Buccleuch land buyout bids in southern Scotland secure major support
Two bids to take moorland in southern Scotland into community ownership have secured significant support.
The Langholm Initiative and Newcastleton and District Community Trust (NDCT) is being given £1.85m to purchase the Buccleuch-owned land.
It is part of wider Scottish Land Fund support of more than £3.6m for 16 projects across the country.
Buccleuch - one of the country's biggest landowners - has been aiming to reduce its "footprint" for some time.
The biggest SLF award of £1m goes to the Langholm Initiative.
It hopes to buy more than 10,000 acres with the creation of the Tarras Valley Nature Reserve at the heart of its plans.
Project leader Kevin Cumming said there was still a "long way to go" but the group was "excited" to work on securing the rest of the funding it needs.
NDCT will use its £850,000 to take ownership of 750 acres of land on the Tarras Water and Holmhill Estate.
Steve Hartley, who chairs the trust, said it gave a "bigger, brighter and more sustainable future" for the community.
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Benny Higgins, executive chairman at Buccleuch, said the company was "delighted" the group had secured the funding.
He said community aspirations were "at the heart" of the group's values and Buccleuch was "fully committed" to working with local organisations after announcing its plans to sell the land last year.
The SLF is funded by the Scottish government and delivered in partnership by the National Lottery Community Fund and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.
Land Reform Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: "As we plan our recovery from coronavirus, we have a chance to re-imagine the Scotland around us and to begin building a greener, fairer and more equal society and economy.
"Communities must be right at the heart of this process and the funding announced today will support a wide range of projects to achieve just this, driving long-lasting benefits and empowerment to local communities."
The other projects which have secured support are:
- Colonsay Community Development Company - £214,000
- Dunnet Forestry Trust - £45,950
- Shapinsay Development Trust - £237,125
- Kyleakin Connections (formerly Skye and Lochalsh Association for Disability) - £24,580
- South Islay Development - £110,200
- Stronsay Development Trust - £130,790
- The Ballantrae Trust - £262,493
- Cliftonville and Coatdyke Community Group - £190,690
- Dornoch Area Community Interest Company (DACIC) - £216,411
- Strathglass and Affric Community Company - £38,588
- All Roads Lead to Whithorn Trust - £110,635
- Friends of Dundonald Castle - £29,000
- North Ronaldsay Trust - £159,400
- The Ridge SCIO in Dunbar - £49,900