Published: 07/03/2012 17:30 - Updated: 07/03/2012 17:45

Ross MSP steps into island debate

Written byby Hector Mackenzie

David Thompson wants the value of the island to the area to be recognised
David Thompson wants the value of the island to the area to be recognised

A DINGWALL-based MSP is urging his Scottish Government colleagues to protect the historic island which lies beneath the Skye Bridge. 

MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, Dave Thompson, is flagging the great signifiance of Eilean Bàn given uncertainty over its future.

The home to author Gavin Maxwell and a Stevenson lighthouse, the island attracts visitors and is something of a local landmark.

Eilean Bàn Trust, which maintains and protects the wildlife on the island, is concerned that their future is uncertain due to the sale of the island.

Transport Scotland is planning to sell it after first offering it to another department in the Government.

Mr Thompson has written to the Government to highlight the historical and environmental significance of the island.

He says the Trust is an excellent proprietor that draws tourists.

He exaplined: “The Eilean Bàn Trust does an excellent job of drawing tourists to this historical island which sits beneath the Skye Bridge. The Trust looks after the lighthouse, the museum and the wildlife and without this maintenance many visitors might pass over without a thought. 

“I fear that if the island is sold, and the Trust’s lease is not extended, the good work of the Trust will go to waste. Ideally I would like to see the island sold to another Government department, like Scottish Natural Heritage."

Hugh Davies, chairman of the Eilean Bàn Trust, said: “We are delighted that Dave Thompson has taken up our cause.

“The termination of the lease would be detrimental to local schools as the Trust gives youngsters access to all the many educational benefits of the island. The benefits are historical and environmental. The local disability access group use the island extensively too.

“Tourists to Skye, Wester Ross and Lochalsh stop off on the island because Maxwell’s book Ring of Bright Water is much loved. All in all it would be a great pity to see all our hard work go to waste.”

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