Country houses for sale

The untouched ‘Island of Goats’, a short boat ride from the Argyll coast, is looking for a new owner

Rich with areas of ancient woodland and extensive wildlife, this stunning island off Argyll’s secret coast provides the ideal opportunity for a quiet retreat.

Even in these uncertain times, £120,000 doesn’t buy you much in the way of property. In London, it’ll get you a part-share of a one-bedroom flat; in Sheffield you might find a partially-gutted terraced house.

Further afield, however, it’ll get you a little more: an entire 13-acre island to call your own. That’s what is on offer with the sale of Eilean Nan Gabhar, a rarely visited island on the Argyll coast, currently for sale with Galbraith.

Situated on Argyll’s west coast – often referred to as the ‘Secret Coast’ for its rarely explored historic villages and deserted beaches – the island is a two hour drive from Glasgow and easily accessible from the jetty at Old Poltalloch, while still being far enough from the mainland to be a world completely of its own.

Eilean Nan Gabhar lies close to the village of Ardfern, where evidence of habitation can be traced to prehistoric times. The earliest church on the island dates back to before the 12th century and the village remains small even today, with only 400 permanent residents.

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The breathtaking Loch Craiglish provides a picturesque background for any occasion, even featuring in the 1963 Bond film From Russia With Love – in a boat chase which began in Greece but ended in Scotland.

Owned by the same family for over 70 years, the 13-acre property remains almost completely untouched by man or time. The east side of the island naturally provides the perfect conditions for mooring, while a sheltered cove offers the possibility of a pontoon.

A dream for the avid fisherman, the protected bays of the quiet retreat attract all manners of wildlife. The north side bay is a natural haven for otters and sea birds, while all coastal regions of the island offer the potential for fishing.

In addition to the extensive fauna, Eilean Nan Gabhar is home to multitudes of gorgeous flora, with species of trees including rowan, willow, beech, bog myrtle, hawthorn, wild garlic and honeysuckle. Walking trails around the island provide glimpses of impressive rock formations, shady dells and lush vegetation. The property even boasts a private beach on the south side of the island.

Just one question remains, in fact: what would you do with the island if you bought it? There’s no suggestion in the agent’s details that you could apply for permission to build any sort of dwelling on the island, though given the state of the art in water purification, natural sewage treatment and solar power (admittedly a big risk in Scotland) the creation of a semi-self-sufficient cottage seems at least vaguely plausible.

Given that there is a nice little natural harbour in the bay, it’s not too much of a stretch to think that the island could be habitable, at least for a few months of the year.   Then again, would you really want it to be? There’s something wonderful about this place exactly as it is, and we’ve a feeling that the sellers will find it quite easy to attract a buyer keen to own a slice of wilderness purely for its own sake.

Eilean Nan Gabharis is for sale with Galbraith at a guide price of £120,000 – see more details and pictures.