Western Isles Commissioner Iain MacIver congratulates Dennis McGonnell

The Crofting Commission has successfully let five vacant croft tenancies to new entrants, who have vowed to use the land and ensure it is not neglected.

"We terminated four tenancies in the Western Isles and one in Glen Torridon, as the tenants were not complying with their duty to be resident and the landlords failed to let the crofts within the necessary timescales," said a spokesman.

"The tenancies were all advertised locally and interested parties invited to submit an application to the Crofting Commission, to be considered for the tenancy. The applications were then sifted and scored, with all those successful going forward to be chosen ‘blind’ by a Commissioner."

New entrant, Dennis McGonnell said: "I was delighted to be selected as the new tenant for the croft 24 Gravir. I have lived on Lewis for 12 years and was always very eager to get into crofting especially working with animals. My plans for the croft include getting some pigs to deal with all the ferns and over growth, before reseeding and then letting some rare sheep graze happily, once I’ve fenced the boundary. I’m looking forward to getting started.”

Crofting Commission Head of Regulation, Joseph Kerr said: “We wish the new tenants every success in their ventures. The process of letting a croft tenancy can be lengthy but we are delighted that five crofts are now in the hands of new entrants, who will use the land and ensure it does not get misused or neglected. We have a further five crofts to let in the near future and are having ongoing discussions with landlords to take this forward. We are also currently in negotiations with a number of landlords where crofts are vacant or subject to a long term unresolved succession in order to seek solutions which would result in the crofts being occupied and worked.”