SCOTLAND'S highest village has voted “yes” to a major buy-out from one of the country's biggest landowners.

More than 55% of people in former mining village Wanlockhead, Dumfries and Galloway, said they want to buy 3863 acres of land currently owned by the Duke of Buccleuch.

When completed, the purchase will be one of the largest ever in southern Scotland.

Turnout in Wanlockhead was “extraordinarily high” as locals backed the move, according to Wanlockhead Community Trust (WCT), with more than 81% of residents participating.

WCT chair Lincoln Richford said: “This is the first big step towards a brighter future for our community. If we can own the land, we can make our own decisions about its use. 

“Locals said ‘yes’ to self-empowerment and self-determination.  It is an historic day for all of us.”

Currently part of Buccleuch’s Queensberry Estate, the land takes in part of the Southern Upland Way walking route as well as the Wanlock Dod hill and other sites of natural, historical and recreational significance.

It's hoped that the buyout will allow the community to take conservation measures and expand its leisure and tourism offering, including skiing, cycling and eco-tourism.

Dominika Torka, WCT board member, said: “There is so much potential here for us in Wanlockhead. It is very exciting where we can go as a community with this buyout, if we put our minds to it.” 

WCT is “in the final stages” of a joint valuation of the land with Buccleuch and will apply to the Scottish Land Fund for majority of the sum needed, as well as seeking support from other foundations. 

Richford said: “We enjoy grassroots support. We enjoy the political support of all of the major political parties. We will also secure funding support during this next crucial phase of our campaign.”