Published: April 27 2011 17:41 | Financial Times UK
Fancy owning an extinct volcano and a place made famous for its rock that has been used to make Olympic curling stones?
Well now you can. The island of Ailsa Craig, off the western coast of Scotland, has come on the market with a price tag of up to £2.75m.
The uninhabited island, which is also a bird sanctuary for gannet seabirds, is likely to appeal to nature lovers as it is largely surrounded by precipitous cliffs, with its highest point reaching 338 metres. The North East side of the island mountain slopes more gently and as a result is more accessible for climbers.
The island is being marketed by Vladi Private Islands with Knight Frank’s Edinburgh office, and follows a number of successful sales of Scottish islands in recent years.
Last year, Sanda Island - along with its tiny neighbours Sheep Island and Glunimore Island, a remote Scottish mini-archipelago that lies just off the tip of the Mull of Kintyre was sold to a Swiss property developer.
In 2009, Little Cumbrae, situated in the Firth of Clyde off the Ayrshire coast, was sold for about £2m. The 684-acre island included a 12-bedroom Victorian mansion house, two cottages, a studio flat, a 13th-century castle and a former lighthouse complex.
Ailsa Craig’s most famous feature is the rare type of rock that exists on the island, used to make curling stones. The island’s ‘claim to fame’ is that its rock was used to make the curling stones used by the Scottish Women’s Curling Team when they won the Winter 2002 Olympic Gold medal.
However, a word of warning: owning an island is a costly business and not the idyllic lifestyle that many dream it will be. Agents say that those considering making such a big purchase should rent one in a similar location first to make sure they are comfortable with island life. Expect pests such as mosquitoes and sandflies, particularly on Scottish islands.
Maintenance costs can also be signficant, depending on what type of island you buy.
But for those that have the money to spend, island brokers such as Vladi Private Islands, a specialist agency based in Germany, and Boehm Private Islands should be one of your first point of calls to get the necessary advice. And beware of not-so-good-quality islands that are being marketed - many do not have building permits and aren’t available as a freehold.