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The BBC's Andrew Cassel in Portree
"The sale of the Black Cuillins would help pay the bills"
 real 28k

Environment correspondent Louise Batchelor reports
"Feelings were running high at the meeting"
 real 28k

The BBC's Emma Simpson
"A week after being put on the market, a buyer is yet to be found"
 real 28k

Monday, 10 April, 2000, 20:58 GMT 21:58 UK
Islanders voice Cuillin sale opposition
The MacLeod clan has owned the range for centuries
Isle of Skye residents have voiced strong opposition to plans by a clan chief to sell the Black Cuillin mountains for 10m.

The Cuillins were put up for sale more than a fortnight ago by John MacLeod, the 29th chief of the clan MacLeod.

Highland Council said it believed the lands should remain in public ownership and the called Monday evening's meeting in Portree to gauge opinion on the sale.

Residents and conservation groups expressed their opposition to plans for the sale saying that 10m was too much.

Dunvegan Castle
Dunvegan Castle: Needs repairs
There was little support amongst the 100 attendees for a public bid for the land and questions were raised over Mr MacLeod's right to sell.

The council has promised an independent assessment of title to settle the matter.

Cameron McNeish, leader of the Scottish Rambler's Association, said: "Who is going to buy this?

"Mr MacLeod is holding the Scottish conservation groups to ransom. He knows nobody else will buy it and he's trying to get as high a price as he can from organisations like the National Trust for Scotland and the rest."
John MacLeod
John MacLeod: "Tough decision"
There are reports of strong private interest in purchasing the land, although it remains to be seen whether a buyer will stump up the full asking price.

Mr MacLeod has said he will not settle for a penny less than 10m, which he says is needed for restorations at the ancestral home, Dunvegan Castle, and to develop tourism in the area.

The area for sale includes more than 14 miles of coastline, two salmon rivers, a licensed campsite, sheep farm, farmhouse, cottages and traditional farm buildings.

Mr MacLeod has previously described the decision to sell as the most difficult one of his life, but stressed that all the money raised from the sale would be reinvested on Skye.

He has been supported in his decision to sell by the Scottish Landowners' Federation, but has received criticism from a number of other quarters.

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See also:

06 Apr 00 | Scotland
Cuillins bidder reluctant to pay
26 Mar 00 | Scotland
Clan chief urged to donate peak
04 Apr 00 | Scotland
Ben Nevis set to change hands
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