The owners of the largest of Scotland’s picturesque Summer Isles are looking to sell, and have offered the local community the first chance to purchase their Hebridean home.
The Wilder family, the nature-loving owners of Tanera Mòr, a 766-acre island in Scotland’s windswept Inner Hebrides, have offered its residents and surrounding community the opportunity to purchase the island before they put it to the public market. A spell-binding stretch of pasture and exposed bedrock, the vast isle is renowned for its beauty, and in recent years, has seen the development of summer homes and rental cottages. A unique attribute of some UK islands, Tanera can also issue its own postage stamps.
Bill and Jean Wilder purchased Tanera in 1996 after selling their mainland dairy farm, and the conservation-minded couple undertook to rejuvenate the abandoned and barren island. Following an ethos of preserving the environment while pursuing economic self-sufficiency, a massive planting campaign brought 164,000 native trees back to the island, creating a shelter from stormy winds, and holiday homes were developed to create a local tourism industry. In 2010, the Wilders passed the island along to their three children, and it is now run by their daughter Lizzie and her husband Richard Williams.
Formerly abandoned, Tanera has proven popular as a holiday destination – the only inhabited island in the Summer Isles archipelago, its high elevation offers incredible views of mainland mountains and intricate nearby lochs and inlets, along with having plenty of its own natural wonders to explore. Guests can enjoy great fishing, hike up the island’s hill, Meall Mòr, or avail themselves of interesting courses offered on the island by visiting experts; creative writing, kayaking, and map-making, just to name a few.
The island’s vibrant cultural development and charming traditional cottages for rent have earned it plenty of media attention, and a place in guidebooks like “Scotland the Best”. For Lizzie, the decision to sell the island came after much thought and discussion with her two siblings, and was based on a simple issue of lifestyle. All three of the Wilder siblings now have young families, making the running of remote Tanera a challenge.
Only time will tell whether the island will pass on to the community or be offered on the market for sale in 2012, but the owners are hopeful that local interests can take Tanera on, and are keen to assist in the decision process. They also, according to Lizzie, want to maintain their ties to the Summer Isles region. “Everyone in the family is extremely attached to Tanera and we have had a fantastic few years running the island and living in Coigach,” she wrote, “and hope very much to remain in this part of the world.”
Visit the blog for Tanera Mòr: http://www.summer-isles.com/