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Ulva the top! Tiny island’s residents to soar 6,000%

Ulva-whelmed: The
Hebridean island of
Ulva has been
indundated with
applications to help
rebuild the population

YOU’RE more likely to see red deer and rabbits than hail a fellow human.

But on a tiny island in Scotland’s Inner Hebrides, all that’s about to change — with the population set to soar 6,000 per cent.

Hundreds of people have applied to live and work in Ulva, currently home to just six residents and littered with ruins.

The interest comes after islanders secured £4.4million from the Scottish Land Fund last year to buy the 4,500-acre island, which is linked by ferry to the Isle of Mull.

It’s even lonely for sheep: Community will be boosted by an influx of new blood PICTURES: SCOTSMAN/SWNS

Up to that point, the population stood at seven — but ‘laird’ Jamie Howard, grandson of a former owner of Ulva, was unhappy over the sale and left.

One of the priorities is to get agriculture going again on the island, which in its 19th century heyday sustained 800 people who made a living exporting kelp.

Today there is just a small flock of wild Hebridean sheep and a few feral goats, although a herd of Highland cattle will be introduced.

One direction: Sign on Mull for the ferry

So far 350 people have registered their interest to live there, with the aim of bringing their skills as joiners, roofers, crofters, foresters and tour guides. Michael Russell, MSP for Argyll and Bute, hailed ‘an exciting new start for an island that has great potential’.

But repopulation ‘has to be done right’, said owners North West Mull Community Woodland Company — which means incomers won’t be able to carry out their own renovations. That will be done by architects and builders under the supervision of Argyll and Bute Council.

But it added: ‘There has been a gratifying amount of interest from people wishing to make their homes on Ulva.

‘Everyone has been added to a list and will be contacted when we are ready to move to the formal application stage.’