Eigg islanders observe 16 years of community buyout

Eigg has the first completely wind, water and sun-powered electricity grid in the world. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Eigg has the first completely wind, water and sun-powered electricity grid in the world. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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ISLANDERS on Eigg are today celebrating 16 years of its historic community buyout – a time which has seen population soar by 40%.

The pioneering purchase which gave islanders control of their future for the first time.

The first major community buy-out in 1997 – after decades of problems with absentee landlords – led the way in the land reform movement throughout Scotland.

Among its achievements, Eigg has the first completely wind, water and sun-powered electricity grid in the world.

It was on 12 June 1997 that the residents bought the island for £1.75 million, aided by a £1 million gift from an anonymous donor.

It was purchased by the Isle of Eigg Heritage Trust - a partnership involving the residents of Eigg, the Highland Council, and the Scottish Wildlife Trust.

John Hutchison, chair of the Isle of Eigg Heritage Trust, said; “We have come a very long way since 1997.

“At that time we had an uncertain future and a dispirited, shrinking population.

“Now we have 40% increase in the population and a healthy school roll. The community continues to work enthusiastically in taking the Island forwards.”

The Isle of Eigg, which now has approximately 90 residents, is the second largest of the Small Isles,10 miles off the west coast of Scotland and south of the Isle of Skye.