And finally… Alliance Trust chair to sell island idyll after 20 year labour of love
Alliance Trust chairman Lord Smith of Kelvin is selling Inchmarnock, his island in the Firth of Clyde which includes Port House, a four-bedroom property, 20 years after embarking on a major restoration project at the beauty spot.
Having been left for decades to fall into disrepair prior to Lord Kelvin’s purchase in 1999, the island Lord Kelvin has resorted it to its former glory, with green pastures and grass leys home to a cattle farm.
On the market for £1.4 million, the island has its own private harbour and bespoke ferry service, while the listing also includes Lord Smith’s holiday home on Bute which overlooks Inchmarnock.
Speaking to The Herald newspaper, the peer, who has led numerous private equity businesses said the that during the first few of his project he “could look out to the island and watch the pound notes evaporating”.
However, the former chair of BBC Children in Need and the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games Committee, who is originally from Maryhill in Glasgow, said he went on to accumulate many happy memories on Inchmarnock, but the time has come to let it go.
“I’ve had it for 20 years,” he said, “When I bought the thing, the island hadn’t been inhabited for around 30 years, but with the help of locals we’ve brought it back to life.
“I’m 75 in a couple of weeks’ time and I’m kind of consolidating things, so the time is now to sell it on.
“It’s a beautiful island, I’ve camped across there with my grandchildren and we have many happy memories and great photographs of our time there.
“I’m a wee bit emotional, you obviously get attached, but it’s going to have to happen at some point and it seemed an appropriate time.
“I’ve had 20 years of great fun watching the thing developing.”
It is 2.5 miles long, half-a-mile wide and has 4.75 miles of coastline and includes its own woodland.
The property on Bute – the Port House – is a four-bedroom house, which also has a boat shed and slipway on its grounds to allow access to the island.
Diane Fleming, sales agent for Strutt and Parker in Edinburgh, said she expects significant interest in the island.
She said: “Inchmarnock is a stunning island rich in possibility.
“There is already a successful farming enterprise and a lovely family home on the nearby shore of Bute, but there is significant potential to develop the existing residential offering and to capitalise on the various amenities offered by the island such as the native woodland, watersports and fishing.
“A Scottish island embodies the romance many people associate with the country’s prime estates and farms.
“Inchmarnock is stunning with great heritage and is a peaceful and secluded haven, yet it is relatively accessible from Scotland’s central belt.”
Lord Smith has also helped to uncover some of the island’s history by commissioning a five-year archaeological project.
The project has uncovered an array of artefacts, including carved stones and the largest collection of inscribed slate in the British Isles.
A book detailing the finds was published and tells the island’s story from Viking raids in the 8th century to being used as a training ground in preparation for the D-day landings.