Mull of Galloway community purchase secures financial support
A community group has secured more than £300,000 towards its buy-out of the most southerly tip of Scotland.
The Mull of Galloway Trust received the grant from the Scottish Land Fund.
It will use it to purchase the 30-acre site in Dumfries and Galloway from the Northern Lighthouse Board under Community Right to Buy procedures.
The trust says it wants to preserve the Mull of Galloway as a place of "beauty and tranquillity" and protect it "for future generations."
SLF committee chairman John Watt said the fund sought to "empower more rural communities".
"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," he said.
Environment Minister Paul Wheelhouse said it would allow the trust to "take control" of its own future.
"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," he said.
He said the area could be developed into a "fantastic tourism and heritage asset".
The total grant of £338,500 represents 95% of the sum needed to acquire the land and various buildings.
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 its project.
Launched last year, the £6m Scottish Land Fund is funded by the Scottish government and delivered by the Big Lottery Fund in partnership with Highlands and Islands Enterprise.
Rachael McCormack, director of strengthening communities at HIE, said: "The Mull of Galloway Trust had overwhelming local support to acquire this unique heritage site.
"Projects like this create opportunities for generations to come together and for local assets to be put to use, helping to create a better future for our communities.
"Not only will this project provide rare access to a Stevenson lighthouse, there are many valuable outcomes such as developing skills, improving the economic and social fabric of the area and delivering rewarding volunteering opportunities."
Maureen Chand, director of the Mull of Galloway Trust, said the grant was the culmination of a significant effort.
"This has taken many months of hard work to get to this stage and we are grateful to the local community who have overwhelmingly supported this project," she said.
"We now look forward to taking over the site and protecting it for future generations."
Fellow director Steve Hardy added that he hoped his personal dream could be realised and a foghorn in the area be brought back into use.
'Icing on the cake'
Galloway and West Dumfries MSP Alex Fergusson said he was pleased as the scheme had received overwhelming local support in a ballot of people in the area.
"This is the icing on the cake for the Mull of Galloway Trust and it is no more than they deserve," he added.
Dumfries and Galloway MP Russell Brown described it as "great news" and congratulated the trust.
"It just shows what's possible when a local community comes together in this way," he said.
The news came on the same day as South of Scotland MSP Dr Aileen McLeod was due to lead a debate at Holyrood in support of the buyout.
"I am absolutely delighted with this excellent news, which takes the trust so much nearer to their goal of buying the Mull of Galloway for the community," she said.