Country houses for sale

An island for sale on Loch Lomond at the price of a suburban semi, complete with yew trees planted by Robert the Bruce

Inchlonaig Island has come to the market, a place with 7,000 years of history, delightful topography — and even a (relatively) straightforward commute. Toby Keel takes a look.

To some people, a car is simply a means of getting from point A to point B, a job which a Ford Fiesta will do just as well as an Aston Martin.

To others, food is just a means of fuelling the body, something that’s equally achievable with a few tins from the supermarket as it is with an exquisite meal at a Michelin-starred restaurant.

And similarly, there are people among us for whom a house is simply a convenient place to provide shelter from the elements and a place to rest at night. A studio flat would do just as well as a grand country house.

Do you fit in to any of those categories? Given that you’re reading Country Life right now, probably not: we’ve always been happiest celebrating the best things in life, from the delightful to the delicious to the hopelessly romantic. And that latter category is where today’s property sits: a quite wonderful opportunity to buy an island of your own at the cost of a suburban semi in Sydenham — namely, £995,000.

The island is largely covered in woodland, right down to the beaches, but there are more open areas which reflect its former use as pasture land.

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The island in question is called Inchlonaig Island, a truly gorgeous 182-acre speck on the map in Loch Lomond itself. It’s a dream of a place, largely covered in mature woodland — including some 800 yew trees — though also boasting some more open ground as well as the coves and inlets you’d expect.

The two-bedroom cottage on Inchlonaig Island. The agents haven’t shared any internal images, which… well, which usually tells you everything you need to know. Be prepared for some refurb work.

Just to be clear, though, as well as a natural wonder with views of the loch and Ben Lomond, it’s also a place where you can live. Some islands are pure wildernesses — and have to be kept as such — but Inchlonaig has a two-bedroom cottage and its own jetty. Almost unbelievably, that makes it commutable: it’s roughly a mile across the water to Luss, from where you can take the main A82 and be in Glasgow in under an hour.

The morning commute gets off to a better start than most…

The island also has some interesting history, from Neolithic remains dated to 5,000BC to the local legend which claims that Robert the Bruce himself cultivated yew trees here in the 14th century. Those of a cynical bent might think that the latter is the sort of claim that’s pretty easy to make and impossible to prove one way or the other; and connections to Bruce are the medieval Scottish answer to fragments of the True Cross. Yet there are some good reasons to think there might be truth in it: yew was indeed the bow material of choice for The Bruce’s archers; Inchlonaig’s role in providing the wood for the bows used at Bannockburn has been around for centuries; and the name Inchlonaig itself even means ‘the island of yew trees’.

The eagle-eyed will spot one of the derelict bothies, just right of centre in this picture.

That’s the island’s past, though. What of its future? Well, it has been used as a holiday let in recent years, and plans have been drawn up to redevelop the three derelict bothies that are on the island. Those plans have yet to go through any of the necessary consent processes; on top of that, the island is off the grid — there are no services of any kind to the cottage.

Cameron Ewer of Savills calls it an ‘incredible and rare opportunity’ to acquire a part of Scotland’s history, while also ‘enjoying the spectacular surroundings of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. Inchlonaig Island is perhaps the ultimate in private retreats and a very special sale.’

‘Very special’ seems to say it all, and we’re confident that whoever the new owner is will want to keep the immense charm of this beautiful and historic little island intact. People have been coming to Inchlonaig for 7,000 years, and we’d love to imagine that it’ll still be more or less the same in 7,000 more.

Inchlonaig Island is for sale via Savills for offers over £995,000 — see more details and pictures.