Couple snub France to run B&B in Hebrides

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A COUPLE snubbed the South of France for a windswept Hebridean isle after being chosen by islanders to run the remotest B&B in the country – 23 miles out into the Atlantic.

Colin Irvine and David Marr were on the verge of buying a property in Toulouse before deciding instead to join just nine other islanders on Canna.

The pair say they were “knocked out” by Canna’s beauty and were unaminously chosen ahead of “scores” of other candidates to run the isle’s only B&B.

The troubled island has recently suffered a population exodus, which meant it faced having just eight residents left.

Former Royal Navy sailor John Clare, 63, and Sheila Gunn, 55, were selected in 2007 from a nation-wide trawl of over 350 applicants to run the B&B – Tighard Guest House.

But their departure last year to neighbouring Eigg was followed by a number of others over the past 12 months, some of whom blame the island’s owner, the National Trust for Scotland, for a set-up that limits families to leasing their homes, not allowing them to buy and own their own properties.

Colin, 45, was a lecturer in performance and theatre, and partner, David, 46, was a mortgage broker. They have both now moved from Edinburgh to Canna.

Mr Irvine said: “We were seriously looking at the south of France and on the verge of moving there. But then when we saw the advert for Canna … it is a stunning and absolutely beautiful place. We have breathtaking views. It won us over, so we decided to forget about France and move here instead.”

When the Tighard opens its doors in March, the team will transport customers from the ferry, which runs four times a week, and from passing yachts.

Mr Irvine also plans to use his theatre skills to stage events involving touring companies and musicians in the St Edward’s Chapel on the island.