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From Down Under back to Scottish Roots

Living the Dream

Exploring the Highland Heritage and History

From the Outback to Ord

After many years of yearning and many miles of travel, George and Sonja finally arrived at the Estate of Ord in August 2021, to begin a new chapter in their lives and realise a dream. As a starry-eyed couple fresh from farming in the Australian Outback, George and Sonja embarked on the adventure of acquiring a somewhat run-down guest house in the Scottish Highlands, determined to turn it into a unique and multifaceted business.

Their journey felt like a homecoming in many ways, considering George’s lineage traced back to the old Scots Border Clan Irving (or Irvine), with an unbroken line leading to the Chiefs of the Clan in the 1500s. While their initial plan was to settle in the Borders, they felt a pull towards the Highlands. Sonja, with her past as a pipe major in her school pipe band, seemed destined to settle in the Scottish Highlands.

The couple were instantly captivated by the three-story 17th Century manor, Ord House, conveniently located within a short drive of Inverness, which had been operating as a guest house for around 30 years. George and Sonja recognised the potential of the historical building and were determined to turn it and the surrounding grounds into a character destination to be enjoyed by locals and visitors alike.

After three years, their ambition of restoring Ord House was achieved, now standing proudly as the central hub around which the entire Estate of Ord, with all its amenities, revolves.

Ord’s Outlander Connections

George and Sonja were also drawn to Ord House due to its connections with the Outlander novels by Diana Gabaldon, which inspired the hit TV series, premiering in 2014. Their new home is situated at the heart of the fictional setting in the Outlander series, near Muir of Ord, where the epic saga unfolds amid political unrest between the Scots and the English, and tensions among the Fraser and Mackenzie clans.

Ord House resembles Lallybroch, the ancestral home of Outlander hero Jamie Fraser as described in the novels. Ord House has become a focal point for Outlander enthusiasts who visit the area on pilgrimages. While George and Sonja can’t guarantee an encounter with main characters like Claire and Jamie Fraser, they strive to be excellent hosts for fans exploring the beloved story’s locations.

What you’ll find at the Estate of Ord

The Estate of Ord is ever-evolving. This is not just an accommodation establishment, but a visitor hub and wedding/events venue with an ever-growing offering which is like no other hospitality business in the Highlands.

To date the Estate includes:

Ord House Hotel

Matilda’s Garden Café & Restaurant

A Prosecco Bar

Wedding/event facilities

Tranquil walled garden and pond

Matilda’s is a nod to the Irving’s Australian background – and they’ve given the name to our newly adopted puppy too!

George and Sonja sincerely hope you’ll come and enjoy all that the Estate of Ord has to offer and look forward to meeting you.

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