A competition has been launched to give Skye its own flag.
Locals are being encouraged to delve into their rich cultural roots to create a design for the island.
The chosen design will be recognised by the Court of the Lord Lyon – the body responsible for recording and protecting all heraldry, flags and national symbols in Scotland.
Philip Tibbetts, Honorary Vexillologist (flag expert) with the Court of the Lord Lyon, said the key to a successful design lies in its simplicity and symbolism.
He said: “The flag should be simple enough to draw it from memory, and it shouldn’t include writing and other intricate detail which is difficult to see at a distance.
“But given Skye’s iconic status, the potential for both the design and subsequent usage of a flag for the island is incredible. It’s fantastic to see Skye become the latest community to start the journey of developing its own flag to fly proudly alongside the Saltire.”
The competition – which will run until December 1 – is taking place after a petition to the court by local councillors, the West Highland Free Press and tourism body SkyeConnect to create a prominent symbol for the community.
The notion for a flag was inspired by the actions of neighbouring island areas and regions, including Shetland, Orkney, Caithness and Sutherland who have in recent years adopted their own signature flags.
Designs created on the islands will be examined by a panel of judges – made up of representatives from across the community – before being compiled into short list of final entries.
Each chosen design will then be subject to a public vote in February, with the final design due to be unveiled in March.
Skye Connect project manager Alasdair Danter said: “A flag designed by locals rooted in local culture and imagination for local use has proved successful in places like Orkney, Shetland and Cornwall. It will be great to have one for Skye.”
Skye councillor John Finlayson said: “I have had lots of positive feedback about the plans for a flag for Skye. I am excited to see what designs will come forward from a competition that encourages people of all ages to submit their designs.”
Design overturned by strength of opinion
Sutherland residents fly their flag high now – but a year ago, there was public outcry during the county’s competition.
The Sutherland Flag committee was ordered by the Lord Lieutenant to host a public vote across the county in October last year to give residents the deciding vote on their desired flag design.
The original design registered by the court of the Lord Lyon, depicting a swooping eagle on a yellow and red background alongside three stars or “mullets”, was deemed as ugly by critics with some saying it looked more like a budgie. More than 3,000 people turned out to cast their vote during the month-long competition, with the winning design receiving support from 921 people.
The county now has a black, yellow and white flag. Overlaid saltire and Nordic crosses denote Sutherland’s relationship with the Vikings.
The golden sun that is formed where the arms of the crosses meet symbolises the sun raised high in the south for the origin of the county’s name South Land as well as the sunrises seen on the east coast and sunsets on Sutherland’s west coast.
The black recalls the peat of the Flow Country and dark skies and together with the white recall the central colours of the former Sutherland Council arms.