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Welcome to the Scottish Community Land Network

This site is for people interested in the management and ownership of land-based assets by communities in Scotland. A Scottish Community Land Network, you might say... As you know the internet is a big 'place' with everything about anything so we brought you relevant news and events, and provide opportunities to share ideas with other people interested in this subject. There are almost 1000 members, and more than 800 articles in our archive.


Scottish Community Land Network will not be kept up-to-date after March 2012. However, a new site is being produced by Highlands and Islands Enterprise, and details will be published on this site as soon as they are available.

The most recent articles are available on the home page - previous articles are in their relevant topic areas (browse the 'Topics' menu on the left).

Rum is another country, time passes differently here...

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I’m not the first person to have noticed that time on the island follows its own very peculiar quickstep dance; quick, capsule hospital slow, quick, quick, slow.

a rum signReading through notes of some of the Community Association meetings from last year it struck me that the things which were discussed and debated then are still being discussed and debated now.  I feel like I’m making about as much progress in developing anything as I do when I make an attempt at front crawl; much flailing and splashing, but little forward movement.  What does it take to move a community from ideas to action?

At the moment we seem to be thwarted at every step by a shortage of funds.  It’s unfortunate that the community has taken hold if its own destiny at a time when there is less and less public money available.  Many of the energy efficiency improvements longed for in the housing stock would have been prime candidates for Climate Challenge Funding, were it still available.  All of the income generating enterprises identified in the business plan of 2010 depend on a capital push to get them started; that capital is proving difficult to find.

In the meantime, a big chunk of bathroom ceiling fell down while I was in the shower and a large crack is expanding in a menacing way across the sloping wall of my bedroom.  I’m trying not to worry about it too much.  There is a budget for housing maintenance, but it doesn’t go far round 11 elderly properties, and things keep breaking.  I have housemates moving into my other, damp, bedroom, who will hopefully cheer me through the winter (I can’t help but notice a certain sharp chill in the air these past few evenings, and the leaves are definitely turning brown).  This will be a good thing; it will save me from rattling around in this giant house, much too big for one person, and turning into Miss Havisham (minus the jilting).  It was, and still is, the only house available.

It’s not all doom and gloom, and I’m frequently stopped in my tracks by moments of extreme beauty; a flock of wild geese overhead, the way the sun turns the Sleat peninsula pink in the evening, a stag like a statue in my garden.

A stag in the garden

Miss McGinty’s Rum Emporium is a joy to behold; all the useful things an island dweller needs, crammed into a lean-to the size of a garden shed at the side of the community hall.  It’s completely brilliant and was one of the things that made me want to live here.  Imagine what she could do with something twice as big...  On rainy days bedraggled day-visitors and yachties can be found sheltering in the hall, warming themselves over a pot of coffee and a fine cake creation, baked fresh on the island that morning and sold by the ever-cheerful Claire who runs an ad-hoc tearoom out of the recently refurbished kitchen (thank you, LEADER & HIE).  It’s a wonderful asset to the island, but it means the hall can’t be used for other things while Tea Shop is on, and the size of the kitchen limits the size of the menu.  Once upon a time there was a plan for a purpose-built shop and tearoom at the shore.

People were consulted, plans drawn up, money for a feasibility study was found, the project was given a green light.  Then the opportunity arose for a bigger, better development.  The plan was put on hold.  People are being consulted again.  Money is being sought for feasibility.  The original project might have been completed by now.  The frustration is understandable.  Wait for the bigger, better project, or make some visible progress now?  How much longer will we have to wait...?

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