Pleasure / March 2019

Inside the Most Exclusive Member's Club in the World

With new life (read investment) breathed into it, the Tulchan Estate is once again the jewel of the Scottish Highlands.

A Scottish estate whose guests over the years have included the likes of King Edward VII, George V, President Teddy Roosevelt and the US titan of industry William Vanderbilt might sound like just the place a Russian oligarch might buy as a weekend retreat. With its 120-year-old Edwardian lodge, 22,000 acres of moorland and forest and eight miles of Spey fishing - one of the greatest salmon and trout fishing spots in the world - it would be the ideal place to play out country sports once the reserve of those with titles and their own shooting grounds. There’s pheasant and grouse aplenty.

Indeed, when Yuri Schefler - the billionaire behind the S.P.I Group of alcohol brands, Stolichnaya vodka being the best known - paid something in the region of £25m for the estate in 2017, it looked like he might be getting a bargain. But it wasn’t as simple as that. Schefler’s plan was less that of a new squire and more that of a conservationist - because Tulchan was not alone in having grown rather tired.

“Like any working estate in Scotland, Tulchan was just ticking along - but investing in these estates to secure their future requires a lot of enthusiasm and capital,” says the estate’s director Laura Irwin - a woman in a very male, rather gruff and tweedy world. “It will take a lot to get Tulchan back to its glory days as a sporting estate, with the lodge as its centrepiece. But there’s an awareness that it needs that to be more than just another of Scotland’s great estates fighting for survival.”

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Josh Sims

Josh Sims is a writer on menswear, design and much else for the likes of Wallpaper, CNN, Robb Report and The Times. He's the author of several books on menswear, the latest 'The Details', published by Laurence King. He lives in London, has two small children and is permanently exhausted.