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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 September, 2004, 15:08 GMT 16:08 UK
Village links with Crusoe island
Palm tree at sunset - generic
Alexander Selkirk was marooned 300 years ago
A tiny Scottish fishing village has been twinned with the Pacific island which inspired Daniel Defoe's classic shipwreck tale Robinson Crusoe.

Lower Largo in Fife has a union with Robinson Crusoe Island which dates back 300 years.

One of its residents, sailor Alexander Selkirk, was marooned on the uninhabited isle, three centuries ago.

There, he lived as a lone castaway for four years and four months before he was rescued by an English ship.

Selkirk's adventure began when he set sail with English privateers in 1704.

He asked to be put ashore about 400 miles off the coast of Chile following a quarrel with his captain.

Village celebration

The remarkable feat was the inspiration for one of the world's most popular adventure novels, Robinson Crusoe.

For that reason, the island - initially named Más a Tierra or Juan Fernández Chile Island after the first documented human to find it in November 1574 - was renamed after the book.

Last year Lower Largo Community Council embarked upon a drive to connect its real Robinson Crusoe and the exotic island, which has a population of 500.

The celebrations exemplify the potential for other places in Scotland to demonstrate the capacity for local communities to showcase their history
Ted Brocklebank
The final touches were being put to a programme of events to mark the twinning, set to kick off on Friday - the tercentenary of Selkirk's landing on the island.

The festivities include a re-enactment of Selkirk's harbour departure and homecoming, a family ceilidh and a church service in the churchyard at Upper Largo where the castaway's parents are buried.

Peter Aitken, Chairman of Largo Area Community Council, said he was "delighted" the hard work had paid off and hoped the two days of celebrations would prove a resounding success.

He added: "The celebrations will commence with a civic lunch in the Crusoe Hotel, at which Chilean Ambassador to the UK, his Excellency Senor Mariano Fernández, will be guest of honour.

'Great success'

"It is also hoped a flypast by the RAF will form part of the celebrations."

Mid Scotland and Fife MSP Ted Brocklebank has tabled a parliamentary motion praising the community's success.

He said: "The celebrations in north-east Fife exemplify the potential for other places in Scotland associated with historical figures, not just in hosting major events and festivals, but to demonstrate the capacity for local communities working together to showcase their history and make a significant contribution to tourism in Scotland.

"I wish the people of Lower Largo great success in their weekend programme and I look forward to being there."


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