The Man Who Gave Away His Island

The Life of John Lorne Campbell of Canna by Ray Perman

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An old rowing boat high and dry on the beach at Barra

Change can be painfully slow.  A new conservation campaign, the Our Seas Coalition, is calling for trawlers to be banned from fishing within three miles of Scotland’s shoreline.  Almost 90 years ago John Lorne Campbell was campaigning for sustainable fishery in Scottish waters. 

Decades ahead of his time, John – the man who gave his island to the National Trust for Scotland in 1981 – saw trawling as a threat to sustainability. Now, almost 25 years after his death, the NTS is part of a campaign to reinstate a three-nautical-mile ban which was lifted in 1984.

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John Lorne Campbell’s last journey home

Another stormy summer solstice stirs memories. Nine years ago John Lorne Campbell’s body was returned to the Island of Canna for burial in the woodland he had planted near Canna House. That much was planned well in advance but like many island stories it had taken unexpected twists and turns on a long journey home from Italy. Read more

Muck: an island community enterprise

I have been passing Muck on the ferry for more than 30 years, but never managed to set foot on it until recently. It is such a lovely island and such a vibrant community, I wish I had landed years ago.

Muck is half the size of Canna, but has managed to maintain its population at around 40 for fifty years – whereas Canna’s has halved in that time. The flexible attitude of the MacEwan family who own it, is a large part of the reason. If someone wants to do something – build a house, keep stock, start a business – the answer is generally ‘yes,’ with no demand for extra rent. Read more