My Vision for Scotland

One Shared Vision

The Scottish wilderness has suffered over many centuries from insensitive land management, including managing the land for hunting, farming, forestry and simple neglect. We all need to help to reverse the damage that has been sustained by creating a network of healthy ecosystems which link up  and retain communities of native species across Scotland. This can only be achieved through:

  • Restoring and enhancing degraded habitats
  • Protecting remaining wildlife-rich landscapes
  • Re-introducing the missing (extinct) species
  • Inspiring and engaging people in wildlife and conservation

Highland Titles is already successful in three of these objectives at its two nature reserves and in the communities in and around Glencoe and Ballachulish.

In the current economic climate we cannot rely on government to provide financial support for landscape-scale action for wildlife. Indeed waiting for government to take control was never a good idea. Government cannot afford to offend the large landowners, many of whom are a part of the problem. Maintaining a large percentage of the Highlands of Scotland as shooting estates has served ecology ill. Managing the land for deer and grouse is not conducive to a healthy ecosystem as artificial numbers can only be maintained at the expense of the environment and with the culling of “vermin”. Government agencies such as SNH and charities that rely overmuch on government cash, such as the National Trust for Scotland, are unable or unwilling to oppose the status quo and Scotland suffers as a result. The phrase “Bought and sold for English gold” is as true today as it was when Burns penned the words three hundred years ago.

Scotland’s communities, with support from local businesses, must learn the real economic and social value of the environment

The key threats to ecosystem health are particularly:

  • loss of valuable wildlife habitats to development
  • invasive non-native species
  • absence of large herbivores such as moose (Alces alces), aurochs (Bos primigenius), reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) and tarpan (Equus ferus ferus)
  • over-grazing by sheep and deer –
  • – caused by the absence of top predators
  • highly fragmented habitats with unsustainable populations
  • poor land management practices

Herbivores play a vital role in maintaining a rich ecosystem. Humans have shifted the balance to the point where some herbivores have been lost and we have excessive populations of others. Thus has a profound effect on the ecology.

How can Highland Titles help?

Business has a vital role to play in achieving this vision. I created Highland Titles to raise funds and create community at a local and international level to make it happen. We are helping by:

  • Championing conservation
  • Establishing a network of community Nature Reserves across Scotland
  • Helping other organisations who want to manage land for wildlife
  • Acting directly to conserve wildlife and wild places
  • Funding the reintroduction of missing species
  • Supporting the Scottish Biodiversity Strategy

On our nature reserves we are:

  • Managing our land for present and future generations
  • Safeguarding and enhance the native habitats and species of Scotland

Through education and communications we are:

  • Promoting the gathering and sharing of information on wildlife habitats and species
  • Encouraging people to see, learn about and enjoy wildlife
  • Creating opportunities for greater involvement in wildlife conservation

You can find out what practical steps Highland Titles are taking to realise this vision in our second five year plan

Glencoe Wood Five-Year Plan 2014-2018: The 2015 update

7 Replies to “My Vision for Scotland”

  1. My husband and I have agreed to visit at least once a year to see differences to the land and get update on wildlife being attracted back to its natural habitat.
    What turned out to be a novelty gift for my husband has started a passion in both of us to see how this project develops over the years.

  2. I’m impressed, I must say. Rarely do I come across a conservation blog that’s equally educative and engaging, and let me tell you, you have hit the nail on the head Scotland needs habitat restoration and you sound like the man to do it.

  3. I’m 22 and am from Swansea in South Wales. I have always loved the outdoors and spent most of my childhood exploring the woods and hills around me in South Wales. The Gower is still very wild. I would love to help you as a volunteer.

  4. Wish we in Canada could come up with a Economic Package for the Inuit people in the North to stop the Seal slaughter. It’s a complicated issue as they rely heavy on seal meat to sustain their dietary needs. Asking them to stop, is like them asking us to stop slaughtering all the cows, pigs and chickens that we eat every day.

  5. I am a lifelong member of the National Trust for Scotland. I cannot believe that they have any truck with hunting. Their stated purpose is “to conserve
    and promote our heritage”. I cannot see that killing animals fits with that.

    1. Hi Imogen
      Although there has been a recent change of heart within the English National Trust (they have given notice that the current shooting leases at Hope Woodlands and Park Hall in Derbyshire will end in April 2018), the Scottish National Trust is still enthusiastic hunters, shooters and fishers. Of course they are major employers in Scotland and many of their staff, particularly the troops on the ground, are committed to conservation. However, it is commonly thought by many that the work of the NTS is to encourage its members to support the privileges of royalty and aristocracy. You need only look at the people they choose to sit at the top of the top table. Their Patron is HRH The Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay KG KT GCB OM, a substantial landowner. The President is the Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry KBE FRSE DL, Scotland’s largest private landowner, with some 280,000 acres. These are not champions of rewilding. These are men who have grown up knowing that it is their inalienable right to kill anything that runs, flies or swims. Take a look at their killing opportunities at the Mar Lodge Estate.

      Of course a lot of ordinary people help pay for them to do it. For example, in 2014, the NTS received funding from Historic Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage of £7million of taxpayers’ money in grants. You may be happy to support that. I am not sure that the money is wisely spent.

      And take a peek at the credentials of the NTS Chief Executive, Simon Skinner, as copied from the NTS website. The National Trust for Scotland is more about managing money that heritage.
      Chief Executive of Aegon Ireland Plc, an international insurance business managing in excess of €4 billion of funds for over 20,000 investors

      It would be a fair guess that nobody on the NTS Senior Management Team would know a wildcat from a beaver.

  6. Re story in our news paper Sunday Times in Perth Western Australian. My husband & I would like to purchase a 930 square cm of Glencoe land also my two sons and there wiveswould be interested there. Is there any rates taxed or any on going charges to be paid each year. Many thanks for your time
    hoping to hear back soon .
    Regards Frankie Troughton

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