l by 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

 Directors of the North Ronaldsay Trust are elected for two year terms by the membership of the Trust. 

Peter Donnelly

Alison Duncan

John Scott

Michael Scott

Kate Traill Price

Helen Galland


Caroline Tindall

Heather Woodbridge

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 running as a successful business for several years.
  • A designated Lighthouse Cafe providing wonderful meals to visitors and islanders alike.
  • The complete renovation 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 light housekeeper 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 with the Northern Lighthouse Board.
  • The NRT has fully renovated the former school house, a much need addition to the rental housing stock on the island.
  • Six wind turbines have been erected and connected into the Lighthouse and Kirks, maximising the Island’s windy weather to provide renewable energy.

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.
  • Following the extensive and devastating damage that winter storms wrought upon the Sheep Dyke, condition surveys have been completed and work is ongoing on rebuilding sections of the storm-damaged dykes with local labour and volunteers from outwith the island.
  • A Sheep Dyke Warden has been appointed to increase the pace of dyke renovation, in part by organising Dyke building holidays. 
  • Supporting the Island during the Covid pandemic

The Assets of the North Ronaldsay Trust

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 Old 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
  • The creation of a business, heritage and wellbeing centre

Our first twenty 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.

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