Residents of Carloway are celebrating after finally taking control of the land on which they live.

From today, the Carloway Estate Trust takes ownership of the 11,400 hectare estate, which includes Callanish, Breasclete, Tolsta Chaolais and the townships of Doune, Kirivick and Knock.

The estate value was previously estimated at £180,000 and the community voted 254 to 86 in a postal ballot to proceed with plans for a community takeover.

This was a turnout of 68 per cent.

Carloway Estate was previously owned by the Galloway family.

They said in a statement: “The Galloway family wish to place on record their appreciation of the diligence and professionalism shown by Simon Fraser and Margaret Mackay and the staff of Anderson Macarthur and by John Moffat and the staff of Mann Judd Gordon, who provided continuous guidance and support during the life of Carloway Estates Limited and especially in the time leading up to the sale of the Estate.  

“As the Carloway Estate Trust embraces its new challenges, we hope that the new management regime will bring prosperity, stability and development to the community and its residents.”

Kenny John Maclennan, Chair of the Carloway Estate Trust, commented: “This has to be seen as the first step in a process that we hope will see prosperity, development, and long term benefit for the residents of Carloway Estate.  We have been in the fortunate position of having a willing seller, and I would like to thank the Galloway family for their professional approach to their entire process.

“We also owe thanks to the Scottish Government’s Scottish Land Fund, Big Lottery, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Community Land Scotland, Harper MacLeod, Total Design and various individuals who exerted huge voluntary effort during the process to date. 

“We are also part of a pilot scheme with The Crown Estate where we will be the first community buyout group to acquire the foreshore – so that is another very exciting development.  We have appointed a Development Officer starting on 6th July who will be looking at ways to improve all aspects of the estate for the benefit of all our residents.”

He added: “We also realise that the real work starts now, but we are delighted to have come through the process with a successful outcome, and one that the community voted for.  It will now be the remit of the new board of directors following the AGM to take all this good work forward where the residents of Carloway Estate can see tangible benefits as a direct result of community ownership. 

“Plans are in hand for a community celebration event to take place in Breasclete hall on the 6th June, full details to be advised shortly.”