The Glendale Estate was Scotland’s first community buy-out, established in 1908. About half of this 18,000 acre crofting Estate is crofts and common grazings. The purchase was paid for entirely by 147 resident families under a 50-year annuity to government (regulated by the original Crofters Commission) and purchase as common-property was finally completed in the 1950s.
The Glendale Estate is a community of common-owners, volunteer-led. Our 8,500 acre ‘club farm’ and various properties (from Lodge to Bothy!) have been under local voluntary management for 106 years now. Our ‘commoners’ are mostly descendants of the founding families, but people new to the area can also become common-owners. Two-thirds of our members live on Skye, but 20th century emigration means we also have members In Australia, the US, Europe and Africa. Our membership reflects the family histories of people from across the Highlands and Islands, many of whom have had to leave for work, but retain strong ties to home.
Unlike modern community landowners, we do not benefit from Trust, charity or limited company status, and our original Rules and Regulations of 1908 remain in force. In practice, no part of the Estate can be sold, and no debts incurred, creating significant management challenges. As well as our off-grid High-Nature Value farm with its spectacular hills and coastline, we run affordable rental accommodation locally, and offer Hamara Lodge (18th century former Clan MacLeod hunting lodge with walled garden) as very affordable and relaxed holiday accommodation for parties of up to 14, in line with our aim to support local employment opportunities.
Within our limitations, we welcome and will do our best to support small business proposals to make sustainable, locally beneficial use of our some of our land for recreational or diversification purposes. We welcome visitors and walkers to our wild land – which includes popular routes, famous cleared settlements and rare wildlife – provided they also recognise it is a working farm (please keep dogs under control, close all gates, and respect all notices). We also welcome enquiries from anyone interested in their family’s connection to the Estate, and are working on qualifying to help ancestral tourists. We do not have an office, so when contacting us, please bear in mind that you are getting in touch with volunteers in their own homes.
Isle of Skye
Key contact: George MacPherson