Scottish islands for sale

Who wants to buy a scottish island? I do.  It has always been a dream of mine to buy my own Scottish island.  So with this in mind, I wondered how I would actually be able to do this and who else has had the same dream as me and bought their own Scottish island.

If you are serious about buying a Scottish island then there are several websites that can make this dream a reality.  Websites such as Private islands Online, Vladi Private Islands, or Knight Frank. advertise Scottish islands for sale as well as islands from other countries and continentsAnother website that has information and articles about Scottish islands for sale is Private Island News – which has a specific section on Scotland and has up-to-date information on the world of island buying.

In the last few years, there has been a spate of Scottish islands up for sale.  Ailsa Craig, Tanera Mor, Little Cumbrae, Eilean an Seamraig, Eilean Righ, Inchmarnock and Carna in the Inner Hebrides, Wiay in the Outer Hebrides, Hunda and Linga in the Shetland Islands and the Holm of Huip in the Orkney Islands, are all currently for sale or have been up for sale.

Little Cumbrae - Harbour

Little Cumbrae – Harbour

How much do they cost?

Prices for the most expensive islands start at around 2 and a half million pounds.  This is the current price for Tanera Mor, Ailsa Craig and Eilean Righ.  Eilean Righ, which is probably the least well known of the aforementioned islands, includes a 7 bedroomed detached house and 260 acres of land.  In case you have ever wondered what you would actually get if you paid 2 and a half million pounds for a Scottish island, here is the brochure for the sale of Eilean Righ.

Currently the Isle of Linga in Shetland is for sale for £250,000, which is about the price of a 2 bedroomed flat in London.  The cheapest Scottish island to buy (if you can call it an island) is probably Dun Maraig, a 0.2 acre island lying off the coast of Uig on the Isle of Skye. The island has the vague remains of a Fort on it.  Although I cannot find a current price for it, I am sure that is is below the £250,000 needed to buy Linga.

Tanera Mor - Summer Isles Post Office

Tanera Mor – Summer Isles Post Office

Celebrity island buying

Often there are newspaper reports of a ‘Scottish island for sale’.  With these headlines are usually details of a celebrity thinking of buying an island who wants an escape from their hectic lifeestyle. Owning a Scottish island has been the reserve of the rich and famous for many years.  Currently Uri Geller owns The Lamb, a small island in the Firth of Forth. He has said that he believes that the island has links to the Pyramids at Giza and the Knights Templar and that the island is one of the most significant sites in the UK. Other famous Scottish island owners from the past include:

  • Lord Leverhulme, industrialist philanthropist politician and founder of Lever Brothers who bought the islands of Harris and Lewis in the Outer Hebrides.  The town of Leverburgh on Harris is named after him.
  • Gavin Campbell, conservationist and writer of ‘Ring of Bright Water’. He bought Eilean Ban, just off the coast of the Isle of Skye.  The Skye Bridge passes over the island. 
  • Keith Schellenberg, former Olympic Bobsleigher, bought the Isle of Eigg in 1975 and sold it in 1995,
  • The Mitford Family bought the island of Inch Kenneth, between the Isle of Mull and the Isle of Ulva in 1938.  The Mitford sisters were besotted by Hitler and on the declaration of war, was so devastated that she tried to committ suicide and shot herslef in the head. She spent the final 10 years of her life on the island. This is a video about the Mitford family and Inch Kenneth.
  • 1960’s Folk singer and friend of The Beatles, Donovan bought the island of Clett, off the coast of the isle of Skye and planned to turn the island into a “free love” sanctuary.  Donovan was so overwhelmed by the beauty of the island that he wrote a song called ‘And Clett Makes Three’.

Island problems

Buying a Scottish island does not unfortunately guarantee an idyllic and peaceful lifestyle. Many island owners have had problems with access, building permits for properties and even problems with the actual islanders themselves (if there are any). Eigg is a great example of an island that has had it’s fair share of difficult owners. This is documented in the excellent book ‘Soil and Soul’ by Alexander Macintosh.

Perhaps the easiest way to own an island is to receive one for free. This is exactly what happened recently to another remote Scottish island.  Fred Taylor, a London-based Restaurant owner inherited the Isle of Scalpay in the Outer Hebrides, upon the death of his father in 1998.  In 2012, Mr Taylor offered the island to the local islanders as a gift and after a ballot by a majority of 197-8 in favour of the deal, the islanders decided to manage the island through a partnership with the neighbouring community-run North Harris Trust. Mr Taylor will be moving to the nearby island of Scotsay, which he also owns.

Scalpay - houses across Ceann a’ Baigh

Scalpay – houses across Ceann a’ Baigh

So, I shall keep my dream alive of one day owning my own Scottish island.  Unfortunately, if it ever happens, it is likely to be through the old-fashioned way.  By putting the lottery on …

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