Hugh Lowther, the eldest son of the seventh Earl of Lonsdale, has been left with no other option but to sell his family's mountain in the English Lake District to cover Inheritance Tax (IHT) liabilities on his late father's estate. The decision of the new earl has brought much attention as the sale of Saddleback Fell is probably the first property divestment of its kind, the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) reports.
Lord Lonsdale left his title and estate to Lowther before he died in 2006, but the legacy came with an IHT liability of £9 million. The heir had ten years to pay the amount to HM Revenue & Customs. That deadline is now a year and a half away and Lowther still needs to find the money, so he has put Saddleback, sometimes called Blencathra, up for sale in order to help clear the hefty tax bill.
The 2,677-acre mountain massif has a guide price of £1.75 million and also includes the title of Lordship of the Manor of Threlkeld, which was acquired by the Lowther family in the 17th century before the award of the Lonsdale earldom. The buyer of the title will be able to have their own personalised coat of arms.
The parcel of land, however, has low commercial value as the grazing rights are held by local farmers. The mountain is also accessible to the general public and commercial development is prohibited.
Lord Lonsdale's estate has so far sold a Turner painting, "Dawn View of Lowther Castle," to the Tate Gallery for £2 million, and a farm that fetched £1.6 million.