THE website of the National Trust for Scotland (NTS) describes the island of Canna as boasting "stunning scenery, a temperate climate and a sheltered harbour" and being one of the most hospitable of the isles of the Inner Hebrides.

What it does not mention is that ownership of it has become something of a poisoned chalice for the organisation.

A briefing paper for the NTS says it should no longer be directly involved in trying to grow Canna's population. The document adds that the conservation charity has been bruised by community acrimony.

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The report says the NTS can claim success in the recovery of seabird numbers. The same cannot be said for efforts to increase the human population, which now stands at 18, against a desired minimum of 30.

The NTS has always been a well-intentioned landowner, having invested £10m in the last decade. However, it also the local employer, and sometimes hard decisions have had to be made in that capacity.

The NTS is now likely to keep out of future attempts to recruit residents, with the creation of a community forum mooted. It will be good to see a new can-do attitude on Canna.