Holm of Grimbister is a small island lying close to the Orkney mainland and the capital, Kirkwall.
During low tide is accessible by foot or vehicle across a causeway.
Spanning around 40 acres, much of it prime Orkney grassland, the island includes a traditional cottage providing basic accommodation and an attached L shaped steading with excellent conversion potential.
The name ‘Grimbister’ is from Old Norse meaning Grim’s Farm, and the island would originally have belonged to the Bishopric Estate, which, like other neighbouring lands, accrued to Bishop Graham in around 1620.
Fast forward to the 20th century and records show that the island was eventually sold to its tenant farmer, JW Leslie, by the Breckness Estate in the 1960s.
The island featured in the 1994 BBC television series ‘Island Race’ presented by Sandi Toksvig and former Beirut hostage and journalist, John McCarthy.
Holm of Grimbister was once described in a somewhat sensationalist magazine article in 1948 thus: “In the Bay of Firth among the Orkney Isles is a speck of an island which is the loneliest farm in Britain.”
The article does go on to say that for those who crave solitude, the island provides, “the only life in the world. . . and infinite peace.”
Self sufficiency is certainly possible on this little island. The land has been managed on a low intensity organic basis for over 20 years. Although not registered with the Soil Association, the island has not received any inputs of artificial fertilisers or sprays in that time.
The land is currently all in grass and stocked with a closed flock of Hebridean and North Ronaldsay sheep.
The current owner has successfully grown various crops including bere, oats, barley and potatoes on a small scale as part of a self-sufficient lifestyle and there is a small wind turbine owned by Mistral Energy which generates all the island’s electricity.
Unlike many islands, the close proximity to the mainland means that Holm of Grimbister also benefits from mains electricity, water and a BT telephone line.
Savills Jamie Watson said: “The Holm of Grimbister provides the best of island living, with all the attractions for those trying to get away from it all, including seal colonies and a wonderful array of nature and wildlife.
“What makes this place special, however, is that the usual drawbacks to island living such as a lack of mains services, access only by boat or helicopter and then only in good weather, the necessity for forward planning to make sure adequate supplies are kept in case access is restricted for long periods, simply don’t apply at Holm of Grimbister, which has the great advantage of being accessible by vehicle or on foot at low tide.
“It is then only a short trip to Orkney’s capital Kirkwall, which has all the modern conveniences required. The island has been farmed on an organic system for over 20 years, and the good land quality could allow for a self-sufficient system going forward. The extensive traditional farm buildings also lend themselves well to conversion to increase the accommodation.”