Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Another Scottish island (Great Bernera) on offer to the residents


Quite unintentionally, I seem to have become a spotter of Scottish islands being offered for sale, and more often than not these days, they seem to be small islands that the landlord is offering to the residents, so they can be responsible for their own futures.

In this case, it’s the 230 residents of a small Hebridean island named Great Bernera in Lewis who are being given the chance to buy it and become their own landlords.

It has been reported that, until last summer, the small island was owned by a flamboyant aristocrat – Count Robin de le Lanne-Mirrlees (Born: January 13, 1925; Died: June 23, 2012)- who had made it his home since 1962, and died in a nursing home on the island last June. He left the island to his family.

HE became known as a flamboyant Scots aristocrat, well-known for his charitable work and steadfast refusal to raise his tenants’ rent in 50 years.

The  family has decided to sell the island, and solicitors for his German-based grandson, Cyran le Lanne, have written to tell the islanders he does not wish to keep the island and they have been offered first refusal. They have until April 1, 2013, to make up their minds.

There’s no mention of the price, or any conditions in the new story of the sale.

Via Great Bernera residents given opportunity to become landlords | Highlands & Islands | News | STV

The laird with an interesting past

Although the current price does not appear to be mentioned in the news, it is known that towards the end of 2012, the National Trust for Scotland (NTS) turned down an offer by Count Robin de le Lanne-Mirrlees, after he left the Hebridean island to,then estimated to worth more than £1 million, the nation in his will. The conservation charity last week claimed Little Bernera was not ‘significant’ enough to warrant the cost it would take to keep.

It seems this arose from a family feud, which led to the Count disinheriting his only son, Patrick de la Lanne, mayor of Delmenhort in the Lower Saxony region of Germany.

It is also noted in other reports that he Oxford-educated nobleman’s thinly disguised identity was ‘borrowed’ by James Bond in Ian Fleming’s 1963 novel On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

Back in 2005, he was in the news after suffering a mild stroke, when he was expected his stay in hospital to last no longer than a few weeks.

Instead he was there for 16 months and ran up a £130,000 NHS bill – due not to the stroke, but to the MRSA superbug.

There were more problems in 2009, when the local council claimed it could no longer afford the £97,000 needed to keep open the tiny residential home. similar only to a small bungalow, where the count, then 84, lived with only one other resident.


February 22, 2013 - Posted by | Civilian | , , , , , ,

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