History of the NRT

Our Beginning

In 1998, after one hundred and forty-six years of continuous manned service, the North Ronaldsay lighthouse was automated. This resulted in the lighthouse keeper cottages and associated buildings becoming empty and subject to deterioration. The North Ronaldsay Trust was established in response to these events. Its aims were to secure the vacant lighthouse buildings for community use and to investigate opportunities for job creation through the utilisation of these buildings.

The North Ronaldsay Trust (NRT) was formed in 2000, and was one of the first of its kind in Orkney. As a Registered Scottish Charity, the NRT has a Board of Trustees, and its Directors are bound to comply with the provisions of the Office of the Scottish Charities Regulator, of the Charities Act (2005), and of the Companies Act (2006).

Our Mission

The North Ronaldsay Trust works to preserve the heritage and historical interest of North Ronaldsay for the benefit of the Island's community and the public at large. The NRT strives to conserve the natural heritage, including the flora and fauna, the geological, physiographical and archaeological features and the natural beauty of the island. Central to this effort is the protection and conservation of the Island’s unique breed of seaweed-eating sheep.

The NRT also works to promote industry and commerce on the Island for the benefit of the general public including agriculture, silviculture, arts, and crafts.

In order to further North Ronaldsay as a place where individuals can make a life for themselves, the NRT endeavours to promote the provision of housing on the island for people in necessitous circumstances. This effort includes funding and construction of new housing as well as the renovation of derelict and existing properties.

Finally, the North Ronaldsay Trust strives to relieve poverty, provide help for the aged, handicapped, and infirm, advance education and in particular promote opportunities for education for the benefit of the general public.

Our Board of Directors

Six Directors of the North Ronaldsay Trust are elected for two-year terms by the 167-person membership of the Trust. The Board is augmented by three Directors who represent the North Ronaldsay Estate, the North Ronaldsay Community Association, and the North Ronaldsay Community Council.

Peter Donnelly, Chairperson
Peter Donnelly
Chairperson
Term: 2014-2016
Alison Duncan, Secretary
Alison Duncan
Acting Secretary
Term: 2015-2017
John Scott, Vice-chairperson
John Scott
Vice-chairperson
Term: 2017-2019
Michael Scott, Treasurer
Michael Scott
Treasurer
Term: 2015-2017
Kate Price, Director
Kate Traill Price
Director
Term: 2015-2017
Ian Scott, Director
Ian Scott
Director
Term: 2014-2016
Mark Holbrook, Director
Mark Holbrook
Director
Term: 2017-2019
Michael Scott, Director
Caroline Tindell
Director
Term: 2015-2017
Heathr Woodbridge, Director
Heather Woodbridge
Director
Term: 2015-2017

 

Our Completed Projects

Since the Trust was inaugurated in September 2000 over £1 million has been raised through grants, gifts, private fund raising and through the Friends of the Trust to advance the following Projects:

  • The creation of a wool mill designed to process the fleeces of the native sheep was created and has been runnng as a successful business for several years.
  • A designated Lighthouse Cafe providing wonderful meals to visitors and islanders alike.
  • The complete rennovation of the former lighthouse keeper cottages, which received a rare four-star rating from the Scottish Tourist Board for their high standard.
  • A Lighthouse Shop has been established selling locally-made products and crafts.
  • Also housed at the lighthousekeeper buildings is an Island Interpretation Centre created to share our history and future.
  • The NRT overseas the running of tours of the Lighthouse- the tallest land-based lighthouse in the U.K.- in partnership White Burrian Crosswith the Northern Lighthouse Board.
  • The NRT has refurbished the Foghorn, the only working example of its kind in Scotland.
  • A bike shed was constructed for the hire of bikes to visitors to the island.

Ongoing Projects
  • In a first phase of work, the inside of the New Kirk was carefully renovated and is now being used to house the Archives Project.
  • The Old Kirk has been purchased and renovations have begun to bring it back to its former glory.
  • Six wind turbines have been erected and connected into the Lighthouse and Kirks, maximising the Island's windy weather to provide renewable energy.
  • Following the extensive and devastating damage that recent storms wrought upon the Sheep Dyke, a survey was completed and work has steadily begun on rebuilding sections of the storm-damaged dykes with local labour.

The Assets of the North RonaldsayTrust

For such a young charity, the North Ronaldsay Trust has, in a short time, assumed the ownership and maintenance of the following assets:

Our Vision

While much has been accomplished since the inception of the North Ronaldsay Trust, we now look forward to the following future projects and challenges:

  • The restoration or conservation of the Old Beacon and associated buildings
  • The restoration of the historic Lighthouse Jetty
  • The construction of a green road from the Beacon to the main road
  • The expansion of the Island Golf Course
  • The growth of the North Ronaldsay Archives Project
  • The restoration and preservation of the North Ronaldsay Sheep Dyke
  • The continued restoration of both the Old and New Kirks
  • The further encouragement of tourism on the island.
  • The effort to create further housing for new North Ronaldsay residents

Our first fifteen years as an organisation have been marked by many achievements and success stories, but the future of North Ronaldsay will depend upon work that is yet to be done. Please consider becoming a partner in this effort and donate to one of the many exciting projects that the North Ronaldsay Trust is leading. Click here to contribute your support.

Burian Cross