TWO rival bidders are battling to buy a Scottish island that is home to just two people and issues its own postage stamps.
Tanera Mor in Wester Ross was put up for sale at £2.5m in May.
But now selling agents have confirmed they are locked in discussions with two potential buyers and expect a bid to be made from at least one of them.
Tanera Mor, the largest of the Summer Isles, is also said to be part of the inspiration for the Wicker Man cult film.
Potential purchasers have come forward from India, Australia, New Zealand and the Falkland Islands.
But John Bound from selling agents CKD Galbraith would not give any clues over the nationality of the rival bidders.
“We have had a lot inquiries from all over the world. We are currently in discussions with a couple of parties, but I cannot give any other details at this stage,” he said.
“Talks are progressing though no offer has been made yet. However I am hopeful an offer will be forthcoming.”
Residents on the nearby mainland at Achiltibuie in Wester Ross had been in talks with the island’s owners about a community buyout that could have seen a number of people move on to the 800-acre isle.
But a public meeting in February decided that the buyout was just too much for them to take on.
Tanera Mor is the only inhabited island in the Summer Isles.
In 1881, there were no fewer than 118 people living on Tanera Mor, all of whom
had left in 1931. Permanent habitation has been intermittent since then.
Lizzie and Richard Williams, Tanera Mor’s two residents, took over running the island from Lizzie’s family, the Wilders.
The Wilders bough the island in 1996 after selling their dairy farm in Wiltshire.
Bill and Jean Wilder passed the title of Tanera Mor on to their three offspring - Jack, Harry and Lizzie - in 2010.
Now that all three siblings have their own young families they took the decision to put it on the open market.
Lizzie Williams said: “After many happy years of calling Tanera home, it is time for someone else to have the privilege of looking after this amazing place.”
The principal house - The Old School House - boasts breathtaking views over the sheltered Anchorage and magnificent mountains of the mainland.
Over the past 15 years the Wilder family have undertaken a woodland regeneration project, planting over 164,000 native trees. This combined with the use of selective livestock grazing has created lush green pockets across the island, encouraging wildlife to thrive.
The established holiday letting business, comprising six properties - with the potential to add a further two properties - has been expanded in recent years to include residential creative and active courses. In addition there is a Royal Yachting Association recognised sailing school which operates throughout the summer months.
The Café and Post Office operate from a former boathouse and are open for seasonal daily visits by tourist boats from Ullapool and Achiltibuie as well as cruise boats, yachts and sea kayakers. The Summer Isles Post Office located on Tanera Mòr is notable for issuing its own postage stamps since 1970.
Tanera Mòr was the location that provided inspiration for Frank Fraser Darling’s book Island Farm.
The pagan-cult island of Summerisle featured in the film The Wicker Man is thought by some film critics to be set in the archipelago, although the movie itself was filmed in Galloway and Plockton.