Monday, 4 Jul 2022

Ex-Desert Island Discs host Kirsty Young buys island in Loch Lomond

Her own cast away dream: Ex-Desert Island Discs presenter Kirsty Young buys for £1.6m island in the middle of Loch Lomond that is only inhabited by wallabies for a new holiday home

  • Former Desert Island Discs host Kirsty Young purchased her own deserted island at the heart of Loch Lomond
  • Young, 53, and husband Nick Jones paid £1.55million for Inchoconnachan Island also known as Wallaby Island
  • Couple plan to replace the ‘derelict’ bungalow on the island and replace it with a timber three-bedroom lodge 

Former Desert Island Discs host Kirsty Young has purchased a deserted island in the middle of a Scottish loch.

The 53-year-old and her husband Nick Jones, 58, reportedly forked out £1.55million on Inchconnachan Island in Loch Lomond which is also known as Wallaby Island due to the colony of marsupials that live there.

The island was owned by the the aristocratic Colquhoun family from the 14th century and has been uninhabited for the last 20 years.

It is mostly covered in ancient woodland and features a derelict bungalow, boathouse and pier which were constructed in the 1920s.

According to plans submitted to Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Authority, the couple plan to demolish the bungalow and replace it with a timber three-bedroom lodge and also replace the boathouse.

A source close to the couple told the Scottish Sun on Sunday: ‘It is modest accommodation in keeping with what is already on the island.’

Former Desert Island Discs presenter Kirsty Young and her husband Nick Jones have purchased Inchconnachan Island (pictured), a deserted island in the middle of Scotland’s Loch Lomond, where they plan to build a holiday home for themselves


The couple reportedly paid £1.55million for the deserted island in the middle of Loch Lomond which measures 103 acres

The source insisted that the purchase was for their own personal use and would not become part of the £1.4 billion Soho House empire.

Nick Jones founded the private members’ club chain in 1995 and it was floated last year on the New York stock exchange. 

The island went up for sale through estate agents Savills and Knight Frank last year with a starting price tag of £500,000.

Plans submitted on behalf of the couple suggest they want to ‘reverse the decline’ of the island and are ‘committed to immediate action and long-term environmental management’. 

The plans state: ‘Nick and Kirsty are tremendously excited to have this unique opportunity to participate, to not only conserve the island, but to enhance the natural habitat and restore it to its natural state.

‘The last few decades has seen the island fall into a neglected state and it will remain so unless there is a dedicated commitment and serious financial input.

The couple plan to replace the island’s derelict bungalow (pictured) with a timber three-bedroom lodge according to plans

Deserted: 103-acre land sits between the islands of Inchtavannach and Inchmoan and has been vacant for around 20 years

‘With the island of Inchconnachan, Nick and Kirsty’s goal is to create a world class place for everybody to enjoy its unique natural beauty.’

Young, from East Kilbride, and Jones are also planning to organise regular trips to the island for local schoolchildren and to install a defibrillator on their island for public use across the 22 islands and 27 islets of Loch Lomond. 

The spectacular 103-acre isle includes the derelict 1920s bungalow, a boathouse and pier, and comes with planning permission for a new four-bedroom lodge and a one-bedroom warden’s house. 

The crumbling timber house was once the summer home of the Countess of Arran, Lady Fiona Gore, who became the fastest woman on water in 1980 at the age of 53 after reaching 102mph in a speedboat on Lake Windermere.

The island has been in Lady Gore’s family since the 14th Century and is now known for its colony of wallabies, which are thought to have been introduced in the 1940s.

It is designated as an Area of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Area of Conservation and is accessible by boat from the village of Luss on the south side of the Loch.

The island (pictured) allows for a range of activities including sailing, kayaking, mountain biking, angling and hill walking

Young and Jones are planning to organise regular trips to the 103-acre island (pictured) for local schoolchildren

History: The secluded island in Loch Lomond was once the summer retreat for the Countess of Arran, Fiona Gore (pictured in her speedboat in 1982), who became the unlikely champion powerboater at the 1980 Segrave Trophy

Despite its seclusion, the island can be a base for all manner of outdoor activities including wake-boarding, sailing, mountain-biking, kayaking, angling and hill walking.

Sitting between the islands of Inchtavannach to the west and Inchmoan to the south, the island is covered in ancient woodland, including oak, aspen, alder, Scot’s pine, Douglas fir and larch trees.

And it is visited by an array of wildlife throughout the year including deer, jays, coal tits, crossbills, collared doves and, occasionally, nesting ospreys.

Young announced that she would be stepping down as host of Desert Island Discs in 2019 following ’12 incredibly happy and fulfilling years’ in the role, after she was diagnosed with fibromyalgia.

Her interview subjects included Sir David Attenborough, David Beckham, George Michael and Dame Judi Dench.

At the time, Young said the enforced absence due to her diagnosis had ‘altered’ her perspective and that it was now time for ‘new challenges.’  

The programme is now hosted by 43-year-old 6 music presenter Lauren Laverne. 

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