The Shepherds Hut

The Lairds Lodge

From day one, we have been eager to encourage our Highland Titles lairds to camp on their land. From teenage days I have enjoyed wild camping and my thoughts were that if I could persuade anyone to give it a try, they might become hooked on the experience and begin a lifetime of hillwalking. However the option has never been widely taken up. Talking to lairds I discovered that many of the potential campers have reached a time in their lives when they prefer a proper mattress. i sympathise. Sadly I am now in the same place.

One of our local supporters makes a living from renting out gypsy caravans and I started to investigate this option. I was soon persuaded that a better solution was a shepherd’s hut.

These huts on wheels were once a feature of farms that bred sheep. The shepherd needed to be with his flock 24/7 during lambing and a hut with a mattress and a log burning stove (to keep the shepherd – and orphan lambs – warm) was easier to build and more roomy inside.

I soon discovered that the best huts were made by Blackdown Shepherd Huts  so I went to investigate and bought two of their kits. Cheaper to buy, easier to transport and we could use a lot of local timber which I could be sure was from sustainable sources.

One hut kit has become our magnificent reception/shop and the second is now available for people who would like to experience waking up in a wood but who don’t want to rough it too much!

The “Laird’s Lodge” has power and light, a log burning stove, a fridge and cooker in the kitchinette, table and chairs, a queen size bed and a private toilet. It is available to lairds and ladies via AirBnB for a night that will be gloriously unforgettable.   https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/25400524?s=1

Famous Scottish MSP “Advertises” Highland Titles


Highland Titles staff have been working overtime recently shipping extra orders to Germany in what is often a quiet month. The reason; advertising.

During the 2018 gathering Highland Titles welcomed an independent journalist who spent time with us, met us and learned about the work we are doing. The result was an excellent little film advertising our work, which was published in the prestigious German newspaper, Frankfurter Allgemeine . We were indeed fortunate that the video featured, in addition to myself and some of our happy lairds and ladies, the famous author Andy Wightman MSP, who has advocated wider land ownership for many years.

Of course Andy has no training in Scottish law, so offering advice on Scottish law concerning the sale of Scottish souvenir plots was rash to say the least. However we thank him for taking time out of his busy schedule, as a member of the Scottish Parliament, to contribute to one of our advertising features.  His appearance is especially brave as we are aware that he personally faces significant legal troubles concerning previous inaccurate comments that he has made.

Despite it being unclear to what extent he endorses our work, I would like to show our gratitude and my appreciation of his appearing in our film and for his campaign for more diverse Scottish land ownership. So there is a square foot of Glencoe Wood waiting for the future “Laird Wightman” if he would care to let me know where to send it.

 

 

Borth Wild Animal Kingdom

By Bernard Landgraf (User:Baerni) - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=217822

It would be hard not to be angry about this failed zoo.  The publication yesterday, in the Times, of yet more reports of animal neglect, simply raise our blood pressure, over and above the status that the annual celebration of animal cruelty that is Eid Mubarak. Superstitions have a lot to answer for.

You may recall that this sorry tale began with the escape of a lynx named Lillith.  She managed tor evade capture over several days but was finally shot by a local marksman.

Another lynx died at the “Kingdom” shortly afterwards, amply demonstrating the inexperience of the zoo’s owners, the Tweedy’s (no, not from “Chicken Run”) who are a psychotherapist and a street artist. Quite why anyone would trust them to care for wild animals beggars belief.

That they are still operating is a disgrace. That they are almost bankrupt is unsurprising. That animals continue to die is desperately sad. I wish I could do something to help. Something to think about….

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/fight-to-the-death-at-troubled-borth-wild-animal-kingdom-5ln2c9nzb

http://archive.is/rc4KV

Free Land Stunt

Like other business minded conservation groups, we rely to some extent on the help and advice of public relations companies. Our biggest opportunity in the marketplace, apart from the good work that we do, is our exciting and novel way of raising money. Who doesn’t want a bit of land in Scotland?  Much more fun than a membership card. Unfortunately, our biggest problem is the cost of advertising what we do. Of the 7.6 billion people on the planet, conservatively 7.5 billion have never heard of us. When people realise what we are selling and how we use the profits from those sales, we do very nicely.

Enter BML Public Relations, our American PR company. Last year they had the original idea of giving everyone in Scotland, Connecticut a free square foot.  I liked the idea. The worst that could happen was that we would give away product to 1,694 people and make them very happy. Could be worse. At best, they would all then buy a plot for Uncle Duncan (most of our sales are repeat business), and we would get some free publicity (the sort we prefer).

Ragan’s PR Daily described it thus 

“The story of a town full of lairds and ladies was an easy pitch to features, lifestyle and seasonal writers from the top 100 designated market areas. By targeting writers at national outlets that covered hyperlocal beats, BMLPR secured an article on APNews.com, which was shared by more than 125 outlets throughout the country, including FOXBusiness.com, ABCNews.go.com, CNBC.com, NYTimes.com, BostonGlobe.com and more.

Ultimately, the stunt delivered 268 media placements and close to 1 billion impressions, along with a holiday sales increase of 34 percent. It’s a great example of taking a typical holiday gift guide pitch to a new level.”

And we are pleased to say that Chicago based PR Daily awarded BML Public Relations and Highland Titles first place in their annual  Ragan Awards program, which celebrates the greatest campaigns, initiatives and one-offs in the communication, PR, marketing and media industries.

We are used to accolades for our conservation work but this is the first time that our advertising has been recognised. Full marks to our Marketing Director, Styephen Rossiter, for making this happen.