Scottish solitude! Private island in the Inner Hebrides for sale for £1.5 million

Torsa Island, 1.2 miles long and half a mile wide, is on the market for the first time in 85 years
Torsa Island
Torsa is one of the Slate Islands in the Inner Hebrides
Emma Magnus2 days ago

Private islands might seem like the reserve of A-listers (think Branson’s Necker Island, George and Amal Clooney’s island on the Thames, or Beyoncé’s tropical paradise in the Florida Keys). But you too could be the owner of a private island – and for a much more modest price.

Torsa, a rough, grassy island in the Inner Hebrides, is on the market for the first time in 85 years. It is listed with Savills for £1.5 million.

Located off the west coast of Scotland, Torsa Island —meaning “Thor’s Island”— is 1.2 miles long and half a mile wide, measuring 270 acres. Its population, besides you, of course, is zero.

Set in inky blue waters, Torsa has more than 2.5 miles of private coastline and rises to 62 metres in the centre, with panoramic views across the Inner Hebrides and out to the mountains and lochs of Argyllshire.

“What really sets Torsa apart is its location, in amongst all the other islands and that spectacular part of west coast Scotland,” says Luke French, the agent for the property. “The views out to surrounding islands, sea lochs and down to the Sound of Jura are just stunning.”

Torsa Farmhouse - exterior
Torsa Farmhouse is on the southeast of the island

On the south of the tiny island, there is a sheltered anchorage for yachts and motorboats. To the southeast, there are a cluster of dilapidated stone farming buildings which, says French, have the potential for restoration.

The island’s main building, Torsa Farmhouse, is a whitewashed stone building that lies adjacent to the farm buildings. Arranged over two storeys, the first floor has a kitchen diner, sitting room and conservatory, which overlooks the mouth of Loch Melfort. Upstairs, there are three bedrooms and a family bathroom.

The property is currently used as a holiday let and second home by the island’s owners, and, according to Savills, has been “regularly modernised and improved over the years”.

But now, being based in the south of England with a young family, the owners are “not getting up there nearly as much as they’d like to,” says French, and have chosen to put Torsa up for sale. “I think they recognise that somebody else could get more out of the island than they do.”

Views from the conservatory at Torsa Farmhouse
Views over the mouth of Loch Melfort from the house’s conservatory

As well as the potential to continue the holiday let business, prospective buyers could build on the island, subject to planning consents. “I think somebody with the right vision could do something very exciting with the existing farmhouse and steading. There’s a decent footprint of buildings,” says French. “I think that’s one of the big draws for buying this island: what can you create there in terms of a home?”

Currently, much of the land on Torsa is grazed by sheep, hogs and cattle under an arrangement with farmers from the neighbouring island of Luing. This is also a source of income and helps to preserve Torsa’s flora and fauna. According to French, both the farmers and the current owners are keen for the arrangement to continue.

As well as the livestock, there is plenty of other wildlife on Torsa to keep a buyer company – even if there aren’t any neighbours. There are hare, deer and foxes on the land; otters, seals, dolphins and porpoises in the sea; and sea birds, buzzards and eagles in the skies.

Coastline Torsa island
Torsa has more than 2.5 miles of coastline

Torsa is accessed by private boat. Mainland Scotland is a short crossing away —roughly 10 minutes— while the nearest post office, shops, restaurants and pubs are on the neighbouring islands of Luing and Seil. The nearest town, 18 miles away, is Oban.

Scotland has 790 offshore islands —craggy, windswept rocks and green, fertile outcrops— which do occasionally come to the market. Pladda, off the coast of Arran, was listed for £350,000 in 2022, while Danna island was part of the wider 3,380-acre Tayvallich estate, advertised for £10.465 million. The Shetland island of Vaila, which also included a 17th century mansion, was listed for £1.75 million the same year.

“It is a pretty rare commodity to get an island on the market – we only see one Scottish Hebridean island hit the market every couple of years,” says French. “They’ve always been well sought-after. There is this wonderful thing about owning your own island, and everything that brings.”

So far, French says he has had interest from a “huge range” of buyers, including artists, businessmen and sailing enthusiasts. “The west coast of Scotland is renowned for its light and has always been favoured by artists. [There are also] international businessmen who spend their time sailing up and down the west coast of Scotland and have always loved the idea of owning something. If you’re into your sailing, then having your own island and having direct access to the water really is a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

“What they are all seeking is privacy and solitude – escaping the hectic lives that we all lead,” French adds. “Regardless of who they are or where they come from, that’s something that they generally share: valuing that peace that you get from owning your own island.”