£3m for island hideaway - lighthouse included

Little Cumbrae, which lies in the Firth of Clyde off the north Ayrshire coast, has been put on the market for offers above £3m.

Rich property buyers looking for a retreat from the rat race are unlikely to find anything more exclusive than the 684-acre island 23 miles from Glasgow.

A London estate agent is offering prospective buyers the chance to buy the ultimate status symbol complete with its own 12-bedroom Victorian mansion and 13th-century castle.

The island, which lies in the shadow of Great Cumbrae and is a 10-minute boat ride from Largs, also boasts a centrally situated lighthouse with three keepers' cottages, built by Robert Stevenson, which replaced the open fire beacon.

The current owner, Stephen Worrallo, a businessman who bought the island two years ago, has decided to put it on the market with the aim of selling it to either somebody looking for a secluded retreat or someone wanting to explore the development and tourist potential of the island.

Glenn Hickman, spokesman for the Mayfair-based HHL Humberts Leisure, the agent dealing with the sale, said Little Cumbrae offered a rare opportunity as British islands were very rarely sold on the open market. "We don't get private islands coming up for sale very often," he said.

"We have had quite a lot of interest already from private individuals, who just want a hideaway place with a bit of privacy, and from commercial developers and leisure operators interested in the potential the island offers. Any development would have to be sensitively undertaken because of the quality of the land, the wildlife and suchlike but there is still plenty of scope.

"Little Cumbrae is particularly unusual because it is so close to civilisation, being just six miles from Largs and 23 miles from Glasgow airport, but at the same time it can be completely separate." The championship golf courses of Turnberry, Royal Troon and Prestwick are near by.

Rich in history and ecology, the island, which lies within the Gulf Stream and is a natural gateway to the magnificent sailing waters of the west coast of Scotland, is home to a great diversity of rare and varied flora and fauna. A recent survey by the RSPB listed 57 species of birds breeding on the island.

Besides the seabird populations and thousands of rabbits, the only permanent inhabitants are Alistair and Bonnie Davidson. They moved there three years ago as resident caretakers of the island. Although they have a clear view of the mainland, the couple, who have to be self-sufficient, importing supplies and heating oil, admit that during bad weather they might as well be thousands of miles away.

The island, which is just under a mile at its widest point and once boasted a population of 54, has no telephone line after a trawler snagged it a few years ago, making communication with the mainland solely reliant on wireless technology.

However, there is plenty of accommodation on the island, which was once the site of a religious cell founded by Saint Veya, a seventh-century nun, and has historical links to Robert the Bruce in the 13th century.

Across the island there are many historic buildings, including the 13th-century castle keep, a number of steadings and a boathouse, jetty and workshops.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Accountant

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Summarises financial status by ...

Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Officer - Altrincham - up to £24,000.

£18000 - £24000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Of...

Recruitment Genius: Salesforce Developer

£50000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to continued business growt...

Recruitment Genius: Internal Sales Executive

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has ari...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss