Time for a radical rethink on Canna

From boat leaving Canna at sunset

Very disappointing news from Canna that Graham and Olivia Uney are to leave the island after less than a year. Their blog, Leaving Canna, gives brief details. I don’t know enough about the facts to  comment on their individual circumstances, but since this is the fifth family to leave in two years, surely the National Trust for Scotland, which owns the island must ask itself some hard questions.

Living in a small community is not easy, especially when infrequent ferries or bad weather can isolate you for days or even weeks.  But that doesn’t adequately explain why the trust’s attempts to build up the population have so consistently failed. Neighbouring Muck, a smaller island, has a growing population three times the size of Canna.

One factor which needs to be examined is that every new family arriving is dependent on the trust for either their employment, their accommodation or both. The trust is effectively an absentee landlord. Some independence is necessary in any sustainable community. Over the 30 years since John Lorne Campbell gifted the island to the NTS none of the families brought to the island by advertising has put down roots.

Time for a radical rethink.

view from Sanday across rocks to Canna

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3 Responses to Time for a radical rethink on Canna

  1. The Uneys have only been on Canna since May. This is shocking. I am of the previous family to have left Canna at the end of February this year after only 7 months on the island. Before, during and after our departure we had a series of phone calls, correspondence and meetings with the National Trust for Scotland (at local, regional, national and head office level) to inform them about what was going on on the island and why we left. They ignored what we had to tell them. They did not want to know. Their arrogance is astounding. They are wasting the public’s donations and membership fees with their shocking mismanagement of Canna (I can’t comment on their other properties) as well as wrecking people’s lives every time they ‘invite’ a new family there. More than half the population has left in the last two years. The Trust knows why but they do nothing. John Lorne Campbell’s wish that the community be strengthened has been ignored. Would the National Trust for Scotland please face the facts?

  2. @grannygal says:

    There was an article about this in yesterday’s Telegraph I’ll try and post the link on Twitter.

  3. Pingback: Re-writing the final chapter on Canna | The Man Who Gave Away His Island

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