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As the Managing director of Highland Titles, my opinions shape the direction of that company. The musings on this website are, however, my own. Just my own personal opinion. Many of them are not popular. Not politically correct. Well tough. This is my website and I will have my say. If you don’t like it, click away now, or feel free to comment. I believe in free speech.
I endorse the reintroduction of the missing Scottish predators. Without predators, nature cannot function as it should. Man believes that he can or should take on the role with guns and traps and usually gets it wrong. Leave it to nature. Rewilding rocks. Wild boar, beaver, lynx, wolf, brown bear. Bring them all back from their refuges in Europe.
I do not approve of hunting. I do not much care for fishing. I think the world would be a better place and we would be healthier if we relied less on meat eating. And if people must eat meat, then animals should be reared humanely and killed as close to the field as possible by the most humane method possible. Religion has no place in an abbatoir.
I consider the fact that less than 500 people own half of Scotland is a bad thing. In Norway, a country seven times the size of Scotland, there are only 23 estates bigger than 10,000 hectares. In Scotland there are 144. If you get the chance to read John McEwen’s “Who owns Scotland?: A study in land ownership“, you will see what I mean. Much of this land is kept barren to enable a few people to kill things. Much of this land has been destroyed by close planting of foreign conifers. Such woodland is sterile. The bloated Forestry Commission occupies 500,000 Ha, almost 2,000 square miles. This is land which could be better manged if taken out of government control. And the £50 million a year wasted on an army of pen pushers could be better spent elsewhere. Land planted with Sitka is sterile. Land cleared for killing is sterile. This is bad for Scotland and bad for nature.
Community ownership funded by taxpayers is not the answer, as is clear from the experience of the Isle of Gigha off the western coast of Kintyre. Expending £4 million of public funds, Gigha residents were gifted their scenic island in 2002. It has not proved to be a success. The National Trust for Scotland occupies 76,000 Ha. It is not a model for land ownership either. I can think of several ways to break up the great estates. None would be popular with the current owners. But someone needs to bite the bullet and get it done, but no political party has the stomach for it.
I do not approve of Government grants. They are offered in order to create a career path for civil servants. Applying for grants is an industry, creating work for consultants (retired civil servants). Grants to grub up hedges. Grants to plant hedges. Grants to cut down Scottish trees. Grants to plant non-native trees. Most of the money is wasted. Some does actual harm. Current planting grants require beneficiaries to expend the money first and then reclaim it. Only the rich can afford to do that and only the rich can afford to pay a consultant to complete the tortuous forms. Grants for the rich. No, I do not approve.
Please do not imagine that I only disapprove of things. I approve of smiling. Music, except opera. Walking in the rain (they don’t do dry days in Scotland). The Mountain Bothies Association. And of course, bellringing.
We get one chance at life. I might have wasted a few years here and there, but since I started Highland Titles I know that every day I am making a difference. Visit us at Duror if you want to see what we can achieve together.