Big Garden HomeOut and About in UistOut of Neglect Came Forth Beauty

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Out of Neglect Came Forth Beauty — 4 Comments

  1. I agree. We’re in the process of buying a Croft on Skye at the moment, and it’s lengthy and complicated! Not for the faint hearted, for sure. ☺️

  2. Hi D & J. Am frequent visitor to Barra, & see the same. I think one of the reasons crofts go derelict lies with the old, seemingly feudal, legal system around croft ownership. I was interested in property on Barra, but the seemingly endless rules and regulations, and interminable time it takes to get anything done, eventually put me off. I ‘fly solo’ so may have felt differetntly had I been taking it on with partner! It does all seem extremely complicated. Folk may be tempted to take on old croft, but the pronged legal issues really are a barrier. It’s such a shame to see these croft abandoned. Would be interested in your observations. Delighted you are back blogging, totally enjoying yout recent burst of activity, love sharing in your adventures. Thank you so much!!

    • J > Thank you Annie. D and I agree with you. The legal system of crofting (and the physical layout of crofts) dates from the 1880s, the same era in which the Canadian prairies were being settled in a very similar fashion – likewise the American mid-West. Despite updates, from time to time, of the Crofting law, it has become profoundly archaic and ossified. It encourages deceit and greed on the part of too many absentee crofters – who have no intention of living on or near their crofts, but are only see their crofts as property, and a means to get government hand-outs. We were – we admit it! – naïve to believe in the egalitarian and social utiliy of the crofting system : that’s a myth perpetuated to justify continuance of the status quo. However, we enjoy doing what we do and believe that if the crofting laws were greatly simplified or relaxed – or even abolished ! – more people with a genuine passion for living here and supporting themselves independently might be able to come to live in Uist. At present that’s extremely difficult! – despite the majority of crofts being neglected or ruinous. The newcomers don’t take anything for granted, and contribute new ideas, fresh energy, usually bring capital that they will invest in their houses and crofts ; and by that means Uist will be transformed – and decidedly for the better! The crofting legal system has not merely outlived its usefulness, it has become a liability!

      • Hi J.

        You’ve hit the nail on the head, totally agree with your thoughts. It’s such a pity, and as you say could eventually lead to the islands almost being aabandoned, without new younger folk taking crofts on, no matter if they are islanders or newcomers. I get the feeling (having travellled length of Hebrtides) that incomers, no matter where they are from, bring an energy, ideas and new business ideas, that can only be good for the economic and social future of the islands. It’s a pity that in a lot of cases these opportunities were not grasped by islanders themselves. The explosion of business, building and new blood on Skye is a good example of what can be acheived, if folk are prepared to embrace new ideas and change. However there are also a lot of positive signs, to be encouraged. I guess what it needs is a genuine desire by CRofting Commission and landowners for change, but with vested interests protected, that is a long long way off! Meanwhile crofts and the islands just deteriorate for the want of long overdue reform. It makes me sad and mad in equal measure! Anyway end of rant, keep up the good work. Next time am on Barra I’ll try and get over to you. Best wishes.

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