuild of Boleskine House is estimated to be £1.6 million, of which £250,000 will be spent on the restored roof.

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