New partnership launched to forge closer bonds on Canna

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A new partnership for Canna has just been launched by the island’s owners, National Trust for Scotland, with the aim of forging closer ties between it and and islanders.

The Canna Partnership aims to use the skills and experience of both to develop a positive future for Canna.

A formal agreement between the two will see islanders become more deeply involved in the formal operational and strategic management of the island.

They will work with the trust to employ staff, develop island properties, deliver better services for visitors and look after Canna’s unique cultural and natural heritage.

Canna House from the sea. Photograph: NTS NO-41-Canna-02-scaled.jpg
Canna House from the sea. Photograph: NTS

Geraldine MacKinnon, chairperson of the Isle of Canna Community Development Trust, said the move was a real step forward for the island.

She added: ‘The National Trust for Scotland has owned Canna since 1981 and, as a community, we have benefited from its ownership.

‘However, the time has come to work even more closely together to build a thriving and sustainable community here.

‘We all work and have very busy lives, but have found time to come together as a community to open and run a community shop, develop our own award-winning renewable energy system for the island and install and manage community moorings.

‘We are currently raising money to build three new houses on the island to help grow our population and looking at plans for new tourism accommodation and community and visitor facilities.

‘We may be small in number, but we are very resourceful and resilient and we will be bringing that, together with our passion for this beautiful place, to the partnership.’

Phil Long, chief executive of the National Trust for Scotland, said the trust had been proud custodians of Canna since it was gifted to them by the renowned Gaelic scholar John Lorne Campbell and his wife, Margaret Fay Shaw in 1981.

John Lorne Campbell and his wife, Margaret Fay Shaw outside their home on Canna. Photograph: NTS NO F41 JLC and MFS
John Lorne Campbell and his wife, Margaret Fay Shaw outside their home on Canna. Photograph: NTS
NO F41 JLC and MFS

‘As well as the island, they also gifted to the trust an exceptionally important archive of Gaelic song, stories and poetry, a vital part of Scotland’s heritage.

‘Campbell’s legacy was clear in that the island was gifted to the trust to ensure the preservation of the unique Hebridean way of life and culture of Canna,’ explained Mr Long.

‘In our 40 years of ownership, we have invested significantly to protect this legacy and ensure the special natural and cultural heritage of Canna is preserved for future generations.

‘The people who live on Canna are central to that legacy and we could not fulfil our obligations to John Lorne Campbell without them.

‘The partnership will ensure we can harness the trust’s long experience of caring for such special places to the community’s drive and passion to build a successful future for the island.

‘Our joint work on housing development and improving the visitor experience are examples of where we can work better together. Like the community, we are ambitious for Canna and excited to see how the Partnership can develop.’

Canna. Photograph: NTS NO-F41-Canna-o4-scaled.jpg
Canna. Photograph: NTS