Castaway island in Scotland that made star of Ben Fogle set to be restored to its wild state

The islet is said to be Britain’s largest inhabited island

The owners of the uninhabited island where TV show Castaway 2000 was made more than 20 years ago said they plan to restore the Scottish isle to its more wild state.

Adam and Cathra Kelliher bought Taransay from previous owners Angus and Norman MacKay, brothers from Harris, in 2011 for more than £2 million.

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Over the past decade or so, the Kellihers have gradually overseen the removal of sheep from the island and had multiple visits from experts to advise them on the island’s ecology, wildlife and planting of native trees.

Taransay will be rewilded by its ownersTaransay will be rewilded by its owners
Taransay will be rewilded by its owners

The islet, said to be Britain’s largest inhabited island, was lived on as early as 300AD. At that time, it comprised three villages – Uidh, Raa and Paible, the latter being the largest settlement on the island.

Land was farmed and used for grazing livestock. While the last inhabitants left in 1974, their historical remnants and presence are prevalent across the island, from the remains of their black houses above the beach at Paible to the ruins of the iron age crannog in the middle of the uppermost loch.

The couple, who also own Harris's Borve Lodge Estate, now plan to reintroduce native trees to the uninhabited island.

Adam and Cathra Kelliher. Picture: Borve Lodge EstateAdam and Cathra Kelliher. Picture: Borve Lodge Estate
Adam and Cathra Kelliher. Picture: Borve Lodge Estate

Mr Kelliher told the BBC: “We want to get it to the state of what it was like before intensive agriculture and before intensive grazing, which has taken a toll on the Island. It would’ve once been forested. It would’ve been rich in flora and fauna. Unfortunately, that’s all gone now and so we would like to recreate it."

Mrs Kelliher previously told The Scotsman that while the couple hope to restore some of Taransay’s “wilderness”, they are not rewilding the island.

She said the island would also be a place where people can visit and enjoy its history.

Taransay made more of a name for itself when it was chosen as the setting for the BBC programme, which challenged a group of 36 people to build a community.

Ben Fogle, who took part in the TV show in the early 2000s, had also bid to purchase the windswept island that made him a star, but narrowly missed out.

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