ARTICLE - STORNOWAY GAZETTE 15/03/2007
‘Currency for uninhabited isle’
A remote island in the Sound of Harris now has its own currency, thanks to an innovative project which is promoting the isles to a wider market.
Having bought the uninhabited island of Scaravay in 2003, ambitious owner Dave Hill has spent the last four years building up a unique venture aimed at sharing his dream island with others while at the same time preserving and protecting the landscape.
Offering people the chance to become shareholders of the island, the 'Friends' of Scaravay are then given a lifetime link to the island and right to visit as they please.
And with several shareholders already making the journey to the island which lies four miles off North Uist, Dave explains that he has been busy promoting the concept right across the UK.
He said: "I have given over 60 talks now to Probus Groups, Rotary Clubs, Town's Women's Guild Meetings and several others. They all seem to generate considerable interest in the project, the Western Isles and Scotland and virtually every evening I have commitments from the majority of the audience to make the effort to come up to the islands. I stress how relatively easy it is to access the islands."
And hoping to move the project even further forward this year, Dave has now created a Sgarabhaigh Sixpence which has already received national interest.
The coin design is based on that of an ancient coin and incorporates the ancient and modern history of the island as well as its three ecological cornerstones.
Made in pure silver the coins are hallmarked by the Birmingham Assay Office.
On top of this exciting development, Dave is already making links with Visitscotland and is planning a trip to his island in May for filming of broadcast material.
Keen to stress that the project is also aimed at promoting sustainability and boosting the economy of the islands, Dave adds that he does not encourage 'Friends' to stay on Scaravay but to find accommodation in Harris and travel to the island during the day.
Concluding that the venture is about creating a lifelong link to the isles he said: "The project is all about connection, interest and commitment and after people visit, the magic will be real and they too will love the islands and their people. This is what Friends of Sgarabhaigh is all about, not the 'catch penny' novelty bits of land in Scotland sold with two bits of paper and lost in a week. We will win the hearts of people now and the hearts of their families for all time and the heirloom that is Sgarabhaigh will be valued and treasured down the centuries."
To find out more visit www.scaravay.com.
'The Journal' - July 2004
'The Tamworth Herald' - 15 th July 2004
'The Hebridean' - 29 th April 2005
'The Scottish Islands Network Newsletter - May 2005
'The Shropshire Star' - 8 th August 2005
'The Advertiser' - 12 th August 2005
'The Tamworth Times' - 1 st September 2005
'Sunday Express - 18th March 2007