A mum has told of how she spent a quarter of a million pounds on a derelict 15th century castle with the plan of turning it into a wedding venue.
Nicole Rudder, a 32-year-old owner of a car insurance company, has embarked on a huge renovation project after falling in love with the dilapidated Garrion Tower, near Wishaw.
The Lanarkshire woman’s plans to turn the venue into a luxury wedding venue are now underway, after she broke the news of her purchase to her husband.
Speaking to the Daily Record , she said: “I had to go home and tell my husband I’d bought a castle and he wasn’t too pleased at first.”
Nicole was originally sent the advert for the sale of the tower as a joke by a friend but, after taking a drive to view the building, she fell in love with it and snapped it up.
She added: “I put the offer in without telling anyone and was shocked when I got the call to say it was mine. People think I’m mad but I knew when I saw it I could make this place something special again.”
“This is my dream and hearing my two young daughters talk about mummy buying a castle was a real moment for me. I want my daughters to grow up knowing that girls can do anything they want and everything is possible with hard work.”
Built in 1484, it was originally a summer home to the bishops of Glasgow and later used as part of a fruit and vegetable farm.
Set within the Clyde Valley near Wishaw, Lanarkshire, the 19-room B-listed building was boarded up in 2008 and then acquired by a London-based firm who planned to knock it down and use the land for a housing development.
In 2018 the castle had fallen into such disrepair it was added to Scotland’s Buildings at Risk Register.
But after planning applications to tear down the castle, which includes 4.5 acres of surrounding ground, were rejected, it was put up for sale in 2020 for offers over £600,000.
With no interest from potential buyers, the price was reduced to offers over £450,000.
In November, Nicole, from Chapelhall near Airdrie, placed an offer for £250,000 and it was accepted in February.
Nicole said: “It’s a beautiful building and I fell in love with it the minute I saw it. They just don’t make them like this any more.
“It has stood here empty and unloved for so long. My friend sent me the link as a joke and I laughed it off.
“But then I took a drive out to see it and the moment I saw it, I knew it was the one for me.”
Now Nicole, who owns non-fault car accident firm G4 Claims, has begun work to restore the historic building to its former glory and is hoping to open the doors to welcome her first wedding guests in the summer of 2024.
After consulting with contractors, she estimates it will cost £3million to £5million to renovate and restore the castle.
She is in the process of applying for restoration grants to help cover the costs but is keen to maintain as many original features as possible. Any artefacts already discovered in the building will be put on display when the venue finally opens its doors.
Nicole plans to repair the castle’s many rooms and hopes to offer future brides the special turret room to get dressed in before their wedding.
The mum added: “It’s just an old dilapidated shell at the moment. The windows are boarded up and the ones that aren’t are smashed in.
“The turret has collapsed, causing part of the first and second floor to come down as well. But one day I hope to offer the bridal party that room in the tower to get ready in for their big day.
“We are going to need to go in through the roof with a crane to remove much of the rubble as that is the section that is already damaged. We plan to blast out the windows and then make sure everything is watertight before winter creeps in.
“But once we have ripped out all the rubble from the inside, we will have something to work with. Only then will we be able to map out plans for the inside.
“The outside of the building will remain the same and we hope to put on an extension at the back, which will serve as the ceremony room for our weddings, along with a bar and restaurant for guests and locals.”
Nicole is consulting with community groups and is in the process of recording personal stories from locals who had links to the building in an effort to preserve its history. She hopes her venture will breathe new life into the area as well as creating jobs.
She said: “This beautiful place is a part of history. It doesn’t need someone coming in and ripping its heart out, it needs someone to give it the love and attention it deserves.
“I have been speaking to people from the community as I want the people who live in this area to be included in the process of bringing this place back to life. We have been overwhelmed with people sending us old photos and sharing stories of the families who used to live and work here.
“We want to hear from anyone who has any stories or any information and wants to help in the process. We have set up a YouTube channel so people can follow the whole restoration process online.
“This is not something new but bringing new life to something that has withstood the test of time.”