Murdo Mackay, Chairman
I work as a Development Manager with the local authority, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar. I moved to Harris from Achmore in Lewis in 1981 after leaving college in order to start work; I spent 25 years in the aquaculture industry working for various companies and also independently for five years. I acquired the croft in Luskentyre in 1989 and since 1990, when we built our house, have lived on the croft with my wife Isobel. We have three children and they all attended the local school in Seilebost. I have worked the croft in various ways since 1990 including stocking with sheep and cattle and latterly with a few ponies too. We diversified the croft enterprise into tourism from the start initially by renting a caravan and then building two self-catering cottages. This has proved to be a successful venture and has created a viable croft business that would not be possible from agricultural activity alone.
Neil Campbell, Secretary
I was born and brought up on the Isle of Skye. Following my marriage in 2001 my wife Rhoda and I decided to settle on her family croft in Scaristavore where we have developed luxury self-catering accommodation, Blue Reef Cottages. I believe strongly in community empowerment and take an active role on Harris as a Director of NHS Western Isles; and Clerk of Scaristavore township. I was formerly a senior partner in a Skye based Chartered Accountants practice serving the Outer Hebrides, Skye and Lochalsh. We have two children, Rachel who is in secondary 1 and Angus in primary five. Rhoda’s grandfather was one of the initial tenants settled on the Estate by the Government in the 1940s. At Blue Reef Cottages we promote a very strong ‘green ethos’ and I am particularly keen to see West Harris develop the abundant natural resources available of wind, hydro and, in the longer term, wave energy.
I have been living in Seilebost, Harris, most of my life apart from four years spent undertaking a university degree in Glasgow and while teaching five years in Inverness. I returned to the island in 1994 to take up the post of Head teacher at Shelibost Primary School where I spent nineteen happy years until the school closed in June 2013. I feel that at a time when so many school roles are falling it is an important aim of any island trust to strive to reverse population decline in our island communities. I currently teach in Leverhulme Memorial School in Harris and through my work, I am involved in several Gaelic organisations e.g. Harris Mod Committee, and also as an Associate Assessor for Education Scotland. I value the importance of our island heritage and culture and appreciate all that the beautiful West Harris environment has to offer.
Finlay MacLennan, Director
I was born, raised and schooled in Seilebost before moving onto Sir E Scott School and Inverness Royal Academy. Thereafter I worked on the mainland for 6 years before returning home to take over the running of the croft and have since worked locally. I am married to Nan and have a grown up family of three. I have been actively involved in community affairs over many years as Chair of Shelibost School Board, member and Chair of South Harris Community Council, Director at Harris Development Ltd, Treasurer of South Harris Show Committee and Clerk and Chair of Horgabost/Seilebost Common Grazings. Nowadays, I’m a grazings committee member and treasurer of the Harris branch of the Associated Presbyterian Church. I work for the local authority as a driver/labourer and am a part-time crofter. I believe that community ownership promotes development, results in better collaboration among the crofting townships under the Trust’s control and produces a more pro-active approach to re-population. I believe, also, a resurgence of traditional crofting would benefit the area, making better use of the land resources which we’re privileged to manage, and would enhance the sustainability of the community
Richard Maclennan, Director
I was born and brought up in Harris and attended Seilebost School. I’m passionate about crofting, especially the livestock sector, and run a mixed breed flock of sheep using native and continental breed rams. As well as being a Trust director I take an active role in community organisations including committee member and past Chairman of the South Harris Agriculture Show. I am also a retained fireman, Clerk to Borve township and chairman of Horgabost/Seilebost Grazings Committee. Together, my wife Lena and I run our crofts, a guest house and the Horgabost campsite. Lena is also the part time local post mistress. I hope the Trust will give a new lease of life to the crofting community and to see the West Side a hive of activity all year round, not just the summer months when so many people from all over the world come to share the beauty of where we live.
Norman Ian Mackay, Director
Born in Edinburgh and fortunate to have been brought up in Luskentyre and educated in Seilebost primary school. I recently moved home to Luskentyre after an absence of 15 years in September 2011 with my wife Leona who is from the Isle of Skye. Our son Jack was born in April 2012 and we are determined that he will enjoy the priviliges and benefits of a Hebridean upbringing. I currently work from home for an Aberdeen based company managing their E-commerce presence and believe this type of home working is a major opportunity for rural locations like ours to attract young families without having to rely on major external investment.
Fiona Mackenzie, Director
I returned to Harris, my native island, in 2010 after ten years on the mainland, attending University and subsequently teaching in a primary school in north Lanarkshire. It was always my intention to come back to the village of Scarista ‘sometime’, but that decision was accelerated by the fact that my husband, David, was also keen to settle in the islands. I am currently teaching through the medium of Gàidhlig in Leverhulme Memorial School in south Harris. Community and culture are important to me and at present I am a member of the local Gàidhlig Mod and the children’s Fèis (Gàidhlig arts tuition festival) committees. I am also the Education and Visits Officer for our recently established local RNLI station. I see the formation of the West Harris Trust as a new dawn. I feel that there is now a ‘can-do’ attitude in the community, and that working together we could make things happen. I hope more young people will decide to settle in what is the most beautiful place in the world, and use youthful energy and enthusiasm to make it not only beautiful but forward-thinking and economically viable.
Roderick Alexander MacDonald, Director
I returned to my native home of Harris in 2008 after working forty-one years with BT. I currently serve as Secretary of the Isle of Harris Golf Club and as a member of their Development Committee, which has completed a major investment to enhance the facilities there. This complements my work with The West Harris Trust in its economic strategy of a healthier objective, promoting visitor access and the enjoyment of local amenities. My wife Morag and I have been married for thirty-nine years and have a grown up family of three. I am very interested in the history of the West Side, having returned to live in the original family home which was built in the 1930s. For me the Trust is a means to encourage and rejuvenate the West Side of Harris and turnaround the population decline.
Douglas Ferguson, Director
I was born in Newton Mearns and as my Great Gran was born in Benbecula my family have been holidaying in Harris since I was 10. My wife Ann and I were fortunate enough to be able to buy land in Seilebost in 2007 and have spent the last 3 years realising our dream by building our new home. I work for FES facilities Management maintaining the 6 new schools throughout the Western Isles. I feel privileged to become part of the development of the West Harris Trust.