Bid to revive remote island with buyout
A REMOTE island off the coast of Wester Ross that is home to just two people could be repopulated if a proposed community buyout goes ahead.
Tanera Mor, the largest of the Summer Isles, has been valued at £2.6 million, and residents on the nearby mainland of Achiltibuie are in talks with the island’s owners about a buyout that could see a number of people from the mainland move on to the 800-acre isle.
The island, which issues its own postage stamps and was part of the inspiration for the cult film The Wicker Man, was home to 118 people in 1881, but by 1931 the island had been deserted, with only occasional residents living there since.
The area around Achiltibuie, home to about 260 people, is not community owned and is spread out on two private estates.
A consultation on a possible buyout, funded by £3,500 from Highlands and Island Enterprise, ended last Thursday. The results will be presented to locals at a public meeting on 7 February.
Lizzie and Richard Williams, Tanera Mor’s two residents, took over running the island from Lizzie’s family, the Wilders. The Wilders bought the island in 1996 and passed the title of Tanera Mor on to their three offspring – Jack, Harry and Lizzie – in 2010. They took the decision to approach the community to discuss the possibility of a community buyout last year.
Local development officer Julia Campbell said there had been “a healthy response” from residents to the survey.
She said: “It is not like Gigha or Eigg – in that the community would be buying the island they live on. But we need more people to live in Achiltibuie.”
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