NEWS

Little Ross Island Where Lighthouse Keeper Was Murdered Goes On Sale For £325,000

Accessible only by private boat or helicopter.

18/07/2017 15:26 | Updated 18 July 2017

An apparently idyllic Scottish island is for sale – for the cost of a two-bedroomed flat in Edinburgh.

Little Ross Island, off the coast of south west Scotland, is home to a 19th century fully-automated lighthouse tower and is a veritable snip at just £325,000 – but it harbours a deadly secret.

This otherwise charming, 29-acre island became famous for a high profile murder case more than 50 years ago when two visitors discovered the body of interim lighthouse keeper Hugh Clarke.

Galbraith/ SWNS
Little Ross Island is off the coast of south west Scotland 

In August 1960 David Collin and his father had arrived on the island as part of a fishing trip when they stumbled across the grisly scene.

Writing about the experience for the Kirkcudbright community website, Collin recalled: “Something did not seem right,” as they happened across a panicked rabbit trapped under a wooden box on a courtyard wall by the keepers’ cottages.

“In the workshop at the base of the tower, the vice on the workbench gripped the sawn-off barrel of a rifle. All was not well”, he added. 

Galbraith/ SWNS
The island is home to a 19th century, fully automated lighthouse tower - though this is not part of the deal 

Clarke was found bloodied and lying in bed, alongside some lengths of rope. His assistant Robert Dickson was sentenced to death by hanging but was reprieved five days before the execution. He took his own life in prison two years later.

Despite the murder, prospective buyers should be aware that Collin insists the air of tragedy surrounding the event does not permeate on the island.

He added: “I am still a regular visitor to Little Ross Island and have occasionally enjoyed a cup of tea in the very room where the murder took place.

“There are no ghosts and no feeling of dread. Sadness does linger, but it is chiefly regret that a life was lost and another initially ruined and ultimately lost.”

Galbraith/ SWNS
The island is located just off Meikle Ross headland on the mainland 

The property listing includes a six bedroom, B-listed cottage and courtyard, though the lighthouse tower is not part of the deal. 

The tower, designed by Alan Stevenson, was built in 1843 to close the gap between other lighthouses at the Mull of Galloway and Southerness and remained manned until the infamous murder over a century later. 

It is now owned and managed by the Commissioners for Northern Lighthouses who make regular maintenance visits to the property throughout the year. 

The listing also includes three B-listed, “ruinous” barns and is completely off-grid with power drawn from solar panels and a small wind turbine. 

Potential owners will only be able to access the island via private boat or helicopter. 

David Corrie, senior associate at Castle Douglas property firm Galbraith said Little Ross, off the coast of Dumfries and Galloway, offers “fantastic development potential”. 

He said: “Back in the 1900s, the island was home to the head lighthouse keeper, underkeeper and their families, extending to 16 people, with a small dairy and piggery to provide subsistence for this family community. 

“With a bit of TLC, the properties on the island could be turned into something truly stunning, with Little Ross Island once again being the perfect island retreat for future generations to enjoy. 

“Private islands rarely come up for sale at an affordable price and particularly one with a habitable house and additional properties. 

“Given the exciting prospect Little Ross Island presents, we expect a lot of interest from all over the UK as well as abroad.” 

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