Plans to turn former home of 'wickedest man in the world' into holiday retreat approved
Plans have been approved to restore the former Highland home of occultist Aleister Crowley as a historic visitor attraction and holiday retreat.
Boleskine House at Foyers, which overlooks Loch Ness and was gutted by fire in 2019, will now be rebuilt with 10 ‘hobbit style” cabins to be created in the grounds.
Councillors on the South Area Planning Committee approved the proposals this week.
A statement from the Boleskine House Foundation said: “We're very happy with the decision and look forward to continuing the work done in restoring this important property."
The proposals attracted a number of objections given Boleskine’s links to Crowley, who lived there in the early 1900s and has been described as the “wickedest man in the world”.
At Boleskine, he conducted a six-month ritual to raise his guardian angel but fled thereafter with claims his activities led to a number of unexplained events at the house.
The house has long been of interest to Crowley’s followers with people gathering uninvited at the house.
Councillor Margaret Davidson said: "Over the years it has been a place people have visited and become obsessed with the area.
"That has caused its own difficulties for people in Foyers and Inverfarigaig, the nearest villages, and I would wish that to stop for them."
Planners said objections linked to the house’s history were not material considerations and should not be taken into account when reaching a decision on the application.
Councillor Jimmy Gray, chairman of the committee, said: “Full cognisance was taken from officers’ advice to set aside matters associated with previous ownership of the property, which are not material in planning matters.”
New owner Keith Readdy, a researcher in comparative religion and author of a book on Crowley’s legacy, is now trustee of the Boleskine House Foundation.
The foundation said in an earlier statement that the house was not to become a place of “pilgrimage and ritual” and that while the previous owners were part of the story of the property, they did not “directly influence its future use”.
Parts of the property will be opened up for guided tours with the eco cabins in the grounds to be rented to tourists.