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Last Updated:  Saturday, 1 March, 2003, 00:41 GMT
Islanders celebrate buy-out
North Harris
The estate covers 50,000 acres
Islanders are celebrating the success of what is believed to be the largest ever community buy-out of a Scottish estate.

The 50,000-acre Amhuinnsuidhe Castle estate on North Harris was put on sale in April by cider millionaire Johnathan Bulmer.

A trust set up by the 800-strong Western Isles community helped raise the 4.5m price tag.

Islanders paid 2.2m for their share, with much of the money coming from charitable trusts.

And millionaire businessman Ian Scarr Hall bought the estate's castle and fishing rights.

He intends to use his share for corporate events aimed at improving the environment.

Fundraising campaign

The islanders were told their bid had been accepted at a public meeting in Tarbert on Friday night.

Their application was made in partnership with the John Muir Trust, a charity set up to protect remote beauty spots.

The North Harris Trust bought the sporting rights on the estate, which contains five loch and river systems, mountains and beaches.

I detect a quiet sense of satisfaction tonight
David Cameron
Chairman of North Harris Trust

Chairman David Cameron said: "I don't think North Harris is a place where they fly balloons or run out the flags, but I detect a quiet sense of satisfaction tonight.

"The last 10 months have been very hard, but we have achieved what we set out to do."

He said the community could now take advantage of future opportunites with the long term aim to create employment.

Rented properties on the estate would also provide provide income.

The meeting in Tarbert heard it was a truly historic day for the people of North Harris.

However, islanders were also warned the hard work would now begin.

Islanders plan to launch an appeal to raise 100,000 to cover what they borrowed for the bid.

New directors still to be appointed by the trust will decide the way ahead.

A spokesman said they were confident it was financially sustainable.

A celebration day on Harris is provisionally planned for 21 March.

Land reform bill wins support
23 Jan 03 |  Scotland
From Assynt to assent
23 Jan 03 |  Scotland
Island officially changes hands
15 Mar 02 |  Scotland

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