Lottery offers nest Eigg

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The people of Eigg began a tentative celebration after the Heritage Lottery Fund agreed in principle to support a community-led buy-out of the Hebridean isle.

Eigg - population 64, size 7,400 acres - has been put up for sale by the German artist Marlin Eckhart Maruma at a price of pounds 2m. It has a history of islander-landlord feuds.

At a meeting in London, the trustees of the fund decided to support the buy-out by a partnership of islanders, the Highland Council and the Scottish Wildlife Trust subject to "undisclosed criteria".

The islanders are seeking a grant of up to 75 per cent. An appeal fund towards their contribution has so far raised nearly pounds 200,000. "In principle, the trustees of the HLF would like to support Eigg to ensure that this place of outstanding beauty is maintained for future generations to enjoy," the fund said.