By 'eck! It's Yorkshire's Robinson Crusoe: Brit who bought a cut-price island in the Seychelles 50 years ago... and still lives in blissful solitude w

-Sprightly 86-year-old bought Seychelles island for £8,000 in 1962
-When he bought Moyenne, it was overgrown with scrub so dense that coconuts could not fall to the ground


Real life Robinson Crusoe: Brendon has helped preserve the region's giant turtles. He paints them with identifying numbers and even names them

Surely it’s what many of us dream about while trudging into the office during another April downpour.
Why not escape the rat race and the grey skies to live on a sunny tropical island?
Brendon Grimshaw has done just that. In 1962, the Yorkshireman bought Moyenne - a small island just half a mile wide - in the Seychelles for the princely sum of £8,000, and he has been living there ever since.
The sprightly 86-year-old wakes to the sound of rustling palm trees and the Indian Ocean lapping against the shore.
He spends his days caring for the island’s tortoises and birds that also call it home. When he bought Moyenne, it was overgrown with scrub so dense that coconuts could not fall to the ground. But Brendon worked tirelessly to transform the island into his own little patch of heaven.

Life's a beach: Brendon Grimshaw on Moyenne, the Seychelles island he bought in 1962 for £8,000

Living in this unique wildlife reserve, he has survived tropical storms, sharks, ghosts, a coup d’etat in the Seychelles and a mercenary raid.
Scattered over a vast area of the Indian Ocean, the 115 islands of the Seychelles are among the most spectacular on the planet. There are just 85,000 inhabitants, but hundreds of secluded beaches.
I visited the Seychelles while filming my new BBC TV series, to find Somali pirates in the prisons and Dutch Special Forces training local troops to repel more attacks.
But it was a visit to Brendon’s island, and meeting the man himself, that caught my imagination.

Island: Moyenne was abandoned until Brendon purchased it 50 years ago

Just a hop away from the capital, Victoria, on the island of Mahe, and surrounded by azure and turquoise waters, the 22½ acres of Moyenne stand out from the neighbouring islands, which are owned by billionaires, Arab princes and Russian oligarchs, and include some of the most glorious holiday retreats in the world.
Surrounded by protective coral reef, Moyenne looked wild and uninhabited - until I caught a glimpse of a wooden building poking through the trees.
I was warmly greeted by Brendon in his T-shirt and shorts, standing on a picture-perfect beach.
Lithe, wiry and tanned, he still has his Dewsbury accent, which seems wildly out of place in such an exotic setting.
Together we climbed steps hewn out of the rock and past clusters of palm trees to where Brendon’s one-storey wooden house clings to the hillside.

Paradise: Brendon wakes to the sound of rustling palm trees and the Indian Ocean lapping against the shore

It’s where he looks after his 120 giant tortoises.
A whopper was sitting on the steps. Among the world’s longest living creatures, they have been known to survive for more than 180 years.
Giant tortoises are indigenous to the Seychelles, but have been killed off on most of the other islands.
Brendon has been gradually reintroducing them to his corner of the Indian Ocean, painting them with identifying numbers and giving them names such as Alice, Florita and Four Degrees South (the island’s latitude).
His house is eccentric and well-worn, a bit like its owner, and furnished with African souvenirs and curios that testify to Brendon’s years in the tropics.

Man Friday: Brendon recruited local Rene Lafortune to help him make Moyenne habitable

But it’s fair to say Brendon has never been motivated by money.
He could have taken the Saudi prince’s blank cheque many years ago and moved to a luxurious retirement home.
Instead he has worked tirelessly to transform and preserve Moyenne, ensuring that when he finally does leave the island it will be protected and passed to the people of the Seychelles as a protected national park.
‘Brendon is the modern Robinson Crusoe,’ says Joel Morgan, environment minister for the Seychelles. ‘He’s a naturalist, a conservationist and a damned hard worker.’
Moyenne Island National Park boasts a glorious array of wildlife, along with 40 species of palm trees, including the exotic bwa-bannann (known as the wood banana) and 13 coco de mer, or sea coconut.

Natural disguise: Surrounded by protective coral reef, Moyenne looks wild and uninhabited

New home: Brendon makes himself at home on Moyenne shortly after he 'moved in' in 1962

The island has been Brendon’s life, and as he has struggled and toiled to create a spectacular home,  it has repaid him by giving him a tonic that no doctor can prescribe: a real sense of purpose and meaning.
Out in the Indian Ocean, Brendon Grimshaw, Dewsbury-born and Yorkshire proud, is still living the  dream.
Indian Ocean on BBC2 is presented by Simon Reeve. He visits the Seychelles in next Sunday’s episode at 8pm.

Presenter: Simon Reeve visits the Seychelles in next Sunday's episode of Indian Ocean on BBC2

source: dailymail