Could you live on this amazing island?
Isle Of Vaila, Walls, Shetland, Scotland ZE2
*You can click on any of the photos and open up a slideshow.
Situated in 757 acres on a private island this 17th century castellated mansion has just been sold by Savills for £1.75m so you're too late!
It has 4 reception rooms, 6 bedrooms, Cloudin Farmhouse (3 bedrooms),
Caretaker's Cottage (2 bedrooms), over 6.5 miles of coastline and an 18th century watchtower.
The Isle of Vaila lies in the west of the Shetland Islands archipelago, the northernmost part of the United Kingdom, comprising 100 scattered islands at the crossroads of the North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. Vaila is separated from mainland Shetland by Vaila Sound, just a short 10 minute boat journey from the island’s private shore base into a sheltered bay with a pier.
Lerwick, the capital of Shetland, is about 27 miles from the shore base.
The Isle of Vaila has been inhabited for thousands of years. By about 1450, a number of Norwegian landowners held major estates in Shetland.
Following generations of Norwegian ownership, Vaila was passed to Gorvel Fadersdottir who granted a lease to Robert Cheyne which was confirmed by King James VI in 1576. The island was then passed to James Mitchell of Girlsta who built the Old Haa in 1696 and then to his descendants, the Scotts of Melby.
Following the Scotts’ ownership during the 19th century, Arthur Anderson, the founder of the P&O Shipping company, leased Vaila in 1837 from the Scotts family and established the Shetland Fishery Company there. A significant moment in history, this broke the power of the lairds who had previously controlled the Shetland fishing industry.
By the mid-19th century, Vaila was supporting a number of tenant crofters and fishermen. However, by 1873 the island proved to be insufficient to support the tenants and in 1893 the island was sold to Herbert Anderton, a Yorkshire mill owner, who developed Vaila as a farm, building Cloudin Farmhouse and expanding the Old Haa as a summer residence into what is now known as Vaila Hall.
The first decade of the 20th century saw many lavish parties held at Vaila Hall and in 1901 30 people were working on the island. By 1915, Anderton was developing plans to extend the Hall by the addition of a chapel and a servants wing to the east with a courtyard beyond. However, the First World War put an end to these plans. The Andertons' reign lasted 100 years until 1993 when they sold the island to a solicitor, Richard Rowland, and his Polish wife, Dorota Rychlik. In June 2022, the couple put the island on the market for £1.75 million.
On arrival to Vaila Hall you are met with impressive stone steps that lead up to the wooden front door. The Mitchell’s coat of arms dated 1696 is carved above the doorway inside the baronial great hall and the corbelled turret features a bartisan, whilst battlements and crow steps go over the great hall combining both wings of the mansion.
Since the owners purchased the island in 1993, the house has undergone an extensive and sympathetic restoration to provide a well-appointed and comfortable home. The well-proportioned accommodation is arranged over three floors.
The Great Hall is furnished with the original late 1800s furniture and is centred around a massive stone arched fireplace.
Full height stained glass windows depicting the Anderton crest lead up to the ornate Moroccan mahogany panels that line the ceiling with the Minstrels’ Gallery lying opposite. Very much the heart of the house, the Great Hall has retained its unique architectural features and is from where the rest of the ground floor rooms are accessed.
Off the Great Hall lies the study that enjoys delightful views over Vaila Sound. Featuring a bell tower, the room also has a concealed entrance through to the functional kitchen. To the south of the Great Hall lies the library boasting original cornicing and fitted bookcases.
The focal point of the Morning Room is the grand, carved wooden fireplace providing an ideal place to host intimate dinner parties. The adjoining conservatory provides useful entertainment space. The room is warm and light with fine views westwards towards Mucklaberry Tower and to the sea beyond.
The first floor has four bedrooms which all enjoy fine views towards the surrounding coastline. The second floor has two further attic bedrooms and an additional bathroom.
*Click on the left and right arrows to see more photos.
I guess if you want isolation, peace and quiet then this would be great. Lot's of planning would be needed to ensure you had all supplies available.
I'm sure an initial period of exploring and excitement would wear off and you realised you couldn't just 'nip' anywhere or see your friends and family. Whilst I love the idea of living there it's just too remote for me to live there full time and no doubt travelling there is going to be tough.
One of our first clients over 20 years ago in Esher moved to a property on the Isle of Bute and I remember her telling me there's no coming home late as the ferry stops at 8pm.
Never the less a fantastic property, full of history in an amazing location.
I hope you've enjoyed reading this, we'll post more amazing properties over the coming months.
Wishing you all the best.
t: 020 8786 0520
Photography Credit: Savills
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