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Community Land Scotland

CASE STUDY: Gaelic Communities Fund
Urras Ceann a Tuath na Hearadh | North Harris Trust

Project: Maor Dùthcha na Hearadh
Gaelic Communities Fund Awarded: £11,000


North Harris Trust (NHT) was established in 2002 to take ownership of one of the largest community owned estates in Scotland. 64,000 acres are managed from the main office in Tarbert, managed by 13 directors and 5 staff. Gaelic has always been a part of NHT developments.


The NHT project centred Gaelic language into an existing core programme of the Trust and created a Gaelic language requirement for the Trust’s Ranger post.

Building from their experience in community development and engagement, NHT realised the benefit to having a Gaelic speaker in the role which carries out a wide range of duties. This would increase use of the language within the community, create natural Gaelic speaking opportunities for young people, and raise awareness of the language with visitors to the area. 

The natural use of Gaelic worked to support young people of the community to improve their interest and understanding of the land around them. The Ranger was able to collect information from locals regarding the heritage and history of Harris, which has encouraged people to share stories and keep them within community memory.

The most noticeable outcome has been the natural increase in the use of Gaelic in the community, and especially within the NHT office.


By including Gaelic as a requirement for the Ranger post, the opportunities for Gaelic use have naturally increased within the community. The Gaelic speakers of the community have been able to widen the network of users with whom they are comfortable speaking:  this has been especially noticeable within the younger speakers in the area. By focusing on the environmental work of the Ranger and strengthening ties to the land, NHT has documented  a sustainable increase in community use of Gaelic.

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Photos by Fiona Rennie and North Harris Trust