Anders Holch Povlsen inherited his family’s clothing company, Bestseller, when he was 28 – Forbes says he is now worth some $8 billion (the sum has been boosted by his largest-share in online fashion retailer ASOS). He and his family are passionate about Scotland, and so far they own 220,000 acres there, through their conservation company Wildland. There are 16 places to stay, hotels or self-catering.
All sound ideal for luxury travellers who want quality, but off the beaten track. Take Lundies House in Tongue, close to John O’Groats, which is as far north as you can get on mainland UK. The eight-bedroom Lundies House, named for one of the priests who lived there, was build as a church house (manse) in 1842. The newly-done interiors today are Scandinavian, 21st century, thanks to designers, Holch Povlsen’s wife Anne Storm Holch Povlsen, and Ruth Kramer. Their refined interiors and a profound sense of comfort – under-floor heating Egyptian sheets, Aesop toiletries, a welcome, on arrival, of home made ginger loaf on hand-made ceramics, plus Georg Jensen candlesticks and blazing log fires, all combine to create a house of simple beauty and stillness to which you arrive to relax, explore and enjoy the magnificent surrounding countryside and landscape. Nestled between some of the most famous bens in Scotland, Lundies House looks over stone walls towards the ruins of Caisteal Bharraich as the landscape opens into Kyle of Tongue and Tongue Bay. The former manse is recognised as a category B listed building, adjacent to the A listed St. Andrew’s Church where the good reverend preached.
A sibling property, Aldourie Castle on Loch Ness, re-opens March 2020 after an 18-month makeover: this has 13 bedrooms and there are also self-catering cottages.
The Povlsens’ Wildland Limited was formed to help take forward the conservation, protection and sustainable development of some of Scotland’s most rugged, precious and beautiful landscapes. Across three iconic regions of the Scottish Highlands, the Wildland project is dedicated to the restoration and vitality of one of the UK’s greatest land holdings. But it is not only here, in Scotland.
In Romania, they see great parallel with the Scottish Highlands., and opportunities to learn lessons from mistakes made in one country to ensure that they don’t become repeated in another. In Romania, Scotland can see an image of what its own glens and hillsides were like less than two centuries ago. Mile after mile of rich forestry and all of the wildlife that one might expect to thrive within it; including all of those magnificent apex predators that were also once a part of Scotland’s story. Bears, wolves and lynx for example were all indigenous in Scotland too, but man’s degradation of the landscape and focus towards commerce and profit soon meant that there was no longer a place for them and now they’re all long gone.
Alongside Wildland’s own holdings in Romania, the Povlsens are also supporting the Foundation Conservation Carpathia project (FCC), to create a new National Park in Europe – from the Ukrainian border in the North, right down to the Danube – that can be a rival in scale, scope and beauty to the Yellowstone and Yosemite National Parks in the United States.
It’s not just in Europe though. In Africa too – in Tanzania, in Botswana and Rwanda – Wildland has acquired significant estates where it believes the same philosophies can apply and where land, the wildlife that lives upon it and the communities that exist alongside can thrive in harmony. …a harmony which is absent when only modern pressures and money are allowed to drive the dynamics of a place.