Headland trust celebrates first anniversary
GALLAN Head Community Trust, the Outer Hebridean charity that bought the most northwesterly headland in the UK last year from the Ministry of Defence, is holding a ceilidh and torchlit procession to celebrate its first year as a community land owner.
On January 29, 2016, the trust completed the community right to buy process and became the legal custodian of Gallan Head, the former RAF Aird Uig Cold War radar base on Lewis, allowing public access for the first time in more than 60 years.
In the 12 months since becoming the community landowner, the trust has successfully purchased and converted a house on the edge of the headland into a restaurant, craft shop and community and visitor hub, as well as raising funds for landscaping.
It now plans to develop a ground-breaking observatory on Gallan Head for studying dark skies, changing weather and whale spotting.
The Cetus Observatory will house an internet- operated robotic telescope, radio telescope, radar, solar telescope, planetarium, space exhibition/ display, giant wide field binoculars for wildlife watching, nature webcams, a cafe, educational facilities and a shop.
John Brown, Astronomer Royal for Scotland and patron of the Cetus Observatory, said: ‘I am delighted by the progress the trust is making. We are on track towards opening the Cetus Observatory to the public by 2020. I look forward to visiting Gallan Head again in the next few months.’
Chairwoman of Gallan Head Community Trust Jill Smith said: ‘As trustees, are working hard to be sensitive, considerate custodians of this magical landscape.
‘The Cetus Observatory will inspire visitors and bring life back to our community, jobs to our area and will attract young people back to our villages. This weekend we are celebrating both what we have achieved so far and the great potential we have to make a real difference to our island community.’
The community- owned headland, Gallan Head, with Gallan Beag in the foreground.