The last family to live on a private island in the middle of Loch Lomond has launched a bid to buy the ‘magical hideaway’ - and open it to the public as an eco-retreat.

The uninhabited Inchconnachan Island, which is famous for its colony of wallabies, is on the market for £500,000.

The island is only accessible by boat and no-one has lived there for 20 years.

But now the daughter of the last man to live there has launched a crowdfunding campaign to try and buy the island for community use.

Elise Wilkes-Brand, 28, spent much of her childhood visiting Inchconnachan Island with her sisters after their father, Tony, moved there in the mid-1990s to become its warden.

It has been owned by the Colquhoun family since the 14th century but Elise said had always wanted to take on the island and bring it into good use for the public.

She said the island retained a strong sentimental pull and her family believed it should be opened up for the public rather than becoming a private retreat for a wealthy buyer.

Elise, an architect from Devon said: “As a kid, we would drive up and I always remember that getting on the boat to the island was just like magic.

“It always seemed to be night time when we arrived and then we would head to the house, which a lot of people told us was haunted.

“There was this big ditch you had to go by and I was petrified of that. In my head, I was crossing this dark swamp in the middle of the night.”

“We want to do everything we can to save the island and do with it what it deserves.”

The island comes with a derelict bungalow dating from the 1920s, which was once the holiday home of thrill-seeking aristocrat Fiona Gore, Countess of Arran.

The family’s vision is to restore the Colonial-style lodge which will serve as a visitor and education centre.

Elise also wants to rebuild the jetty to allow the public to safely visit, open a cafe and create a raised boardwalk which will wind through the woodland.

It is hoped to offer a retreat for disabled children on the island with camping pods dotted over Inchconnachan also part of the plan.

Elise said her father paid Luss Estates to live on the island as part of a deal where he would look after the properties and the land.

She recalled the wallabies, especially the tamest one which she named ‘kangaroo’.

Food shopping trips were made to Luss, where water bottles were also filled, but the island’s blaeberries were also popular.

Elise said her father, an inventor and writer who now lives in France, was happy on Inchconnachan although she added he did find it a little lonely at times.

A recent trip there found the cabin vandalised and litter left by wild campers, she said.

Elise said: “The island was put on the sale for £500K which we thought might achievable but we spoke to the estate agent a few days ago who said there had been a lot of interest already and that he didn’t think it would go for anything less than a million.

“There is now a closing date of August 11 which means we need to raise double the original amount in three weeks.

“Whatever amount of money we receive, we will make an offer.”

She said the family had gone for the simplest crowdfunding model, with the deadline making it impossible to set up a charity or business in the first instance.

If successful Elise said a trust will be set up to run the island.

She added: “If our bid is declined for a higher offer, the money will then be used to support the John Muir Trust, People’s Trust for Endangered Species and Enable Scotland, who work with the environment, wildlife, endangered species, education and people with disabilities.

“This way, whether we succeed or fail, the ‘Wallaby Island Project’ will have a lasting positive impact for the local area and the environment.”

“The island really is part of us.

“We want to know we did everything we could to save it.”