February ballot for Carloway Estate land buyout

RESIDENTS of the Carloway Estate on Lewis - site of the world renowned Callanish Standing Stones - are to be balloted next month on a potential community buyout of the land.

The Carloway Estate is the site of the world renowned Callanish Standing Stones. Picture: Toby Williams

The Galloway family, which own the estate, are understood to be willing to discuss a possible sale. Less than 1,000 people live on the 11,400 acre estate which includes Callanish, Breasclete, Tolsta Chaolais and the townships of Doune, Kirivick and Knock.

Local residents set up a steering group to examine the financial viability of staging a community buyout of the land two years ago. And the Western Isles Council today announced that residents will be asked to vote on the proposed buy out on 24 February.

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A council spokesman said: “A ballot is to be held of all electors within the Carloway Estate area where electors will be asked whether they would be in favour of Carloway Estate Trust (Urras Oigreachd Chàrlabhaigh) buying the Carloway Estate, including the sporting and mineral rights, from the current landowner.

“Postal ballot papers will be issued to electors within the Carloway Estate Area on 10 February. Completed ballot papers must be returned by 4pm on Monday 24 February. The counting of votes will take place in Breasclete Community Centre at 7.30pm on Monday 24 February. The count will be open to the public.

The 5,000 year-old Callanish Standing Stones - visited by Pixar executives during their research for the film “Brave” - are in the care of Historic Scotland. Kirsty Wade, the Commonwealth triple gold medallist, raised the Olympic flame at the site during the torch relay’s journey through Scotland.