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How the oyster saved the fortunes of Scottish estate Ardkinglas in Argyll

Ardkinglas in Cairndow, Argyll, is a dream vision of the ancient Scottish country house. Standing at the head of Loch Fyne, Scotland’s longest sea loch, the vast pile appears like a great romantic jumble of crow-stepped gables and witch’s hat towers, roofed with tiles the colour of malt Scotch whisky. 

Except that Ardkinglas is something entirely different from that first clichéd vision. It isn’t that ancient: the house was erected in 1907, built within a year by Sir Robert Lorimer, “the Scottish Lutyens”, and master of the arts and crafts movement. 

He equipped it with mod cons that were unusual for the time. Ardkinglas was the first new house in Scotland to have electricity built into it, and…