Highlands & Islands

Community to buy out 3,000 acres in Sutherland

GACI Image copyright GACI
Image caption Directors of the community group GACI

The final tranche of funding has been secured for a community buyout of 3,000 acres of land in Sutherland.

Garbh Allt Community Initiative (GACI) is to purchase Marrel, West Helmsdale, Gartymore and Portgower common grazing townships.

Common grazings are traditionally areas of land shared by crofters to raise livestock.

The initiative has secured £29,918 in matched funding from a fund linked to a massive offshore wind farm project.

The £6m Beatrice Partnership Fund is related to the Beatrice Offshore Windfarm Limited (Bowl), a renewable energy scheme being constructed in the Outer Moray Firth at a cost of £2.6bn.

GACI has already been awarded £273,000 from the Scottish Land Fund.

Anne Fraser, chairwoman of the community group said: "We are absolutely delighted to have secured this funding from Beatrice.

"We will now be moving forwards with the owner, Sutherland Estates, to complete the purchase.

"We are excited that we can, at last, put our plans into action."

She added: "We will soon be advertising for a development officer and we will be holding information events in the area to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to hear what we're proposing and to have their say in the plans for the future of the GACI area."

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