A Visit To Boleskine House

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Members of LAShTAL.COM will be aware that Boleskine House was, for a few years between the sale of the property by Jimmy Page and the death of the purchaser, used as a Bed and Breakfast or Hotel. Frater FS was fortunate enough to spend a number of weekends there as a paying guest.

We are fortunate that he provided LAShTAL.COM with a detailed account of one of his visits.

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Having stalked at the end of the drive for, to my certain knowledge, the last five years, it was a great joy to at last motor up the drive a free man. You’ve obviously seen outside pix of the house, but you pull in at the back in front of a stone entrance door, with steps at the front leading up to a raised garden which slopes upwards. 

[My partner] was slightly unnerved there appeared to be no indication Boleskine now takes guests at all – but as we stepped in, the lady of the house – Mrs MacGillivray – appeared larger than life, and welcome us in. She is extremely amiable, prob late 50s, and a former hotelier.

Your intrepid reporter learned the following facts. The House was bought in 1992 from Page. The current owners saw it advertised in Country Life magazine, where it was once advertised before in 1954. A con-artist was in fact ahead of them in the queue to buy from page – a man who claimed to be a theatrical agent, but ran up a theatrically large bill (£3000) at two local hotels before leaving without settling up. Boleskine was more or less a shell when the MacGillivrays moved in, and it was not inhabited for three years after purchase. Jimmy – who I read has a keen regard for a pound note – had not done much in the way of upkeep, except to spend a large amount on the roofing (for which he received part funding in the form of a grant!). The middle room was also divided into a separate flat for the caretaker, Malcolm Dent. Despite having been promised a house and some land by Page, the pair fell out and Dent then sold a couple of lurid kiss’n’tells to local newspapers about demonic life in the house etc. Mine hostess said Page resorted to the more earthly remedy of dispatching some heavies up from London on the plane to remove Dent. He is still to be seen floating about Foyers from time to time…obviously being Jimmy Page’s ex-caretaker has only got a limited earnings capacity attached to it.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch….inside, the family have moved what look like the trappings of former hotels they have owned in – ie prints of Culloden, moose heads, antique weapons etc in. tartan drapes in the living room, huge blazing fires in the three large rooms which form the spine of the house. The owner has six rooms to let but tends to let only three. So far, the house is only advertised on the Internet, so I would say nobody turns up without knowing of the Crowley connection. The owner thought about not letting any rooms out to rent after one guest, a New Yorker and obvious hard-core Crowley fan, came in and spent the evening on his lap top sending messages who knows where.

Our room was very luxurious, with huge en-suite bathroom. In fact, the whole effect is very country house – ie drinks in the drawing room before dinner.

To cap it all, we were in fact the only guests there – so we dined alone in candlelit room overlooking the loch. What an ultimate rock-star pad.

The gardens are also great, sloping up to a Lilly pond at the back (might prps be the area of grass Page is seen on in the Song Remains the Same) and falls run inside the grounds as it slopes steeply upwards (again, I’d hazard that was the climbing up to the hooded figure in the film).

So, imagine the scene – virtual silver service, just the two of us. The amiable lady of the house told us mail arrives roughly every fortnight addressed to Jimmy Page, generally from young women who send enticing pictures of themselves and almost unrepeatable offers.

Two young pale Goth women who once came to an event at the house were found wandering about by MacGillivray, who asked them what they were up to. “Looking for the altar,” came the reply. She then, tongue in cheek, said would they like a drink in the drawing room – blood was of course available.

Also resident in the house is a 10st Great Dane, who proves better than any alarm at repelling unwanted oddballs. MacGillivray said one night a couple came up the drive at 2am having ‘lost their way’ (yeh right) and got a mystical encounter with the dog. The gatehouse, incidentally, is rented out to a young couple.

Slipping into Judith Chalmers mode, we stayed for two nights. So, a sumptuous four-course meal on both nights, aperitifs, wine with the meal and drinks afterwards, plus obscenely huge full breakfast were thrown in. Final reckoning £300 for two, which we thought splendid for such an experience.

And cheap at the price to live like a dissolute rockstar for 48 hours!

Alas, no mystical sightings or bits of Crowley book left around. I half hoped to find a forgotten Gibson lying in the gardens as we wondered.

I cannot commend it highly enough if you can manage the trip. But I would say the owner has keen antennae for overly strange Crowley visitors, so it probably pays to tone down one’s interest a bit in public. Having said that, she contemplated (half seriously) selling Boleskine bottled water complete with claimed powers. And the sad thing is, I’d probably buy it!

© Copyright 1999 Frater FS

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