Today’s Independent carries a feature, by Graham Norwood, on islands for sale around the UK and elsewhere. For just £95,000, you can buy the island of Sully, 500 yards off the Welsh coast and once home to Alfredo de Marisco, a Norman pirate. Ailsa Craig, a somewhat larger and more famous island off the Ayrshire coast could be yours for £2.5m.
Aside from the probable deal-breaker of getting cost-effective access to high-speed broadband on a small island, it strikes me that island living could be perfect for the successful sovereign professional. Working virtually with teams scattered around the world, what could be better than a remote and rural retreat from which to operate?
The current evidence seems to be against me, though. Global trends show a relentless migration from rural to urban living and, in her book, The Shift, Lynda Gratton talks of the growth of mega-cities and the tendency for knowledge elites to cluster in hubs. Add to that, the inevitable increase in travel costs coming from carbon taxes and rural regeneration looks a little unlikely. I’m not 100% convinced yet, though. I would anticipate that in developed nations like the UK, given a reduced requirement for daily travel to a place of work, people will take the option to live where they choose, rather than where they need. For some, perhaps at the family-rearing stage, that will mean the attraction of green open spaces within reach (but not daily reach) of meeting points and centres of excellence. Ok, maybe that’s not quite an island, but it may be a small village regenerated.
As a slight digression, reading this reminds me of two islands which always captured my childhood imagination (and which as far as I know are not for sale): one in the middle of Lochindorb and the other giving its name to Loch an Eilein. Both islands hold the crumbling remains of castles which were strongholds of the Wolf of Badenoch, Earl of Buchan, Lord of Badenoch and son of King Robert II who is infamous for razing Elgin Cathedral.
I guess he was both sovereign (holding a rather brutal sway over much of the north of Scotland) and professional (he was Justiciar of Scotia, the highest legal office in Medieval Scotland); just not a “sovereign professional”.