Mystery surrounds blaze at former activity centre

POLICE are investigating after a former four-star sporting venue near Methlick went up in flames last Monday.

Thursday, 21st October 2010, 9:32 am

Kingscliff Lodge, at North Ardo, went into administration last year. The extensive facility, which includes around 50 acres of land, formerly hosted shooting, fishing, archery and quad-biking, and catered to groups and corporate parties. The lodge was sold by Strutt and Parker for over £375,000 after an auction of the fittings and fixtures in February.

The Times visited Kingscliff and found evidence of the business scattered across the site, including health and safety disclaimer forms, gun slings and broken shooting trophies. The fire has left a significant proportion of the facilities completely gutted, including the former restaurant and bar area.

Plans are currently lodged with Aberdeenshire Council for re-modelling of the nearby house at plot 1, which was not damaged by the fire.

Grampian Fire Brigade told the Times that the fire had been large enough to merit three fire engines from Maud, Ellon and Oldmeldrum, and a water carrier from Turriff. The call was received at 3.30pm, and the fire was under control by 5.11pm. Breathing apparatus and thermal imaging equipment had to be used. The Fire Brigade’s records indicate that the fire is believed to have been wilful.

A Grampian Police spokesman confirmed that they were treating the incident as suspicious, and are carrying out investigations.