Highlands & Islands

Residents offered their island for free

Scalpay. Photo courtesy of Undiscovered Scotland
Image caption Fred Taylor, who owns Scalpay, has written to all of the island's residents

Residents of a Hebridean island have been offered it for free, it has emerged.

Fred Taylor, who owns Scalpay, has written to all of the island's 300-strong population, saying he is prepared to hand over the island, free of charge.

In his letter, Mr Taylor said community land ownership may now be the way forward for communities like Scalpay.

The news has been welcomed by the local MSP, Alasdair Allan.

Fred Taylor's father acquired Scalpay in the 1970s.

In the letter to the islanders, Mr Taylor stated that it had always been important to him to see the community thrive.

He added that if the residents wanted the island, he was prepared to hand Scalpay over at no cost to the community - and suggested that either setting up a community trust or joining the neighbouring North Harris Trust would be one way to progress.

Island MSP Alasdair Allan, said it was a decision for the islanders alone, but anything that could put power into the hands of the people, was to be welcomed.

Scalpay is connected to the Isle of Harris by a bridge and was once a prosperous fishing community.

However, there are now no children under the age of seven on the island and the primary school is due to be closed.

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