Kate Winslet reveals Scots island is favourite retreat

KATE Winslet has named a Scots island hideaway as her favourite place in the world in a new travel guide.

The old schoolhouse on Eilean Shona

The Oscar-winning actress told of her love for the Hebridean island of Eilean Shona, which inspired the faraway place of Neverland in Peter Pan.

The Titanic star revealed she takes regular trips to the retreat with her family where she can escape the pressure of fame as there is no signal for her mobile phone there.

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The island is owned by businessman Sir Richard Branson’s sister Vanessa Branson, who bought the 1300-acre hideaway in 1995 with her then husband, entrepreneur Robert Devereux,

Mother-of-three Winslet, 41, is married to Ned Rocknroll, Richard and Vanessa’s nephew, and she spent her 40th birthday on Eilean Shona last year.

She wrote about the joy of spending time on Eilean Shona in a new book called Chic Stays: Condé Nast Traveller’s Favourite People on Their Favourite Places.

She said: “The majority of people I know are enthralled by the idea of luxury well-earned at the end of an adventure-filled day and the uncertainty of the wild outdoors – the perfect combination of which can be found on Eilean Shona’s magnificent isolated shores.

“A spectacularly beautiful isle on the west coast of Scotland, from which Eigg, Muck and Rum can be seen in the distance like giant sea myths emerging from below, it has been owned and loved by Vanessa Branson and Robert Devereux for more than two decades.

“Their friends, children and children’s friends have filled every crack and peak with memories over the years, the presence of which can be keenly felt as you wander through magical Peter Pan forests and throw yourself against wild winds on remote white-sand beaches.

“Modern art mixes with old, and Moroccan plates and rugs adorn cupboards and floorboards of the recently-renovated Old Schoolhouse, from where I write this.

“All I can hear is the sound of an excitable stream, babbling down the hillside to the loch, and the wind whipping gently through the valley. A faint pop and creak comes from the wood-burning stove in the corner of the whitewashed kitchen, upon which we just fried up some fish.

“And if I were to describe the cauldrons of mussels we cooked on the beach, washed down with Chablis we chilled in the sea, you probably wouldn’t believe me.

“This is the kind of magic one longs for, looks for and seldom finds.

“If you feel the need for extreme peace, look no further. If you long to look at your mobile phone and see that it constantly says no service, this is the sanctuary you have been searching for. Eilean Shona is heaven on earth.”

Other regular visitors to the island include comedian Jack Whitehall, and Princess Eugenie who spent much of her childhood there as Vanessa Branson’s daughter Florence is her best friend.

Earlier this year, Vanessa revealed she was now opening the family’s island home in Loch Moidart, 45 miles from Fort William, to visitors, movie makers and wedding parties.

She said: “It is a microcosm of everything you want, a world within itself. It’s got woodland, barren hills, sandy beaches, the still deep waters of the north channel, the racing tides of the south channel, and it’s rich in biodiversity.”

Other celebrities to contribute to the travel guide include supermodel Kate Moss, who told of her love for the Maldives, and actor Eddie Redmayne who waxes lyrical about the Amalfi Coast in Italy.