Secret Scotland

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Barvas Estate on Lewis offered to crofters


Although the sale has usually included the whole island, we seem to have noticed quote a few estates that make up those islands being offered for sale, with first refusal or preference being given to the islanders or residents.

When I noticed the Barvas Estate on the Isle of Lewis was being offered on similar terms, although the 44,478 acres (18,000 ha) being offered to the communities that live within it only cover part of the island, I thought it should get a mention, just for completeness, since it continues the trend of such sales. And it could have been the whole island, had it not been broken up and sold off many years ago.

The Barvas Estate Trust has been set up to progress a community purchase, but if the residents are unable or unwilling to acquire the land,  it will ultimately be placed on the open market. At the time of writing, no price was indicated.

Barvas Estate, which includes the communities of Barvas, Arnol, and Bragar, and is described as being home to some 300 crofts and around 1,000 people,  has been owned by the Duckworth family for 85 years. Angus MacLeod, trust secretary, said:

“We were surprised last week when the landowners wrote to the grazing committees and the grazing clerks with the offer to sell. Over 85 years, the estate owners have been very good landlords, never making a great stir anywhere on the estate. So people were reluctant to take the estate off them, so to speak.”

Via Barvas Estate on Isle of Lewis put up for sale by landowners | Highlands & Islands | News | STV


Digging around the web revealed an interesting recent past.

Barvas Estate was created in 1924, after the owner, soap king Lord Leverhulme, fell on hard time and had to sell many of his Hebridean assets. He offered the land to the residents for free, if they took it over, but the offer was refused and the land was broken into separate estates and sold off privately.  Barvas, including the remote islands of North Rona and Sulasgeir, was purchased by John Talbot Clifton for £2,900 and passed to his relatives, the Duckworths,  when he died in 1928.

Some years ago, a steering group formally established a community entity called Urras Sgire Oighreachd Bharabhais Community Company to consider proposals to take over the estate and islands, but stalled. Little progress was made after 2004, when AMEC revealed plans to offer the owners about £10 million in order to build a large wind farm across the estate. However, The plan was refused by the Scottish Government, which effectively ruled out any similar plans or proposals in future.

In 2007, a feasibility study suggested the alternative of community-owned turbines together with new housing, and an environmental interpretation centre.

Via Barvas Estate sell-off


June 30, 2013 - Posted by | Civilian | , , ,

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