Kenneth Kean


soil and soul, alastair mcintosh

Location: Small Isles
the view from 2020

Tom Forsyth and the Eigg community buy-out

As a crofter and free-thinker, Tom Forsyth was the inspiration behind the original Isle of Eigg Trust which gave rise to the historic Eigg community buyout of 1997.

Working with George MacLeod in Iona in the 1950s and visiting New Harmony in Indiana, a 'community of equality' of Scottish origin, had provided Tom with a fresh vision of crofting and renewable energy which put new life into Scoraig.

Another milestone was the advice received at a baronial banquet to set up a trust to buy Eigg. Raising funds through drystane walling, together with three other ecologists, Tom Forsyth duly registered the Isle of Eigg Trust, based on a manifesto combining Gaelic arts, spirituality and ecology to revitalise the island, and offered it to the islanders.

It took 6 years of campaigning to raise £1.6 million to buy Eigg at a price suitably 'composted down' with market-spoiling. That the Isle of Eigg Heritage Trust went on to surpass Tom’s hope was proof for him that “when a shoot is grafted on to an established root, the green of the root must meet the green of the stalk. The green, or cambium, is the only living and dynamic part of the plant. In the cultivation of human beings, the same natural law must apply.”

More information on visiting the area can be found here.