American Support for the Acquisition of the Treshnish Isles by the National Trust for Scotland
On July 10, The National Trust for Scotland acquired the Treshnish Isles. These islands are an internationally significant seabird nesting site located in the Inner Hebrides, and their acquisition builds on decades of American support for the National Trust for Scotland’s conservation initiatives across the Hebrides and beyond.
American friends of the Trust — Scotland’s largest conservation charity — have enabled the acquisition of the Treshnish Isles, an archipelago of eight uninhabited islands located in the Inner Hebrides, securing the future of this distinctive seascape.
The Treshnish Isles are internationally significant as a nesting site for many seabird species, including puffins, guillemots, and kittiwakes. Twenty percent of the entire British population of storm petrels nest on the islands. The waters surrounding the isles are home to Atlantic seals, basking sharks, and minke whales.
Now uninhabited, the Treshnish Isles have a long human history that dates from the Iron Age. They were in the possession of King Haakon of Norway until 1249. The islands feature the ruins of two medieval castles and have strong historical links with the Scottish clans MacDougal, MacDonald, and Maclean.
The National Trust for Scotland assumed care of the Treshnish Isles earlier this month. The Trust is responsible for the protection of some of Scotland’s most special places, including the Hebridean islands of Staffa, Iona, and Canna, as well as Fair Isle and the dual world heritage site of St Kilda.
There has been a strong tradition of American support for conservation in the Hebrides. The islands of Staffa, Pabbay, Berneray, and Mingulay were all gifted to the Trust through bequests from the US, and NTSUSA recently has made significant contributions to preservation initiatives on Canna and Iona.
Kirstin Bridier, executive director of NTSUSA, noted, “We are delighted to fund the acquisition of the Treshnish Isles. With more than 20 million Americans claiming Scottish ancestry, NTSUSA is committed to garnering international support to protect Scotland’s heritage and natural beauty now and for future generations.”
The acquisition of the Treshnish Isles comes as the National Trust for Scotland is investing significantly in the region. With more than 50,000 visitors per year expected on the Treshnish Isles, the Trust will work with local boat operators to ensure that rats and mice cannot reach the island and feed upon vulnerable seabird chicks. The Trust also will have a ranger on-site to help monitor and educate visitors about the islands’ wildlife. An archaeological survey will ensure all data from historical ruins is captured and will inform development of a preservation plan.