McCall Smith defends purchase of islands

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city author Alexander McCall Smith says he bought a chain of unoccupied islands “for the people of Scotland”.

The Morningside-based writer splashed out £300,000 on the Cairns of Coll in the Hebrides, which can only be reached by boat and even then only in decent weather.

McCall Smith, who penned the No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, denied suggestions he had bought the islands as a personal retreat.

He said: “I bought a string of Scottish islands to protect them and keep them as a nature reserve. That’s all.

“The islands in question will be held in trust for the people of Scotland. What’s wrong with that? If I had not bought them, then something regrettable could have happened to them.”

McCall Smith previously bought a Highland retreat to focus on his work. The 
property in Argyll was 
purchased by the author as an intended writing space, but he said that the space was “not currently right”.