Public access to land has been a source of conflict in Scotland for a long time but matters have improved in recent years following the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 which provides a right of responsible access to land. Every so often, however, stories appear that suggest there is still some way to go before Scotland can be anything like a normal country in which its citizens can enjoy the great outdoors in peace and quiet. Today, this account was sent to me by Dr Kenneth Brown from Glenmoriston. It details an encounter with the new owner of Ledgowan Estate in Wester Ross last weekend. The estate was bought in 2011 by a company called Rainheath Ltd. from Yorkshire. Members of the Simpson family are Directors of the company (though Richard Simpson who is named in the piece is not listed as a Director). Andrew Simpson owns 96.09% of the shares in Rainheath and he and Rainheath Ltd. also own the Rossie Ochil shooting estate in Perthshire.

Get off my land!

Dr Kenneth Brown

My wife and I were returning from walking on hills on the Ledgowan Estate to our car that was parked off the main Achnasheen-Lochcarron road (A890). When we arrived at our car, we were accosted by a young man who had parked his vehicle beside ours. We had previously noted the same vehicle parked beside the main road when we were higher up the mountainside and concluded that we were being watched.

He demanded, in an extraordinarily arrogant and ill-mannered way, to know what we were doing, “walking on his hill”. I informed him that we were simply exercising our statutory right of access to the countryside and that that was all he needed to know. However, he persisted in demanding an answer in a most offensive way but I refused to say more than to repeat that all he needed to know was that we were entirely within our legal rights to walk on that property.

He became so persistently offensive that I demanded to know his name and status and he described himself as Richard Simpson, the owner of the Ledgowan Estate. (An online Highland Council planning notice identifies the owner of this estate as Andrew Simpson, so I assume this person is his son or another relative).

He then began to argue that we had been disturbing sheep on the land. In fact, there had been no sheep to be seen anywhere in the landscape for the full duration of our visit. This, however, did not deter him and he claimed that our dog must have frightened them away. Not only was this untrue, but our dog is extremely obedient and is always completely under control. He is used to being out on the hill; during his 13 years he has accompanied me on many Munro climbs and is regularly walked on the hills around our home in Glenmoriston.

Simpson then informed us that deer stalking was in progress and that we could have been in danger from rifle fire. I replied that, in that case, he had a duty to inform members of the public of any potential danger to them and that, if there was any sound reason for restricting public access, notices should have been displayed and proper procedures followed for a temporary restriction of the general right of access to land. In fact there were no notices of any kind to be seen, apart from one that bore the words, ‘Ledgowan Estate, caring for the environment’.
Image © Copyright Richard Webb and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

We decided that nothing was to be gained by arguing with him and began to unlock our car. Simpson then made the absurd accusation that we had been disturbing the environment by walking on it. (There was some irony in this because the estate owner has recently driven an enormously long and wide hill track across the mountainside, through peat, leaving boulders and other detritus strewn across it on both sides). He suggested to my wife, a retired head teacher who was telling him that he needed to learn better manners, that she needed a new pair of glasses then photographed her, photographed our car and stalked off to his own vehicle and we drove away.

Newly constructed hill track on Ledgowan Estate – photo taken from Achnasheen (click image for larger version)

We have since learned that the owners of this estate have previously behaved in an extremely intimidatory way with members of the public who have accessed their land. They obviously hold the legal rights of the public in contempt and are prepared to override them by employing disgraceful tactics of the kind described above and we believe that some action should be taken to deter them.

UPDATE 6 NOVEMBER 2013

In the comments to this blog, Gerry Loose suggested that a mass walk be undertaken on Ledgowan Estate on St Andrews Day. He has asked me to publish the following.

St Andrew’s Day Mass Walk – Ledgowan Estate

My intention for the St Andrew’s Day Mass Walk in and around the Ledgowan Estate would be twofold:

1: to register concerns about hostility to access

2: to inspect the Estate, with a view to determining how the title-holders to this Estate are managing that part of Scotland of which I regard them to be stewards in the name of the folk of Scotland (as indeed many landowners claim to be).

That there is an absolute right of access enshrined in Scots Law is unarguable. That the Estate Managers and Title Holders have the best interests of the people of Scotland at heart, and that the Managers and Title Holders respect their duties to conform to the Planning Regulations of their local authority may be determined by this Mass Walk.

Unfortunately, time and work commitments and personal constraints mean that I can no longer take part in this Mass Walk.

I urge you all, however to be present on the day, in informal groups, as and when you can arrive, spending as much or as little time as you have and inspect the condition of Ledgowan Estate, touching on the two points above; and then make your findings public.
I’ll be there in spirit and will eagerly await all reports.

I also expect this St Andrew’s Day Inspection of (other) Lands & Estates to become an annual event.

I will be working towards this.

Good luck and happy walking
Gerry Loose

Gerry Loose
www.wildandstolen.wordpress.com
www.gerryloose.com

84 Comments

  1. Gavin Alexander

    People like that should be reported to the police for intimidation. Such incidents should also be registered with the council so they can see the frequency of bad behaviour by individual estates/landowners.

    It might also be useful for all new owners of land in Scotland to be regularly updated with copies of their legal responsibilities and the rights of the public on their land, or at least required to declare that they are familiar with the legislation.

    Incidentally, do they need planning permission for cutting new hill tracks?

    Reply

  2. Sounds like a group walk needs to be organised in this area! 😉 Outrageous behaviour. It’s a sorry state of affairs when you can’t even go for a walk in the countryside without being harassed!

    Reply

  3. Maybe anyone wanting to buy land in Scotland should first have to undertake a course and examination in the law relating to access to land in Scotland; at their own expense of course.

    Seriously though what can be done about this sort of arrogant, ignorant behaviour?

    Reply

    • Exactly as you suggest Stuart. At the very least, the previous owners along with the solicitors and selling agents should be required to put together a form of welcome pack for all new owners, particularly for those from foreign climes. The sad fact is that, good manners are not universal and sometimes, they have to be encouraged and enforced by legal means.

      Reply

  4. we must keep the right to roam! the ramblers used to organise walks to establish public right of access with landowners like this

    Reply

  5. This is a case of threatening behaviour and intimidation by the landowner. It is surely a criminal offence. The police should be called immediately, and the person photographed and their car number taken. If possible a record should be made of the conversation. It is completely unacceptable for anyone to behave in such a manner.

    Reply

  6. Gavin Alexander

    Neil, the account in the Council’s records is interesting, but seems to indicate that they are spending time trying to persuade the landowner to comply with the law rather than enforce it. I wish there were spot fines for landowners as there are for driving and other types of offence.

    Reply

  7. Andy,
    Do you know which agents were selling the Estate in 2011? Often think these circumstances arise because incoming owners have been misled into thinking they’ve bought a ‘private empire’ as opposed to land which the public have a right to walk on. Leads me to wonder whether surveyors think they’ll sell Estates more easily that way. In which case some form of misdemeanour would surely have taken place. Be interesting to know….
    Aye
    Bob

    Reply

  8. Agreed Gavin, landowners will only comply when they see that the law is being visibly and publicly enforced.

    Reply

  9. I am always suspicious, very suspicious, when somebody associated with land in Scotland, particularly when it is a sporting estate, attempts to intimidate people walking there or goes to the length of photographing them and or their vehicle. Hmmm…

    I also wonder about that track that has been cut out of the hills there. It wouldn’t be the first time that land owners in Scotland, wanting more access for their shooting activities, have thought they could cut enormous tracks through such a precious environment without seeking the proper permissions…..

    Reply

    • Although contentious, is the creation of a hill track not still permitted development which doesn’t need permission sought?

      Reply

      • We have tracks round here on farmland and forested areas and that look like farm or forest tracks. That ‘track’ looks more like the ‘B’ road running past my cottage!

        Reply

    • Earlier this year a black throated diver was found shot by a rife on this estate. Who knows who shot it though????

      Reply

  10. The padlocked gates would impede the emergency services if a hillwalker/estate worker fell or became unwell.
    What does the landowner have to hide?

    Reply

  11. Report it to the local authority access officer and also to access officer at the Mountaineering Council of Scotland MCoS. MCoS will take this very seriously.

    Reply

  12. I would happily take part in a mass walk across Ledgowan Estate. Could be done single file: an event making a point. Any takers? I think we’d need to be about 50 to be both newsworthy and make the (Scottish law) point with the new “owners”.

    Reply

  13. hebrideanfarmer

    Brilliant, let’s go for it Gerry and show this landowner a thing or two.

    Reply

  14. Which Date, what time and what gathering point? I’m in and will invite all like minded people I know.

    Reply

  15. Manners are free and this unfortunate event shows that lairds still think that they can order anyone about on their estate . Land reform is not wanted by landlords . They want total control over their farm tenants and anyone else who lives , works or walks on their estate . That is how it used to be and landlords are desperate to get back to these bad old days with their bad old ways .

    Reply

    • There are badly behaved individuals in every sector and section of of society. Access under the 2003 Act is largely a massive success story and we should not pretend otherwise in order to make a political point.

      Reply

    • GD
      This is a reform already in place and frankly reinforcing the de facto open access that existed before. That said it by and large works well with only a small minority on either side ignoring their responsibilities. Access Forums exist to deal with this and if facts are as suggested then off to the LAF this issue should go. The vast majority of owners are not only very comfortable with access arrangements but have access and recreation as important parts of their businesses. So, sorry, but I don’t think a wider land reform narrative can be generated from one apparent case of bad practice. Deal with it by the process already in place.

      Reply

  16. angry greenshank

    3 down, 47 to go!

    Reply

  17. Come on Mr Simpson – what do have to say for yourself, you scoundrel?

    Reply

  18. I`d be delighted to take part in a mass trespass a la Kinder Scout in 1932. I`m sure I could rustle up several others to take part. Let me know. Can`t quite work out what hill it was on – Fionn Bhein or Moruisg?

    Reply

  19. Daye

    You can tart it up any way you want but It is true .

    Reply

  20. I have had this experience before. A friend of mine took umbrage at the chat received from one landowner and, after being berated and then shoved, kicked seven colours of shite out of the toff. Needless to say it was bad form but the boy was acting like he had rights over us, not the land. FTT

    Reply

    • Thomas, did I understand you correctly that “kicking seven colours of shite out of” someone is merely “bad form”?

      Anyone else uncomfortable with this sort of response? Andy, are you content this is within your comments guidelines?

      Reply

      • It does sound like a criminal offence. As I said below, bad practice – and that of course includes law breaking and criminal behaviour – needs dealt with.

        Reply

    • While understandable this sort of behaviour from either side helps no one and can only serve to reinforce predjudice rather than build understanding.

      Reply

      • I also had experience of this lately. I’m a Highland court reporter and a young lad was hauled before the Sheriff for “threatening and abusive” behaviour. Turned out he was walking on a popular Lochaber route that leads to an old graveyard. When the new lady owner began verbally abusing him from her door step telling him he was trespassing he cited the Right to Roam legislation etc. She then followed him, took photos and continued what he described as “harassment”. So he turned around and walked away, but not before baring his bum at her from a safe distance, telling her to “take a picture of this if you want”. So she called the police.
        The guy was fined a few hundred pounds and landed with a criminal record but having heard her giving evidence it would be fair to say that everyone in the court room was on his side.

        Reply

    • While I obviously don’t condone violence in response to childish (or other) verbal offensiveness, I’m surprised at the “toff”! Most of the real “toffs” understand that land-ownership involves not just rights, but also obligations. It is the nouveaux riches businessmen like Simpson who fail to get the message.

      Reply

  21. Surely, as Board Members of Scottish Land & Estates, Andrew Howard and Daye Tucker should be able to have a quiet word with Simpsons?

    LINK

    This would obviate the need to go to the LAF.

    Then perhaps they would be good enough to let everyone know on here what the outcome was.

    Reply

    • Alan
      To the best of my knowledge they are not members of SL&E. In any case the proper place to address such issues is the LAF. All the circumstances can then be considered and an appropriate conclusion reached. To be clear behaviour, as reported, will get no support or defence from us. The LA Access Officer will also no doubt be quite properly taking note.

      Reply

    • Alas, not all of the offending lairds are members of the SLF (or whatever it is called this week!).

      Reply

  22. Alan, I am CEO of Scottish Land & Estates. The estate in question is not a member of Scottish Land & Estates. As has been stated above, problems with access today are quite the exception rather than the rule when we consider the scale of access that exists today. Also as Andrew points out access is actually a key part of many owners operations these days – indeed we have held quite a few best practice demonstration days highlighting opportunities from access and best practice in managing access for all parties. There is due process via the local access forums and when problems arise they should be referred through that process where all the facts and evidence can be considered. Bottom line though is that bad practice in terms of access, whether by access providers or access takers, needs dealt with.

    Reply

  23. Andrew & Doug

    Thank you for getting back to us.
    Coming from your organisation, a word in the Simpsons’ ear may well prove beneficia. You are, after all, speaking from the same side of the fence, even if from a different, sensible viewpoint.

    You may well end up with a new member of your organisation.

    Worth a shot?

    I think it would be helpful when posting comments on a forum like this if your Board members declare who they are and any interest they may well have. (Surely, Daye’s *innocent face* rhetorical question about hill tracks can now only be viewed as disingenuous, to say the least.)

    Reply

    • Alan, thanks for your comments. We are quite a small pond up here and most of us know who each other are and what organisations we are involved with. Many of us wear quite a few hats too. I accept your point in general though and I am totally in favour of open and honest communication. Indeed it would be good if the anonymous blog posters would actually identify themselves. If you look above, quite a few are not prepared to have open and honest discussion by identifying themselves. Unfortunately this seems to be a common feature of such blogs and Twitter.

      How is the Thames Valley – for my sins I used to work for Thames Water and know your neck of the woods quite well!

      Reply

      • It seems so important to some that they judge what you have to say by what name you have. It all hails back to prejudices about whether you pass the name test or not. Well sorry Doug, you are going to have to use your brain with this one, and judge what I have to say by what I say, and not what name, school or past employer I have. My family name should make no difference to your judgement on that. Hard as it will be for you, you are just going to have to deal with this “common feature”

        Reply

        • HF
          As I suspect you well realise that is not Doug’s point at all. This has nothing to do with them and us. Anonymity allows you to contribute without context of your professional or other involvement in the issue being discussed. We have no way to judge if you’re being disingenuous (to use the charge levied unfairly at Daye) because nothing is known of your circumstances.
          Naturally i respect your choice to enter the debate in that way but the sort of guerrilla warfare it induces are hardly conducive to the sort of open debate that genuinely helps to resolve problems.

          Reply

          • Oh no Andrew , that is NOT the point whatsoever !
            You, and others are determined to sift through what is written with the view to judging the pedigree of the contributor before deciding whether you agree with the comment or not. Perhaps you have no idea who I am or what I do, perhaps you do, but I would like to trust that you accept my comments and views for what they are, and NOT for the family, school or profession I come from.

            Getting back to the thread of the blog, I would like to thank Dr Brown for letting us know that such behavior and attitudes are still prevalent in rural Scotland. This could not have been highlighted at a better time. Both the Scottish parliament and the UK parliament are looking for evidence at the moment, and I think this fits the bill very well.

  24. Interesting. In decades of wandering (often aimlessly) around the hills, I’ve only experienced landowner problems a handful of times and never as aggressively as this, although I have heard some tales.

    There was a particularly interesting case of the young guy back in the late eighties who was accosted in Letterewe by some land workers working for the landowner (a Dutch guy if I remember right?). This young hill-goer was walking in from Poolewe, doing the Fisherfield Big Six and walking out – a good lad! – and was harassed on his way out. It transpired he was a young officer in the Royal Marines, who duly returned the following weekend with a few of his ‘guys’… set a trap, and duly ambushed the land workers. This resulted in a change of attitude by land workers and owner alike!

    This story grew arms and legs and became ridiculous, but I’m sure some of the more mature readers here will remember it. This really was karma at it’s best!

    Reply

  25. I am up for a mass trasspass. I will also try and bring others.

    Simon

    Reply

    • …but it wouldn’t be a “trespass” in Scotland – lawyers debate whether trespass exists at all in Scots Law. Just a mass exercise of lawful rights!

      Reply

  26. P.S. There was no physical violence on the part of the marines.

    Reply

  27. Alan S

    What ? Daye being disingenuous ? Never ? Disingenuous Daye . D D for short .

    Reply

  28. We are suppose to have equal rights to life. That means having equal rights to be on this Earth. But if all land is owned and managed as by the Ledgowan Estate, we would only have the right to be on this Earth if the landowners gave their permission!

    Reply

  29. “Disturbing the environment”???? I recall vividly – but this needs to be legally checked – that when I lived in Scotland, I was told that prior to the 1949 National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act (that affected only England and Wales), the most advanced access legality in the UK was in Scotland, over the previous centuries. That one had to “right to roam” provided that one was able to offer 1 shilling (5 pence), on the spot, to the owner “in recompense for the possibility of any damage accidentally done”. I always hiked, even across Balmoral lawns, with 1 shilling in my pocket; although never challenged anywhere.

    Assuming that I am right, this Yorkshire intruder seems unaware of the history and legal position.

    Reply

  30. Please note, everyone: I was very careful not to use the word “trespass”! We have access rights – the “right to roam” over any land in Scotland. This is enshrined in law. My careful phrase was mass walk.

    Reply

  31. This kind of arrogant, ignorant behaviour shouldn’t be ignored. A group walk might work as gentle reminder of his responsibilities. And if instead it just makes him more annoyed, hey ho, count me in.

    Reply

  32. I think that St Andrew’s Day will be good for wee walk across Ledgowan Estate. I’ll be organising this; if everyone who has said they’ll be there is, then we’ll have a splendid day out in Wester Ross.
    “The estate is truly a ‘jewel in the Highlands'” to quote CKD Galbraith.
    Watch this and other spaces, including fb. Email me @ dharma46@hotmail.com . . .

    Reply

  33. Terrible behaviour. Report to police and access forum.
    This should not be allowed in today’s age.

    Reply

    • I’m not sure how effective reporting this matter to the police would be, Ruaridh

      in my experience in arranging a protest walk in the Highlands, the police turned up to look after the landowner’s (Sir Jack Hayward) interest, and even though they knew the information already, they demanded to know my address and phone number, even though no offences were being committed or were likely to be committed.

      This coupled with their behaviour towards the Menie residents and Anthony Baxter does rather suggest that they are in the pockets of the land owners.

      Reply

  34. Alex. Sutherland

    Freedom to move across the surface of our planet is a fundamental human right alongside freedom of speech and freedom of worship. The finger that pulls the trigger on any fire arm is entirely responsible for the consequences at the other end. If the confrontation contained any hint of a threat to the walkers safety a complaint to the police could result in the loss or suspension of the perpetrator’s firearms certificate and this has happened in the past.

    Reply

  35. A mass walk on the Ledgowen estate would be great BUT and that is a BIG BUT if Andrew Simpson is not there which he is not there often it would not have the same impact. He has told me and my friend to get off his land as well and told us he would “clamp” our car and very abusive about it . All this has been told to the Access officer. They often let thier cattle and sheep wander onto other estates and one place the highland cattle- bull and calves graze on a public right of way. THEY could not care less!!!!

    Reply

  36. Gerry, might I suggest you think about a number of routes on the day rather than sticking to one path? It might make the point more forcefully.

    Reply

  37. HF
    Ref your comment at 11.19. I’m sorry but that’s nonsense. No one is judging any one by who or what they are – where they went to school etc. You levelled the accusation at Doug that he, and other landowner commentators were doing just that. Perhaps you’d like to show us the evidence for this.
    As for the case in point this attitude is not prevalent in Scotland but regrettably, and we all agree on this, it happens every now and then. It shouldn’t but thats why there’s a process to deal with it. It’s the same if the access taker behaves irresponsibly. That happens but again its not prevalent.

    Reply

    • hebrideanfarmer

      Keep to the thread AH.
      You are just going to have use your head and judgement on what is said here , and forget the old school tie. If all this isn’t important to you why ask for names to be disclosed ??? Dress it up as you like , this is a blind tasting of life ! I’m sure Doug McAdam can speak for himself.

      Interesting to note the stunning silence from this Ledgowan landowner. Maybe he can come in and find a subject to deviate from though.

      Reply

  38. A H

    How does the process work if a landowner persistently mis – behaves . You know . Keep off my land!!! Or else .

    Reply

    • Just to add to the debate, I work for Ramblers Scotland and we were first made aware of access issues on this estate 2 years ago. We raised it with the Council and it looks as if issues relating to Ledgowan are now discussed at every Local Access Forum meeting – and yet not a great deal appears to have changed. I’m sure the Council has reminded the landowner of his responsibilities under the Land Reform Act to facilitate access on his land.

      This is the unacceptable face of Scottish landownership where local people and visitors are intimidated from walking on the estate and the council seems unable to make any lasting impact or effect a change in attitude. Not only that, but the estate is responsible for some of the worst examples of bulldozed hill tracks, which we have been featuring in our recent campaign to remove permitted development rights from these tracks and bring them into the planning system – the photos above were gathered as part of this campaign.

      Citizen action is probably the best course of action now – keep walking on this estate, make sure you are aware of your rights and responsibilities under the Scottish Outdoor Access Code, and remain calm if challenged. And if you are challenged, report it to the police – we’d be interested to know too. Publicity on sites like this works well – name and shame these people until they realise their actions are not acceptable.

      Reply

  39. I am Scottish Land & Estates Policy Officer covering, amongst other things, outdoor access. A breach of access rights should be reported to the local authority – it has powers to take action. The local authority will gather evidence and consider, probably in consultation with the local access forum, the action that is needed. This will probably initially involve a request for action to remove any unreasonable obstructions and if this is not forthcoming can escalate to a notice being served and ultimately court action. Threatening behaviour is another matter altogether however and should be reported to the Police.

    Although conflicts do still occur in terms of access to land (and not always instigated by the landowner or manager either), Scotland’s access legislation on the whole works well with the vast majority of the public able to enjoy Scotland’s countryside and open spaces without incident. Scottish Natural Heritage have been publishing annual recreational surveys since the legislation was introduced and this shows an improving picture in terms of both the public’s and land managers’ understanding of the Scottish Outdoor Access Code and a reduction in conflict situations.

    In terms of landowners new to Scotland, there has been discussion between the National Access Forum and RICS about ensuring property particulars include mention of Scottish Access Rights and this would be a very helpful addition if it could be adopted. However, Scottish Land & Estates provide all our new members with “Managing Access: guidance for landowners and managers”. This extensive piece of advice was widely consulted on before publication and is supported by Scottish Natural Heritage and the Paths for All Partnership. Not only does it cover the rights and responsibilities of the public and landowners in relation to outdoor access, it includes information sheets on a whole range of relevant topics and includes a number of helpful case studies. We have also more recently published advice to members interested in developing outdoor recreation facilities and have run a series of events on the topic which have been well attended and have generated a lot of interest. It is misleading to think the situation at Ledgowan is typical. Most landowners are happy to accommodate responsible access and some are interested in going a stage further by actively encouraging it to help support local tourism.

    Reply

  40. Getting bored now so I’m unsubscribing.

    Reply

  41. Eoghain Maclean

    Owner of Ledgowan Estate is Scottish and has other land holdings in this country. He has taken advantage of his right to construct a track on his land for agricultural reasons. Laughable as it eventually arrives at a hill loch where you can catch arctic charr. I was brought up on the neighbouring estate but I like other would rather walk to a hill loch instead of being transported by an ATV.

    Reply

  42. Douglas Griffin

    To the landowners’ representatives here: why isn’t contact information more readily available?

    20-odd years ago the Scottish Landowners’ Federation published a book called “Heading for the Scottish Hills?”, which listed some of the main hillwalking estates, with maps, and gave contact details so that walkers could contact the relevant people during the stalking season.
    Today there is this resource:
    http://www.outdooraccess-scotland.com/outdoors-responsibly/access-code-and-advice/scottish-hills/heading-scottish-hills/
    but it’s neither comprehensive nor particularly user-friendly.

    If estates expect walkers to stay away from certain hills during certain periods then they surely have a duty, in this day and age, to make that information available on-line. It’s a bit much to expect walkers to have to drive to the boundaries of an estate in order to find out whether they then have the right to then walk on it.

    Reply

    • Gavin Alexander

      That’s a good point Douglas.

      Maybe a guideline/rule that dates of access restrictions are lodged and published by landowners on a central, publicly accessible website more than a certain period of time prior to the start date of the restriction (2-4 weeks?).

      That would seem sensible, and may even play in the landowners’ favour as it could avoid walkers arriving without knowing of the restriction and then just marching across the land anyway since they have travelled to get there. Folks could plan a trip from home in plenty of time, finding alternative destinations if necessary.

      Reply

      • In this day and age, it must be possible to have an app on your phone that estates can feed in details of shoots, stalks etc. almost in real time.

        Having said that, you have to be careful to balance the “instant gratification of an app” syndrome against old fashioned understanding, awareness and common sense.

        That said, I don’t think the current presentation of the SOAC is getting the balance right.

        Reply

  43. The intention is that the Heading for the Scottish Hills webpages on the outdoor access website will provide stalking info and estate contact details for access-takers. The current service is a pilot one that has been gradually expanding since 2010. There’s a fairly major re-engineering of the software planned for next year which should make the site more user-friendly and enable fuller coverage.

    Reply

    • complete garbage Anne, heading for the hills? oh no panic, fear, shooting, upset landlord, angry farmer. total waste of time. Local people, local knowledge, interaction face to face works every time. But SLAE or whatever, will prefer the fear factor.

      Reply

  44. Ledgowan’s notice is not that clear, but it looks like the intention is to discourage access, a breach of the Code in my view. I wonder if the gate is padlocked? That would cause difficulty for horse-riders, cyclists, or people with mobility problems exercising their rights of responsible access. The Local Authority have powers of enforcement if reason doesn’t prevail.

    Reply

    • All Ledgowan Estate gates which give access to regular walking routes are padlocked, there are no alternative ways of accessing routes apart from climbing gates/fences. I was confronted by the same Richard Simpson in May whilst approaching one of the locked gates from the public road, with rifle slung over his shoulder, albeit not threatingly, Simpson’s attitude was aggresive, unreasonable and obstructive. When you take into consideration the fact that I was still within the confines of the public road and purely approaching the gate to visually check that the gate was indeed locked Simpson was busy informing me that I could not come onto his land, reason?,sheep with lambs. When informed that I posed no threat to either his sheep or lambs his next defensive statement was uttered, “we have Black Grouse”. This information I courteously thanked him for and requested of him where I could access the hill to view them, reply, “ask at the Hotel they may let you go through”.

      Ironically I was on my way to the Ross and Cromarty LAF of which I am a member.

      Reply

  45. The mass walk I’m planning (of course not trespass) will take place in the area of that estate on St Andrew’s Day. (Saturday this year)
    More details forthcoming – please let me know if you intend to come along. Email me (see my earlier comment for address or note here).

    Reply

  46. If I,m not working would love to join in, I think boycotting any businesses that the estate runs either they run it themselves or just rent out property/land, camping sites, shops, hotels etc, would be good too. Their tenants could also have a word with them that they also rely on people that walk on the land. Their businesses outside of the Ledgowan estate should also be boycotted until they change their views, one thing they wont like is being hit in the pocket.

    Reply

  47. A mass walk is all well a good- it will get media attention, but the Estate are likely to keep well clear and then hope it will all die down.
    I think that what would have a greater impact on the Estate, showing that their actions only create a worse situation for them, is for smaller groups to go there EVERY weekend, perhaps with recording equipment. Make this the most popular walk in Scotland for several months not one day!!

    Reply

  48. All true, David – if we start with the mass walk – whether or not Estate is keeping clear – it will have impact.
    It can be taken from there to get journalists and the like (say from the Herald) to write it up as Walk of the Week; travel guides can be infiltrated, Rough Guides, etc etc

    Reply

  49. Spot on dead right. I can’t do St Andrew’s day, but I’ll be up when I can.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.