Find a flag for Skye – West Highland Free Press sparks campaign to create new symbol for the island

Skye could follow other islands in creating a new flag. Picture, @goodstockphotos

Plans to create an official Isle of Skye flag are being hatched, with the area keen to follow the example of neighbouring islands in adopting a collective and easily identifiable symbol.

The West Highland Free Press is joining the campaign alongside local Highland councillors and Skye Connect, the official destination management organisation for the island.

Several islands have created official flags as a publicly available symbol which could help raise recognition and awareness of their area nation-wide.

The proposals for a Skye flag will be discussed this Friday at the council’s Skye and Raasay area ward business meeting in Portree.

The first step in creating a new flag would require an area representative group to petition the office of the Lord Lyon, which is the body responsible for recording and protecting all heraldry, flags and national symbols in Scotland.

Should the plans find favour, a steering group would be set up and a competition – which the Free Press could help run – launched in a bid to narrow down a shortlist of potential winning designs.

Early discussions have suggested the competition would pay a particular focus on local schools, and a public poll would be held to decide the eventual winner.

Similar exercises have been held to find flags in other parts of Scotland in recent years. The islands of Barra, South Uist, Tiree, Shetland and Orkney all have their own flags, while so too has the mainland areas of Caithness and Sutherland.

A competition got underway last week to find flags to represent Eriskay, Benbecula and North Uist.

Philip Tibbetts, honorary vexillologist with the Court of the Lord Lyon, told the Free Press he would be happy to come to Skye and help explain the process in more depth.

He said a flag would “express pride in the local community and celebrate the island’s heritage and culture.”

Skye councillor John Finlayson said: “I have been thinking for some time about the need for Skye to have its own flag and I have had preliminary discussions with other ward members about this. Recent discussions with the communities vexillologist, Skye Connect and the WHFP have also confirmed an appetite for moving this forward, and the importance of involving young people in any plans.

“Initial discussions will take place at a ward business meeting and I am excited about moving this project forward with the help of the different stakeholders mentioned.”

Article by Keith MacKenzie