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We’ve just returned from an amazing week’s holiday in Cornwall. Jen and I stayed at a place we’ve returned to again and again. Trelowarren is an old estate on the Lizard that rents out lovely cottages deep in a forest. Besides brilliant woodlands to walk away the stresses of work, they also have an excellent restaurant, pool, spa and tennis court. We always go out of season. Then we have the run of the place for walks and snuggling in front of the wood-burning stove while watching endless episodes of The West Wing or The Sopranos.
Crofting is a a method of small-hold farming. Its a precarious living so its likely that a crofter will have another source of income besides what can be earned from their croft.
Sheep lie at the heart of the crofting economy. European Union Agricultural reform, food hygiene regulations and changing diet are damaging sheep farming. Consequently there is less money coming into these already fragile communities.
The Shiant islands lie between the mainland of Scotland and the Outer Hebrides.
For many who travel by ferry to Lewis, the most northern and populated island in the chain, this is their first glimpse of the Hebrides.
Population decline has been an endemic problem in the Hebrides for centuries.
There are many reasons for this decline in population, but the cost of travel to and from the islands is often quoted as one of the main factors.
On the 14th of April 2002 an economy return flight from London to Los Angeles was £202 whilst an economy return flight from London to Stornoway was £100 more expensive.
The next landlord, a German businessman who visited the island twice was less popular still and the island continued to decline.
But in 1997, the Islanders made history by raising nearly a million pounds and buying the island. Since then there has been a marked improvement in island affairs.
The photograph was taken in 1990 from Cleadale in the north of the island looking to the mountains on the island of Rhum.
Two rich Australian women with Scottish ancestry so fell in love with the little uninhabited island of Ceabhagh that they bought it from Compte Robin de la Lanne-Mirrlees.
The ‘Colourful Compte’, tabloid favourite and former Queen’s Herald, held a dedication party for the ladies where they were entertained by pipers. There was possibly an excess of tartan in evidence for local liking.
Who owns land and what they use it for is a critical question in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. Although rich absentee landlords are often rightly blamed for treating the Highlands like their playground, there are also many crofts (small farms) lying empty owned by islanders who live and work elsewhere.
This picture of South Eisken estate in Lewis was taken for the 1983 General Election.
It was part of a Labour party poster campaign highlighting the inequality of private land ownership and land use in Scotland.
Owner of the Island of Great Bernera, Compte Robin Ian Evelyn Stuart De La Lanne-Mirrlees, welcomes Royal guests to his island.