When Keith Schellenberg woke up one morning in 1994 to find his prized 1927 Rolls-Royce Phantom burnt to a cinder, he realised that his dream of being the benevolent laird of Eigg had also gone up in smoke. The Inner Hebridean island was put up for sale, to the delight of most of its inhabitants.

A rambunctious millionaire businessman from Yorkshire who competed for Great Britain in bobsleigh at the 1956 Winter Olympics and approached most things in life as if he were careering down the Cresta Run, Schellenberg had settled into his estate with supreme confidence after buying the 8,000-acre island in 1975 for £265,000 as “a challenge to my middle age”.

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