It was back in March 2007 when I wrote for the first time about who owns Islay. In the article I mentioned the www.whoownsscotland.org.uk/ website where you can find out more about landowners on Islay and in other parts of Scotland. Landownership is quite a "hot topic" in Scotland and, strange as it may be, there are many (very large) estates in the hands of people who don't live in Scotland or aren't even Scottish. That of course doesn't mean that they don't have a responsibility for the lands they own and the people that live and work on these lands. For me as an "outsider" it's hard to understand that one person can own so much land and the estate system Scotland has is quite unique in Europe. Islay has five estates as well and is no different than the rest of Scotland.
The Scotsman started a series a while back with the same subject as my post from 2007 called who owns Scotland, and is published as a top 20 of landowners. It's interesting to see how much land is owned by who and specially interesting is the relation the articles have with Islay. A few big landowners in Scotland are the Duke of Buccleuch, the Scottish Government, the National trust, the Blair trust, the RSPB, Crown Estates and... nr 19 on the list of landowners in Scotland is the current Baron Margadale, Alastair Morrison, who owns Islay Estate. The Morrisons own 73,000 acres of land on Islay which is quite a large portion of the island, see the map of Islay Estate. The Scotsman has the following written down about Lord Margadale and his land on Islay: Continue reading.....
He inherited the family estates in 2003 and owns tracts of property in England too, but his main estate north of the Border is one of Scotland's jewels â€“ the island of Islay, where some of the most renowned whisky is distilled. In 1853 the family bought the island, including Islay House, built in 1677 and one of the most impressive aristocratic piles in Scotland. It became a holiday home for the Morrison family and a visiting place for almost every prime minister until Harold Wilson. The family sold the house in 1985 and it is now owned by Tom Friedrich, a former US fighter pilot, but Lord Margadale still owns the island.
The first Lord Margadale was John Morrison, chairman of the 1922 Committee and a member of the Magic Circle which ensured Alec Douglas-Home became leader of the Conservative Party and prime minister, succeeding Harold Macmillan in 1963, instead of Rab Butler, who had been expected to take over. The machinations led to the Tories reforming and allowing MPs to elect their leader, rather than one simply being appointed by the Queen. There were suspicions that the first Lord Margadale was elevated to the House of Lords out of gratitude from Douglas-Home.