It’s always welcome when a new island joins the ranks of Cinderella-producing territories – especially when it’s the actual owner of that island who’s behind the stamps!
Mackenzie Island (or Eilean Mhic Coinnich in Gaelic) is a small (43-acre) island off the tip of the Rinns of Islay. Presently uninhabited, the island lies about 200 metres across the sea from the village of Portnahaven, and is a haven for seals and other wildlife, including greylag geese and Arctic terns.
Put up for sale in 2010, the island was eventually bought by for £55,000 in 2012 by Piers Casimir-Mrowczynski, an IT teacher from St Albans, who was already a regular visitor to Islay. Mr Casimir-Mrowczynski bought Mackenzie Island to be his final resting place – where he can be buried with his wife when the time comes – but also with the intention of preserving the island’s undeveloped status.
In 2021, Mr Casimir-Mrowczynski approached the creators of Islay’s Cinderella stamp issues to ask if they would be interested in producing a set of stamps for Mackenzie Island. They agreed to do so, and the first stamps that they designed feature (in three cases) photographs provided by Mr Casimir-Mrowczynski, who made the final decision on the choice of images.
In agreement with Mr Casimir-Mrowczynski, money raised from the sale of Mackenzie Island’s stamps will be donated to the Scottish Wildlife Trust.
Issued on 17 January 2022, the four stamps depict views from Portnahaven bay towards Mackenzie Island (25p and 75p values), the view from the island looking north-east (50p), and the view looking westwards, with Orsay lighthouse in the distance (£1). The issue is available as four individual stamps or in a miniature sheet format, with first day covers also produced. The labels obviously have no local postal function, but are rather intended to generate money for a good cause and help raise the profile of Mackenzie Island.