It's 'adios' to life in Caithness as TV couple find their place in the sun
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A Thurso couple have said “adios” to the UK and embarked on a new life in Spain after appearing on TV's A Place in the Sun.
Brian and Lorna Cormack featured on the popular Channel 4 show last week when presenter Lee Juggurnauth led them on a tour of five potential properties on the Almeria coast.
The couple put in a bid for the fifth property they viewed, priced slightly above their £150,000 budget, and the offer was accepted. They moved a couple of weeks ago to take up residence in the village of Turre, 5km from the coastal town of Mojácar which is around two hours south of Alicante.
It is also home to Lorna's son Danny as well as the couple's Border Collie, Angus.
“We are really looking forward to our new life in the sun and are busy getting the house and garden sorted as they both need a bit of TLC,” Brian explained this week.
“The local community seem very nice and have been so helpful in getting us settled in and letting us know where everything is and what to do.
“We have great views and it’s amazing watching the sunsets every evening from our veranda in 30-degree-plus temperatures.”
Brian (58) and Lorna (57) are keen bowlers. Lorna is an ex-internationalist and Brian was president of Thurso Bowling Club last season.
“One of our prerequisites was that there was a bowling club close by so we will be joining one of the local ones,” Brian said.
He retired last August, having worked as a facility supervisor at Dounreay, while Lorna retired in May this year. She was a safety case coordinator at Vulcan.
Danny (26) used to work in the Blue Door diner at Thurso camp site. He will be doing some voluntary work at a Spanish animal rescue centre.
“We have all been learning Spanish on the Duolingo app but I must admit Danny has been really dedicated and is doing very well, putting myself and Lorna to shame,” Brian said.
The programme was screened on Friday and can be watched online on the Channel 4 on-demand service.
“We had been looking to downsize in Thurso for a little while,” Brian said. “Lorna never thought I would leave Caithness but with Lorna losing her mum and my dad passing, both in the early months of 2021, I didn’t feel the same tie that I always had.”
They were given the opportunity to take part in A Place in the Sun just over a fortnight after Lorna had emailed the application paperwork.
“Everything thing seemed to happen a lot more quickly than we thought it would,” Brian said. “I think it was more of a long-term plan but we were happy to go along and see what was on offer.”
Brian admitted that they found the filming “quite stressful”.
He explained: “Each sequence had to be shot from three different angles, going over the same lines. We both found it intimidating having a camera in our faces for most of the day.
“Lee was fine, and the crew were great, and eventually we settled into it a bit more. I must say they made a very good job of editing the footage.
“We moved two weeks ago. I drove down in our van with Angus and my mate Peter Knapp helped me out by sharing the driving. Lorna and Danny flew over a day later.
“The sale of the house went through without a hitch, helped by the fact that the same lawyer can act for the seller and the buyer, unlike Scottish law.
“One thing that you never saw on TV was that we actually found the house for them. During filming it was clear that we were wanting something different than they were showing us, and the director asked exactly what it was we were after.
“We explained the type of villa we would ideally like – to which he replied, 'You won't get anything like that on your budget.' Lorna then told him that I had been looking online for a while and had found loads. So he asked us to send him one, which she did, and this was the result.”
The couple found that the main Brexit-related difficulty was the amount of paperwork involved in securing their non-lucrative visa, a document for non-EU citizens who wish to reside in Spain for more than six months without carrying out any work or professional activities.
Brian added: “Obviously we are going to miss our families, Karen, Linda and David, along with Lorna’s brother Bryan, Danny’s dad and brother Matthew and Ethan and all their extended families.
“We have so many good friends and they will be a big miss also. We have a few bookings for the coming months so won’t be long until we see our friends again.
“Bowls has been a huge part of our lives but it will be great to just go along and play and not have any committee commitments. That will be like a breath of fresh air.
“One thing we won’t miss is the Caithness weather – no more early morning walks with Angus in the freezing cold summers.”