Former Sabhal Mòr Ostaig chairman honoured

Former Sabhal Mòr Ostaig chair Duncan MacQuarrie was celebrated this week with the first road in the new Kilbeg Village development, Rathad MhicGuaire (MacQuarrie Road) named in his honour during an official ceremony held on Monday.

The ceremony was carried out by Kate Forbes MSP and recognised the key role which Mr MacQuarrie has played in the college’s development over many years. Sabhal Mòr Ostaig principal Prof Boyd Robertson said, “This is a richly-deserved honour for Duncan which recognises the hugely important contribution he has made to the development of the college over many years and the vital contribution he has made to the development of the Gaelic language and culture and to the advancement of Gaelic and Gaelic-medium education, both as a teacher and as a former HM Inspector.”

“Duncan’s critical input to Sabhal Mòr Ostaig’s development in its challenging formative years was marked by his steady stewardship, as a former chairman and his pioneering work, alongside that of his fellow trustees, demonstrated an exemplary vision and commitment without which what is now the National Centre for the Gaelic Language and Culture would not have existed.”

“For that, all who have benefited from this wonderful and inspiring place, over the intervening years, owe him a great debt of gratitude and it is for that reason we celebrate with him here today. It is fitting therefore that his name will forever be associated with Sabhal Mòr Ostaig and with the development of Kilbeg village, a new sustainable Highland community which places Gaelic language and culture very much at its heart.”

Ms Forbes, extending her own congratulations to Mr McQuarrie, said: “This recognition of Duncan MacQuarrie is well deserved for his years of commitment to the Gaelic language and Sabhal Mòr Ostaig. The opportunities afforded to a new generation of Gaelic speakers are thanks to people like Duncan MacQuarrie who had the sheer determination, vision and love for the language to persevere. “Today, the education, employment and cultural opportunities enable Gaelic speakers to live and work in their preferred language in a way that would not have been possible without Mr MacQuarrie’s efforts.”

Plans for the next phase of the affordable housing site – which will soon be submitted for full planning consents – will be delivered through a creative partnership involving Sabhal Mòr Ostaig the Highland Small Communities Housing Trust, the Highland Council and the private sector and will see the creation of up to 31 units of housing on the site.

The units will comprise a range of models and types of tenure, including rent to buy, self-build, housing for the elderly and, affordable for-rent housing. All tenures come with a rural housing burden attached to title, thereby retaining the housing stock in perpetuity for the benefit of those committed to living and working in the local area.