Mike Vickers' Blog

October 18, 2015

Land In Scotland and its Future

Filed under: Land Ownership, Scotland — derryvickers @ 9:18 pm

The State of Crofting in Camuscross

A Report by Iain MacKinnon & Susan Walker

A couple of recent items have made me turn again to Land Reform

  1. The SNP Conference ‘concern’ on the current Land Reform Bill
  2. Visiting Blair Castle and considering the Atholl Estates Together this led me to turn again to Andy Wightman’s ‘The poor had no lawyers’ and look up the size of the Atholl Estates and I find they are the third largest in Scotland. The italics are mine and I make no apologies for not putting the quotes in strict page number order

From the report I picked out the following quotes that underpin the meaning of land in Scotland and exemplify the two sides of the Scottish Coin: People and Land.

And turning the pages as one does I came across reference to a report by Iain Mackinnon and Susan Walker on crofting at Camus Cross in Sleat on the Isle of Skye. I know Camus Cross so I dug further – which means I went to the Web and found the report!

The Conclusions

Page 30

As our report has tried to make clear, in this township we have suffered, and are still suffering, examples of misuse of and capitalisation on croft land and common land. Each time this occurs it further weakens the sense, still prevailing among some crofters, that the land is more than merely a private economic resource. This indigenous understanding of stewardship of the land as a resource to be treasured for the livelihood of future generations sits uneasily with the prevailing short-term consumer mentality in our society

However, as our society struggles to come to terms with the reality of ecological limits to growth, this understanding of the land as a place where a community of people make their lives in the long term is re-emerging as one which makes sense. For crofting townships where this sense of place and community is still felt to be important, it is essential that ways are found to support and protect it.

Page 31

In the months ahead we need good leadership from our Scottish Parliament to reform the Crofters Commission into a decision making body with the crofting interest at its heart and the will to tackle the issues that need to be tackled if crofting communities, and the people who choose to be part of them, are to thrive.

Page 29

In the words of the leading Scottish rural affairs academic, John Bryden ( I take this is the same John Bryden who spoke recently at a Nordic Horizons) , the Scottish Parliament has begun the process of creating ‘a community centric land reform legislation’ (Well hopefully it will now start to). In the social transformation such legislation is intended to create, it is crofting communities that are showing the confidence and the talent in leading the way.

The report has the headline statement

“Thèid dùthchas an aghaidh nan creag”

(Kinship withstands the rocksGaelic proverb)

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