IAN Blackford has congratulated the 9-year-old designer of Skye's new official flag, saying the young lad had created an "enduring image" of the island.

The blue, yellow, and white flag designed by Skye local Calum Alasdair Munro was unveiled at a ceremony in Portree this afternoon.

Munro's design beat out well over 300 other competitors from all over the world.

The 9-year-old winner, from Kilmuir on Skye, said he has a passion for collecting flags and drew his inspiration from the island’s history and heritage.

He said: “First, I thought of the Birlinn [a wooden boat used in the Hebrides in the middle ages] and I was thinking about the MacLeods and MacDonalds and the MacKinnons – the first clans on Skye.

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“I thought about the Celtic Heritage, the Viking heritage and the history of Flora MacDonald.

“In my flag, in the Birlinn, there are five oars representing Trotternish, Waternish, Duirinish, Minginish and Sleat. I thought about yellow for the MacLeods and Blue for the MacDonalds or the MacKinnons.”

Constituency MP Ian Blackford said he was "delighted to see the strength of interest in the competition", adding: "Calum should be very proud of coming up with the winning design.

"His legacy will be the flag which will become an enduring image of Skye."

The National: Calum Alasdair Munro designed the winning flagCalum Alasdair Munro designed the winning flag

The search for a flag for Skye began in May last year when the West Highland Free Press joined forces with Highland Council and destination management organisation Skye Connect to petition the court of the Lord Lyon – the body responsible for recording and protecting all heraldry, flags and national symbols in Scotland.

The competition, which was launched last autumn, had 369 designs submitted from all across the globe. A panel of community representatives then drew up a short list of the six flags which they felt best symbolised the island, and the six were then put to a public vote.

Competition organiser Keith Mackenzie – the editor of the West Highland Free Press – said: “It is a tremendous design but the other thing that struck people is what it meant.

“It pulls together so many elements of Skye. There are notes to Christianity, there are notes to our Celtic heritage, to our Nordic heritage, to the Clans. And also, the colours themselves reflect Skye as a jewel of Scotland.

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“We thought it was important, right from the outset, to engage as many people locally as we could.

“The people who came up with the idea and launched the competition were from Skye, the vast majority of the entries came from Skye, the voting was from people on Skye or associated with Skye and we have a local winner as well.

“People may like or dislike the flag but I don’t think anyone can argue against the process of finding the design.”

It is hoped that the Skye flag will soon be as well-known and recognised as other regional and island flags such as Shetland, Orkney, Cornwall and Devon.