In honour of the recent community take over of the island, I’ve dug out a few photos I shot in Scalpay last year. In November 2012, the residents of Scalpay voted to take over the running of their island. The then owner, English businessman Fred Taylor, had offered inhabitants the island for free. When put to the vote, 197 voted for the takeover, eight against. The island’s population is around 300.
In 1997 a bridge replaced the small ferry that had previously been the only way to access the island. Scalpay’s oldest resident, 103 year old Mrs Kirsty Morrison, led the first drive across the completed bridge. An official opening ceremony took place in 1998, with Prime Minister Tony Blair cutting the ribbon.
Gateway to Scalpay: the 300 metre bridge, viewed from the Harris side
Having crossed the bridge, heading towards Outend, I spied this house overlooking the road:
Results of the community buyout vote were broadcast live on Scalpay TV:
In the years between the the bridge being built and the community takeover last year, population continued to decline, the primary school closed for good and the community shop ceased trading in 2007. It’s hoped the fortunes of the island will improve now the community has control of its own destiny. Scalpay community shop reopened last year and there are various plans and schemes afoot to help the islanders generate income.