Isle of Eigg population rises to more than 100

Cleadale on the Isle of Eigg. The population of the island has risen by 60 per cent since a community buy-out in 1997. Picture: Allan Milligan/TSPL

Cleadale on the Isle of Eigg. The population of the island has risen by 60 per cent since a community buy-out in 1997. Picture: Allan Milligan/TSPL

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A community on one of the most remote island communities in Scotland is celebrating after the population surpassed 100 for the first time in at least half a century.

There are now 105 people living on the Isle of Eigg, one of the Small Isles which lie south of Skye, including a baby born in January.

Construction underway on a new pier at Eigg in 2003. Picture: Donald Macleod

Construction underway on a new pier at Eigg in 2003. Picture: Donald Macleod

The population of the island has increased by 60 per cent since a community buy-out in 1997.

Five children now attend the primary school and are among the 19 children on the island – older youngsters attend Mallaig High School, 18 miles away on the mainland.

The Isle of Eigg Heritage Trust, which owns the island, has over the years built a tea shop and set-up forestry projects and created much other employment.

READ MORE: Outer Hebrides battle to reverse steep population decline

Maggie Fyffe, secretary of the trust, said: ”I think what we have achieved is fantastic. Eigg is very much a different place now.

“We only recently realised we have passed 100 residents. We never really set targets – slow and sustainable growth is what is important.

“It is also pleasing to see such a diverse population with a healthy demographic. To have 19 children here is wonderful and the oldest resident is in her 80s. It is a good and varied mix. We have achieved a lot and we hope to achieve even more in the years to come.

“There is no question it has been worth it. The employment opportunities have increased considerably and we have renovated a lot of houses and improved the environment. We have a lot to be proud of.”

Eigg had a population of more than 500 during the early 1800s but, like other island communities, it steadily fell as landowners increasingly turned over crofts for sheep farming.

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