The Life of John Lorne Campbell of Canna by Ray Perman

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