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Pictured at the time of the opening in 2012

A modern broch in South Harris is a major feature when, bags packed and ready to go, Scotland’s Greatest Escape returns for another series later this month, travelling the  length and breadth of the country to find the ultimate holiday getaway.

Presented by Grado (Graeme Stevely, the professional wrestler and actor) each week two expert judges visit three different holiday locations vying for the title of Scotland’s Greatest Escape. 

The series starts on Wednesday 28 February with the ‘Unique and Unusual’ category where each escape must have accommodation with an unconventional structure, layout or design.

Scoring the locations out of 10, industry experts Fiona Campbell and Vanessa Kanbi must decide whether Out of the Blue in the village of Drimnin;  The Broch; or The Tabernacle which sits north west of Perth, will win the ‘Unique and Unusual’ category and head to the grand final.

The search begins on Scotland’s west coast at Out of the Blue. Next, the judges head to The Broch at Borve in south Harris. Situated on the Bovre Lodge Estate, The Broch is a three-storey drystone building with a turf roof, inspired by Iron Age structures, which was completed and first opened to guests 12 years ago.

Owners Cathra and Adam Kelliher bought the estate in 2008 and took three years to build The Broch with Stornoway-based Lewis Buidlers.  Cathra’s father David Horrobin bought the estate in 1985 after establishing the pharmaceuticals business which is now BASF at Breasclete, Isle of Lewis.

The couple also own Taransay, the UK’s largest uninhabited island at 3,800 acres.  Adam 61, and Cathra, 55, have told the Sunday Times recently how they aim to return the island to its natural condition, full of trees, heather and flowers and with mammals including deer, wild cattle, ponies, pigs, beaver, elks and Scottish wild cats. They hope it will become a model for the restoration of other environments scarred by human exploitation.

“When we took all the sheep off in 2019 there was an immediate explosion of flowers and wildlife, but then massive grasses started to smother that wildlife because there were not the mammals there to eat the grass,” Kelliher said. “If we left it without helping it along by reintroducing mammals, then it would not necessarily turn out nicely. It is not just about leaving it, it is about undoing the damage we have done.

 “Our vision is to take the island back into pre-intensive grazing, back to the Bronze Age. It will be covered by Atlantic rainforest. We are not talking about the Scottish straight pine, we are talking about a myriad of deciduous trees that thrived in the past.”

The couple are working with Dr Tim Coles, a pioneer of “biodiversity credits” in which companies and wealthy philanthropists can help offset ecological damage by investing in the improvements on Taransay.

The island will also be used by the survival expert Eliza Brown, 26, who will teach guests how to cope for themselves in a real-life castaway experience.

“People want to know how could they survive if stranded on an island or shipwrecked,” Brown said. She works with former members of the SAS and Commandos to provide survival trips costing from about £25,000 for a three-night experience for four to six guests. Brown said there had been a surge of interest since the Covid lockdowns.

“People want to re-equip themselves with skills and knowledge,” Brown told the Times/Sunday Times. “They want to think outside the box again, which they don’t have to in modern life.”

Scotland’s Greatest Escape, Ep1/8 – ‘Unique & Unusual’. Wednesday 28 February. BBC Scotland HD, 10.00-10.30pm

The view from the Broch towards Borve Lodge taken at the time of the official opening of the Broch in 2012.