A PHARMACEUTICAL tycoon has spoken of his joy after winning the race to own the "magical" island of Taransay – which featured in the BBC TV series Castaway – for a reported £2 million.

Adam Kelliher, originally from New Zealand, beat TV adventurer and the show’s former reality star Ben Fogle to buy the 3445-acre island off the coast of Harris that he fell in love with 20 years ago.

The former journalist and BBC cameraman, who reported from war-torn countries in the Middle East, including Iraq, now runs a pharmaceutical firm in Callanish on Lewis.

Mr Kelliher made his move after contacting the selling agents CKD Galbraith when he found it was for sale on June 1. His bid was accepted six days later.

In a statement, Mr Kelliher, who lives with his wife Cathra in London, promised he would not change the island or prevent people visiting it.

He said: “We learned about the sale through the press on June 1 and, after contacting the agent, knew that we had to act quickly due to the high level of interest. We were deeply humbled when we learned, on June 7, that our offer had been accepted, despite a strong competing bid from another private buyer.

“We do not use the word ‘humbled’ lightly. We are fully aware of what a privilege and a responsibility it is to own this most beautiful and unspoilt of islands.

“Cathra’s father fell in love with the Isle of Harris after a walking holiday there when he was 17 and Cathra has been travelling to Harris since she was a child.

“As a family, we are deeply attached to the Western Isles and to South Harris.

“We have no immediate plans for Taransay beyond maintaining the status quo. We will be working closely with the Mackay family (the previous owners who live on Harris), whom we know as neighbours and with whom we enjoy an excellent relationship, with respect to the island’s management.

He added: “We look forward to many happy years as caretakers of this magical island and hope that those who have been used to visiting Taransay in the past will feel they can continue to do so.”

Mr Kelliher, chief executive and co-founder of Equateq, employs 35 people at his factory which produces omega oils. He also own a lodge overlooking Taransay and an estate on Harris.

Fogle, who last year took part in a reunion on the uninhabited island with the other castaways, was outbid despite claiming to have raised £1m. He had also been working with community landowners the West Harris Trust investigating a community purchase.

He said: “I am bitterly disappointed and sad. I had raised over a million pounds in just two weeks in the hope of buying the island for the local community.”