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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 February 2007, 10:19 GMT
Clan MacLeod chief dies aged 71
John MacLeod
John MacLeod had battled against leukaemia
Tribute has been paid to one of Scotland's most controversial clan chiefs, John MacLeod of MacLeod, who has died at the age of 71.

The 29th chief of the Clan MacLeod, who succeeded his grandmother Dame Flora as chief in 1976, died in London after a battle against leukaemia.

His son, Hugh Magnus, will be the new chief of the clan.

Mr MacLeod caused outrage when he put the Cuillins in Skye up for sale to pay for repairs to Dunvegan Castle.

When he failed to find a buyer, he proposed transferring the mountains to public ownership under a plan which would have seen the castle transferred to a charitable trust.

The castle is historic and has been a great asset to the economy of the island of Skye
John Farquhar Munro MSP

However, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) said it could not afford the cost of refurbishing the castle, estimated at up to 19m.

Last year a 25m application was made to the National Lottery for a grant to restore the castle, tidy up the grounds and develop the existing visitor centre.

It was understood that Mr MacLeod would have given up ownership of both Dunvegan Castle and the mountains if the bid was successful.

However, it emerged last April that the application had been rejected.

Dunvegan Castle has been the clan's seat for more than 800 years.

'Economic asset'

Skye MSP John Farquhar Munro paid tribute to a man who he described as a colourful character.

He said: "John had proposals to repair the castle which required him to relinquish title to the Cuillins for some trusteeship of the clan seat.

"So far that hasn't happened, but I'm sure now that the clan might look at it differently and take things forward.

"I really hope so, because the castle is historic and has been a great asset to the economy of the island of Skye, an economic asset which must be preserved."


SEE ALSO
Castle fears after bid rejected
27 Apr 06 |  Highlands and Islands
Lottery bid could 'save' castle
23 Jan 06 |  Scotland
Question over Cuillins transfer
07 Jul 04 |  Scotland
Cuillins to be gifted to Scotland
09 Jul 03 |  Scotland

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