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Our little black book of enchanting places


J M Barrie's special Scottish island by Maggie O'Sullivan

Posted in DESTINATIONS By Maggie O' Sullivan

As Pan goes on general release this week, news reaches us of the relaunch of the magical island on the west coast of Scotland where J M Barrie wrote the screenplay for the first film adaption of Peter Pan.

Now owned by Sir Richard Branson’s sister Vanessa and her husband Robert Devereux, Eilean Shona, on beautiful Loch Moidart, was leased to J M Barrie in the 1920s. He used it as a summer retreat and by all accounts was very much taken with it, writing: 'We've have mountains and lochs and boats and tennis and billiards and most of the Western islands of Scotland lying at our feet.'Not much has changed since J M Barrie's day. Eilean Shona is still a natural haven for wildlife, including deer, otters, nesting sea eagles, red squirrels and rare pine marten. Paths wind through acres of woodland and over the heather-covered hills, while dolphin, seals, minke whales and basking sharks can often be seen from the coves and inlets that encircle the island.What has changed, however, is the accommodation. Long run as self-catering holiday lets, the island's main house and holiday cottages have now been refurbished to offer every modern comfort. The former hunting lodge (above) is grand but cosy with roaring log fires (sleeps 22 from £5,750-£75,00 a week), while the cottages scattered across the island are pretty and secluded. We've taken a fancy to Tioram Cottage (above; sleeps eight from £800 a week), set on the shores of the loch. It has its own private bay area with a camp fire pit and picnic table. With no cars or televisions and a small shop that supplies basic provisions and a small selection of home-cooked meals, the island sounds pretty much perfect to us. 

• Loch Moidart is around a three-hour drive from Glasgow or an hour from Fort William. Transfer to the island is by private boat; there is also a ferry service. The island offers safe anchorage for those wishing to bring their own yacht or rib. Further information, Eilean Shona

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