I first took this picture below in Oct 2010 and mentioned it on my blog and helped draw attention to the terrible scar made by a hill track in Achnasheen on the road to Lochcarron and Kinlochewe. Recently there has been a lot of publicity of the treatment of walkers on this Estate some of it well documented and a cry has gone out for some type of protest. I have worked with Estates all my life in the RAF Mountain Rescue, (since the early 70’s) every weekend before our training we cleared the land, through each Estate. This was not an easy task at times and took a great deal of work by both sides to ensure that a compatibility was achieved. It was also well before the greatly improved access rights we all now enjoy. In the end we had a respect for each others needs and it did work well. Over the years I have met some outstanding landowners, keepers and ghillies Mr Robertson from Lochnagar and Mr Oswald from Ben Alder spring to mind. Great people who loved the land the wildlife and the people and together we worked things out. Hopefully by the looks of things below Highland Council has managed a last minute meeting with the Estate and maybe a solution has been reached? I will still go for a walk today at Ledgowan in the area with friends and enjoy this lovely place. The road in the photo leaves an awful scar on the environmental and they are now all over the Highlands. There are many other Hill tracks that now are being built under the very poor regulations that exist on Hill Tracks . This is now being looked at by the Scottish Government (I wrote about this in Oct 2010 direct to my MSP) and got a standard reply from Edinburgh. In my Blog on 1 Dec 2010 I wrote” a few weeks ago about the terrible damage to Scotland’s mountains by the hill tracks that are all over the mountains just now. I wrote to my MP and got a reply and he has passed it on to the Minister for the environment Stewart Stevenson MSP for his comments”. If you love the mountains and wild land as much as me please write to your MP and tell him how you feel. Maybe now things are now changing?
A terrible scar on the landscape. Progress or not? I leave it with you to decide?
Who owns this landscape? —
The millionaire who bought it or
the poacher staggering downhill in the early morning
with a deer on his back?
Who possesses this landscape? —
The man who bought it or
I who am possessed by it?
From A Man in Assynt – Norman MacCaig
From Highland Council website meets with Ledgowan Estate (29/11/13)
“Officers of The Highland Council met with representatives of the Ledgowan Estate today (Friday 29 November). The Council is pleased to report that its suggestions to ensure that responsible public access and estate management practices can co-exist have been positively received by the Estate.
Measures to encourage access and inform the public of Estate activities were discussed and are being considered by the Estate.
Dialogue between the Estate and the Access Authority will continue to explore ways of enabling responsible access whilst respecting the operational needs of the Estate.
In the meantime, as is the case when taking access at any sporting estate, for their own personal safety members of the public are advised to be mindful of Estate activities and to follow all reasonable instructions from Estate staff.”
My final thoughts
This wonderful land is held for the people and future generations.Though much of it owned by a very few most are excellent custodians and try to find a balance by making a living and making the land viable in a modern world. We must all keep our eyes open and work together to ensure that what has been fought for over the years by many more articulate than me is never taken for granted.