Land fund grant secures Mull

The future of Scotland’s most southerly point took a big step forward today on Wednesday thanks to a grant from the Scottish Land Fund. The Mull of Galloway Estate will now be brought into community ownership and protected and developed as a tourism and heritage asset.

The Mull of Galloway Trust’s Mull of Galloway Community Buyout project will use the £338,500 grant, which represents 95 per cent of the land costs, to purchase the land as well as three former lighthouse keepers’ cottages, engine room, exhibition, RSPB reserve and visitor centre and the fog horn. The lighthouse tower is not part of the sale and continues as a working lighthouse operated by Northern Lighthouse Board. The Mull of Galloway Trust is now just £4,000 short of the full cost of their project.

Scottish Land Fund Committee Chair, John Watt, said: “The Scottish Land Fund, with funding over three years, seeks to empower more rural communities, giving them the resources they need to achieve their plans of local sustainability. Communities are capable of immense achievements when they own and manage their local land and assets and this scheme will bring clear long term benefits for the Mull of Galloway. I am delighted to announce today’s grant and look forward to seeing the project develop.”

A spokesperson for the Trust said: ”The Mull of Galloway Trust are delighted that the necessary funding for our purchase of the Mull of Galloway has been given the green light. The purchase by the Trust will ensure that this iconic premier visitor attraction will be safeguarded for future generations. We are looking forward to working closely with the RSPB, NLB and NTS who will continue to market the cottages.”

Galloway MSP Alex Fergusson said: “This is the icing on the cake for the Mull of Galloway Trust and it is no more than they deserve. The 98% of ‘yes’ vote in the ballot has been almost matched by this grant which provides 95% of the total purchase price. When the result of the ballot was first announced I said that it would allow the Trust to go “full steam ahead” towards the purchase of this property. This grant means that the community ownership of this unique and gorgeous part of Galloway is at hand, and I welcome it wholeheartedly”.

Paul Wheelhouse MSP, Minister for Environment and Climate Change, was also full of praise for the scheme: “I am delighted that the Scottish Land Fund is empowering the Mull of Galloway Trust to take control of their own future by helping them to acquire the Mull of Galloway Estate. The Scottish Government strongly supports communities across Scotland in their efforts to manage assets to the benefit of local people and the economy of their area. This project is an excellent example and will allow the Mull of Galloway Trust to develop the land and the Mull of Galloway lighthouse into a fantastic tourism and heritage asset that is critically important to the local economy and to fulfil the community’s aspirations to generate jobs and prosperity. In doing this, this unique project will help enable the community of Kirkmaiden to achieve sustainable economic, social and environmental improvements.”

The Mull of Galloway is the southernmost point of Scotland by Kirkmaiden in Dumfries and Galloway. Overlooking the Solway Firth and Irish Sea it’s a bird lover’s paradise being an RSPB nature reserve with stunning views and a coastal heath busy with wildlife. Its lighthouse was built in 1830 by Robert Stevenson and was automated in 1988. The foghorn, which is part of the buy-out, was used as an extra warning to shipping to avoid the Mull’s rocky coastline and was in use until 1987. Steve Hardy, a Director of the Mull of Galloway Trust dreams of bringing back the warning siren, remarking: “Edinburgh has its one o’clock gun so perhaps Scotland’s Land’s End could have its one o’clock foghorn.”