John Muir Trust teams up with West Harris Trust

West Harris Trust teams up with John Muir Trust.

The West Harris Trust and the John Muir Trust have signed a partnership to help develop and manage the 6,400 hectares on the west side of South Harris, which includes some of Scotland’s most spectacular coastal landscapes.

The partnership, which had already been agreed in principle by the directors of both organisations, was formally sealed during a two-day visit to the island by Stuart Brooks, Chief Executive of the John Muir Trust.

There he met Murdo MacKay the Chair, Duncan MacPherson the Development Manager and Neil Campbell a director of the West Harris Trust, and spent time looking at the coastline, high ground on the estate and some potential development sites for hydro and housing.

As part of the agreement, the John Muir Trust will undertake to:

Provide advice to the West Harris Trust on conservation, ecology, land management, landscapes, visitor management, interpretation, footpaths and public access.

Assist the West Harris Trust to secure funding for conservation-related projects

Support individuals and groups wishing to undertake the John Muir Award

Help promote the work and ethos of the West Harris Trust to JMT members and other bodies.

The West Harris Trust will in turn work with the John Muir Trust to:

Identify and map the core areas of wild land on its estate

Where feasible manage these core wild land areas in line with the John Muir Trust’s Wild Land Management Standards

Keep JMT informed of conservation, visitor access and interpretation work on the estate

Help promote the work and ethos of the John Muir Trust to its members and other bodies.

During his visit, Stuart also met the chair and staff of the North Harris Trust, another community land owner working closely with the Trust.

Through Mick Blunt, our manager in the Western Isles, the John Muir Trust has forged a strong relationship with the community in Harris, and is involved, for example, in the Harris Mountain Festival

Stuart Brooks said: “West Harris Trust provides an excellent examples of where the John Muir Trust is working with communities within a framework that respects the integrity of the wild land.

“It has clear economic as well as environmental objectives – and so far they are managing to balance the various interests very well. They very much welcome the support they have received from Mick Blunt and the John Mur Trust.”

Murdo MacKay, Chair of the West Harris Trust added: “ The West Harris Trust welcomes this agreement that secures a close working relationship with the John Muir Trust.

“We look forward to working closely with Mick Blunt and the John Muir Trust over the coming years as we progress with our plans for the sustainable development of the estate.”