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Private island with a 17th Century villa on market for $2.2 million

“Space, peace, natural beauty and wonderful light.”



By Sarah Ward via SWNS

A private island off the coast of Shetland with a 17th Century villa is on the market for $2.2 million - including a flock of pure-bred sheep.

A private island off the coast of Shetland with a 17th Century villa is on the market. (Savills via SWNS)

The Isle of Vaila, Shetland, is being sold for £1.75 million ($2.2 million USD) including 757 acres of land and a six-bed mansion with four front rooms, as well as 200 pure-bred Shetland ewes.

It also has a farmhouse and a cottage and a coastline spanning around 6.5 miles which is perfect for fishing or hiking, where the Atlantic Ocean and North Sea meet.

For 30 years Vaila has been owned by Richard Rowland and Dorota Rychlik, who left London for the remote island and married there in 1994 in front of 150 guests.

They bought up the mansion and all its fittings and furnishings – and even the boat used to make the ten-minute journey to and from mainland Shetland.

The private island comes with a 17th Century villa and a flock of pure-bred sheep. (Savills via SWNS)
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The couple has decided to focus on their fine art gallery in Lerwick, Shetland, and said it was "a wrench" to leave.

Mr. Rowland said: “We’ve had 30 fantastic years here, and we’re getting on in years now, so I think the time has come for someone else to take on the place.

“One just has to be realistic that nothing is forever.”

He spotted it in Historic Scotland's Buildings at Risk register and bought it from the descendants of Yorkshire mill magnate Herbert Anderton, who had the six-bed Vaila Hall built as his summer getaway in the 1890s.

Vaila Hall has been lovingly restored and has stained glass windows, a baronial hall and a stone fireplace.

The private island has a coastline spanning around 6.5 miles. (Savills via SWNS)

Also included in the sale are a three-bedroom farmhouse, a two-bedroom caretaker's cottage and the Mucklaberry watchtower, dating from the 18th Century, which overlooks the coast.

Prior to the Anderton dynasty, founder of P&O ferries Arthur Anderson leased the island in 1837 and established the Shetland Fishing Company there.

Mr. Rowland said: “We were looking for a project to take on and restore, and had really thought more of the Western Isles or mainland Scotland, and hadn’t really thought about Shetland at all until we saw this.

“We’ve had innumerable parties.

"We used to charter planes to bring guests up here."

He wrote in a book about the island: “Vaila is a microcosm of all that is best about Shetland.

“Space, peace, natural beauty and wonderful light.”

The skeleton of a 42ft sperm whale lies in a byre on the island after it was beached in 2000.

Luke French from estate agent Savills said: “At the meeting point of the North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, this is a wild and beautiful part of the world.

"The juxtaposition of the dramatic, elemental land and seascape with the exquisite craftsmanship of historic Vaila Hall makes for a quite extraordinary property.

"A rare prize indeed for the next owner but also one which benefits from practical forethought by the sellers with the shore base building providing ease of access and the farming enterprise, farmhouse and cottage creating a variety of opportunities.”

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