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Half a million buys your own Hebridean island

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It's a familiar daydream to any commuter on the Northern Line: owning their own private island. For those willing to downsize and swap the metropolis for the Outer Hebrides, it's a dream that can now be realised. The island of Wiay might sound like it's off Newcastle, but in fact it is located off the north-west coast of Scotland. It has 970 acres of land and sandy beaches and it could be yours for a mere half a million. The same money would get you a scruffy two-bedroom flat in London.

Wiay was once the refuge of fleeing Jacobite rebel Bonnie Prince Charlie and later the home of a crofting family. It has been unoccupied since World War II. It may attract would-be sporting lairds as the sale includes woodcock and duck shooting rights along with deer stalking and fishing. The island is half a mile south of Benbecula, reachable only by boat. The downside is that the island has no power or running water. The upside: no electricity bills. Phone signal coverage may be sketchy.

Idyllic escapes are a growth area in the property market. Estate agents Bell Ingram told The Herald: "An area of land with as much history and beauty as the Island of Wiay does not come on the market very often."

Not so fast. For the same price, you can grab a semi-detached house in Malmesbury Wiltshire with its own private island. The islet nestles in a crook of the River Avon. The present owners cleared the undergrowth, landscaped the island and converted it into a wilderness play area. The one-acre island has its own summerhouse and has become a wildlife sanctuary for otters, ducks and nesting swans. It's also the perfect place for those summer parties and barbecues. The weather in Wiltshire also tends to be a little kinder than in the Outer Hebrides.

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