Iain Noble

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Sir Iain Andrew Noble, 3rd Baronet of Ardkinglas and Eilean Iarmain (8 September 1935 – 25 December 2010) was a businessman, landowner on the Isle of Skye and a noted Scottish Gaelic language activist.

Noble was born in Berlin in 1935 the son of a British diplomat and a Norwegian mother. He received his primary education in Shanghai, Argentina, and at Summer Fields, Oxford, before attending Eton and University College, Oxford. The Nobles have been landowners in Dunbartonshire and Argyllshire since the 15th century, often with careers in the military or in business, and Noble began his own career by establishing a merchant bank, Noble Grossart, in Edinburgh in 1969. When he was bought out, he used the proceeds to buy part of the MacDonald Estates on Skye, and subsequently developed many business interests on Skye and elsewhere, including Hotel Eilean Iarmain and the whisky company Pràban na Linne which produces a vatted malt whisky called Poit Dhubh (literally the "Black Pot" or "Illicit Still". The company also produces two blends, Té Bheag nan Eilean ("small dram of the islands") and Mac na Mara (the "Son of the Sea").

Although not a native Gaelic speaker Noble became an enthusiastic learner of the language and used his position as landowner to support the language, introducing an employment policy of positive discrimination in favour of Gaelic speakers. He was directly responsible for the erection of the first Gaelic road signs in Scotland, and the holder of the first ever Gaelic cheque book, issued for him by the Bank of Scotland.

Noble was the original founder of the Gaelic medium college Sabhal Mòr Ostaig which is located in Sleat, Skye. The original "Large Hall" (the Talla Mòr) was part of the MacDonald estates.

Noble was married to Lucilla. He died at home on Skye on 25 December 2010,[1] and was succeeded in the baronetcy by his brother, Timothy Peter Noble.

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Source[edit]

  • Roger Hutchinson, A Waxing Moon: The Modern Gaelic Revival, Mainstream Publishing, Edinburgh, 2005. ISBN 1-84018-794-8.