[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Gravir, South Lochs"][/caption]
In response to a question from reader Godfrey Brigg, I'll give a little rundown on the current state of affairs (to my knowledge) of the situation in South Lochs. Mr Brigg enquired about the state of play, are the crofters buying the place, will the place be covered in turbines. Well, the answer is about as clear as a 1950s pea-souper. Let me explain.
In November 2004, the residents of South Lochs voted to commence proceedings to buy the land of the Pairc Estate from its non-resident owner. Under the terms of the Land Reform Act (Scotland), communities can force their landowner to sell to them against his will. The Pairc Community Trust was set up to coordinate efforts to this effect. Once in their hands, the Trust was aiming to use wind turbines (a couple of dozen, each 500 ft high) to generate revenue.
The estate owner has responded to this move by leasing the land to a subsidiary company of his - a so-called interposed lease. There is also the massive problem of land description. There is no definitive map of the area; plots of land are described as "stretching for 400 yards in a southwesterly direction from the Stornoway road". Some plots are estate land, others are crofts, others again have been sold, let, sublet &c to a degree that nobody knows what's what.
The issue is currently in front of the Scottish Land Court, who are yet to issue a judgment.
It should be clear that the Pairc windfarm lies at the bottom of this legal wrangle, as the sitting estate owner would probably not object to this source of income himself.
It has been a while since I looked into the issue, and any updates or indeed corrections are highly welcome.