Mike Vickers' Blog

May 31, 2019

Knoydart: una comunità con un futuro.

Filed under: Knoydart, Land Ownership, Scotland, Sustainability, Travel — derryvickers @ 2:41 pm

Archiviato in: Knoydart, proprietà fondiaria, ferrovie, realtà, sostenibilità — derryvickers @ 11:46 am modifica questo

Abbiamo trascorso tre giorni a Knoydart soggiornando nella Bunkhouse della Knoydart Foundation a Inverie. Inverie è il villaggio principale, anzi l’unico villaggio.

The Village

Il villaggio

Ci sono alcune case sparse in tutta la peninsulare.

Abbiamo fatto due buone passeggiate da Inverie, a Doune dove c’è un buon ristorante vicino alla riva (anche se a 200 metri in discesa ci siamo astenuti dal campionamento) e alla cascata su una bruciatura sotto Ladhar Beinn (un Munro), ciascuno circa 20 km.

The Waterfall

La cascata

 

Vedi mappa semplice

Map of the peninsula

A Simple Map of Knoydart

Una semplice mappa di Knoydart

Un piccolo background: Knoydart fu uno dei primi acquisti della Comunità dal proprietario terriero della penisola di Knoydart. La metà è ora di proprietà della Comunità, mentre l’altra metà è di proprietà del John Muir Trust. Knoydart non è un’isola, anche se in realtà è come non vi è alcun collegamento stradale alla comunità. Si può raggiungere a piedi da Loch Hourn, ma ci vogliono due giorni oltre brughiera. Si può anche camminare da Glenfinnan ma al momento c’è un ponte vitale sostituito.

Cito “la Fondazione Knoydart è stata istituita nel 1997 per lavorare per conto della Comunità nel prendere la proprietà della zona di terra coperta da Knoydart estate in quel momento. La penisola di Knoydart, che non è collegata alla rete stradale continentale, fa parte di un’ area panoramica nazionale (Clicca per scaricare il foglio informativo). ”

Per un po’ più di dettaglio vedere https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knoydart con un sacco di foto.

Ma l’essenza di Knoydart è la sua comunità che ha costruito fino a circa 100 persone. Knoydart fu efficacemente cancellato durante le Highland Clearances. Le persone naturalmente lasciano, ma più arrivano. C’è ora una scuola primaria attiva, mentre i bambini delle scuole secondarie sono boarder settimanali a Mallaig.

Boats at Mallaig Pier

Mallaig – a busy port

Mallaig – un porto occupato

la città più vicina con un collegamento stradale continentale. _ la Comunità deve essere autoportante e c’è il negozio del villaggio, il caffè gestito da due eccellenti sorelle da forno, l’ufficio della Fondazione e il local pub che afferma di essere il più lontano ovest sulla terraferma di qualsiasi pub in nel Regno Unito. L’elettricità è alimentata da un sistema idroelettrico degnato e costruito a livello locale, fornito da un vicino lago e TV e Internet da un ricevitore/trasmettitore, alto sopra il villaggio; anche, casa progettato e costruito. Lo schema è comune collegamento in Mallaig e South Skye pure.

Un’attività principale è la registrazione per l’esportazione

The Timber Yard

Il cantiere del legname

; case sono sorprendentemente costruite in legno e ci sono alcune belle nuove nel villaggio. La terra viene reimpiantata per il futuro, anche se le piantature semplici abbondano ancora.

The Waterfall

Un boschetto di betulla incontaminata sulla strada per la cascata

. Mentre lo stalking del cervo può essere considerato uno sport dei ricchi, su Knoydart è una necessità come i cervi devono essere abbattuta per controllare il loro numero; nuova scherma abbonda. La Fondazione sta per iniziare a raddoppiare le dimensioni della sala del villaggio; è il centro della Comunità, ma ha bisogno di espandersi per fornire una casa per tutto ciò che va avanti. Un nostro amico è Davie Newton che intraprende e dirige la gestione operativa. C’è sempre molto da fare e mentre eravamo lì, c’era un gruppo di volontari ‘ jolly ‘ dal John Muir Trust rifacendo i fossati; l’acqua piovana è sempre un problema.

John Muir Volunteers

The John Muir Team of Volunteers

Il team di volontari di John Muir

Anche se non c’è alcun collegamento stradale al mondo esterno Knoydart ha la propria rete stradale e auto e 4by4s sono traghettato e molto apprezzato! Il traghetto è naturalmente un collegamento essenziale per le persone e il cibo e per sottoscrivere come c’è fiducia nella Comunità la compagnia di traghetti, Western Isles Cruises, ha recentemente acquisito una nuova barca veloce che si strati tra Mallaig e Inverie e il tempo di attraversamento è ridotto da tre quarti di un’ora a meno di mezz’ora con la più antica barca tradizionale (che è ancora in servizio).

The big boat with Rhum in the distance

La grande barca con rhum in lontananza

Una caratteristica fondamentale dello sviluppo è la gestione della terra e c’è un Ranger dedicato e molto attivo, Amie, che gestisce la terra e si concentra sulla “sostenibilità” in particolare piantando nuovi alberi. Sottolinea che le foreste più vecchie non possono essere facilmente raccolte perché sono state piantate con l’estrazione di cavalli e non ci sono più cavalli su Knoydart; un cambiamento non facilmente reversibile dove i trattori ora dominano.  Amie organizza viaggi organizzati intorno alla sua Land Rover; La Land Rover Defender è la dominante 4 per 4 non sorprende e non sono chiaro che cosa accadrà a pezzi di ricambio ora la Land Rover non li stanno facendo più. Naturalmente, i turisti sono una fonte di ricchezza e Inverie è un centro per escursionisti appassionati che arrivano in barca o in da Loch Hourn e Glenfinnan.

Per inciso, per i tifosi di Stuart Glenfinnan è dove Bonny Prince Charlie alzò il suo standard nel 1745. Più recentemente per i fan di Harry Potter, il ruscello Jacobite scorre tra Fort William e Mallaig via Glenfinnan sul viadotto di cemento Bob. Il treno e gli allenatori erano a Mallaig stazione quando siamo arrivati

The Jacobite waiting to depart from Mallaig

Il Jacobite in attesa di partire da Mallaig

A mio modo di vedere, la comunità di Knoydart deve essere lodata; hanno acquistato e istituito la Fondazione e nel corso dei pochi anni siamo stati andando a Knoydart la Comunità sta crescendo in forza e resilienza e forse, soprattutto, la vita sta assumendo una “normalità”. Apprezzo che la vita in estate sembra facile (a parte i moscerini)

Sunset looking towards Rhum

Tramonto guardando verso rhum

ma poi ci sono i lunghi inverni bui, anche se alcuni della comunità ci hanno detto che questi sono giorni migliori in quanto possono rilassarsi e fare ciò che non possono in estate. La Scozia ha bisogno di tali comunità, sostituzioni per i villaggi rimossi dai Clearances, ed è bello vedere Knoydart fiorente e il New Village Hall è un segno per il futuro positivo.

Knoydart: A Community with a future.

Filed under: Knoydart, Land Ownership, Railways, Reality, Sustainability — derryvickers @ 11:46 am

We spend three days at Knoydart staying in the Knoydart Foundation’s bunkhouse at Inverie. Inverie is the main village, indeed the only village.

The Village

There are a few scattered houses across the peninsular.

We did two good walks from Inverie, to Doune where there is a good restaurant near the shore (although at 200 meters downhill we refrained from sampling) and to the Waterfall on a burn below Ladhar Beinn (a Munro), each around 20 kms.

The Waterfall

 

See simple map

Map of the peninsula

A Simple Map of Knoydart

A little background: Knoydart was one of the early buys out by the Community from the landowner of the Knoydart Peninsular. Half is now owned by the Community while the other half is owned by the John Muir Trust. Knoydart is not an island although effectively it is as there is no road connection to the Community. You can walk there from Loch Hourn, but it takes two days over moorland. You can also walk from Glenfinnan but at present there is a vital bridge being replaced.

I quote ‘The Knoydart Foundation was established in 1997 to work on behalf of the community in taking ownership of the area of land covered by Knoydart Estate at the time. The Knoydart peninsula, which is not connected to the mainland road network, is part of a National Scenic Area (click to download information leaflet).’

For a little more detail see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knoydart with plenty of photos.

But the essence of Knoydart is its community which has built up to around 100 people. Knoydart was effectively cleared during the Highland Clearances. People do of course leave but more arrive. There is now an active primary school while secondary school children are weekly boarders at Mallaig

Boats at Mallaig Pier

Mallaig – a busy port

the nearest town with a mainland road connection._ The community must be self-supporting and there is the village shop, the cafe run by two excellent baking sisters, the Foundation Office and the Local Pub which claims to be the furthest west on the mainland of any pub in the UK. Electricity is powered by a locally deigned and built hydro scheme supplied from a nearby loch and TV and Internet from a receiver / transmitter, high above the village; also, home designed and built. The scheme is communal linking in Mallaig and South Skye as well.

A main activity is logging for export

The Timber Yard

; houses are unsurprisingly built from wood and there are some lovely new ones in the village. Land is being replanted for the future although simple plantings still abound

An untouched birch grove on the way to the Waterfall

. While deer stalking may be considered a sport of the wealthy, on Knoydart it is a necessity as the deer need to be culled to control their numbers; new fencing abounds. The Foundation is about to start doubling size of the Village Hall; it is the centre of the Community but needs expanding to provide a home for all that goes on.
A friend of ours is Davie Newton who undertakes and directs the operational management. There is always plenty to do and while we were there, there was a group of ‘jolly’ volunteers from the John Muir Trust redoing the ditches; rainwater is always a problem.

John Muir Volunteers

The John Muir Team of Volunteers

Although there is no road connection to the outside world Knoydart has its own road network and cars and 4by4s are ferried in and much appreciated! The ferry is of course an essential connection for people and food and to underwrite how there is faith in the community the Ferry Company, Western Isles Cruises, has recently acquired a new fast boat which plies between Mallaig and Inverie and the crossing time has reduced from three quarters of an hour to less than half an hour with the older more traditional boat (which is still in service).

The big boat with Rhum in the distance

A key feature of development is managing the land and there is a dedicated and very active Ranger, Amie, who manages the land and concentrates on ‘Sustainability’ particularly planting new trees. She points out that the older forests can’t be easily harvested because they were planted with horse extraction and there are no horses on Knoydart anymore; a not easily reversible change where tractors now dominate.  Amie provides organized trips round her Land Rover; The Land Rover Defender is the dominant 4 by 4 not surprisingly and I am unclear what will happen to spares now the Land Rover are not making them anymore.
Of course, tourists are a source of wealth and Inverie is a centre for keen walkers coming by boat or in from Loch Hourn and Glenfinnan.

As an aside, for Stuart fans Glenfinnan is where Bonny Prince Charlie raised his standard in 1745. More recently for Harry Potter fans the Jacobite Stream hauled train runs between Fort William and Mallaig via Glenfinnan over Concrete Bob’s viaduct. The train and coaches were in Mallaig Station when we arrived

The Jacobite waiting to depart from Mallaig

As I see it the Knoydart community is to be lauded; they have bought out and set up the foundation and over the few years we have been going to Knoydart the community is growing in strength and resilience and perhaps more importantly life is taking on a ‘normality’. I appreciate that life in the Summer looks easy (apart from the midges)

Sunset looking towards Rhum

but then there are the long dark winters, although some of the community have told us these are better days as they can relax and do what they can’t in the summer. Scotland needs such communities, replacements for the villages removed by the Clearances, and it is good to see Knoydart flourishing and the New Village Hall is a sign for the positive future.

April 11, 2019

Scozzese Giornale: 11 aprile 2019

Filed under: Black Holes, Brexit, Italian, Knoydart, Land Ownership, Scotland, Travel, World Class — derryvickers @ 10:23 pm

Nello scozzese Giornale di oggi: 11 aprile 2019

  1. Naturalmente,, Le Simulato foto of il buco nero in galassia M87.
  2. Macron infelice con la Brexit ritardata rischiando il Rinascimento dell’UE.
  3.  Varadkar (EIRE President) si collega al Regno Unito per rimanere nell’Unione doganale con l’UE.
  4. Traffico legato all’asma.
  5. Il volto di Bonnie Prince Charlie (non sembra che Bonnie a me).
  6. Borders Rail treni sovraffollati e spesso cancellati (sono un appassionato di treno).
  7. Un’altra storia sulle ragazze di Derry e quanto è fedele alla vita dei tempi. Buona TV ma un paio di volte è sufficiente.
  8. E in Real Homes una tenuta in Kilchoan Knoydart è in vendita per £ 5m.

Numero 8 mi interessa soprattutto perché è adiacente a/a sud della Fondazione Knoydart dove abbiamo buoni amici.

Per il blurb sulla tenuta di Kilchoan si veda https://www.onthemarket.com/details/6572192/

Ma per saperne di più della Fondazione Knoydart andare a http://www.knoydart-foundation.com/.

Il villaggio principale della Fondazione può essere ottenuto solo in barca da Mallaig.

La tenuta di Kilchoan è una tenuta sportiva; Io non sono un fan di Sporting Estates ma mi rendo conto cervo bisogno di essere colti, ma preferirei che fosse per il pasto non per lo sport.

Sarebbe eccellente se la Fondazione potesse acquistare la tenuta. Non posso che sperare.

 

BTW oggi è ancora un altro giorno in cui non abbiamo lasciato l’UE; Spero che ci saranno molti di più.

Scotsman: 11 April 2019

Filed under: Black Holes, Brexit, Knoydart, Land Ownership, Personal, Scotland, Travel — derryvickers @ 10:14 pm

In today’s Scotsman: 11 April 2019

  1. Of course, the simulated photo of the Black Hole in galaxy M87.
  2. Macron unhappy with Brexit being delayed risking EU Renaissance.
  3. Varadkar (Eire President) plugs for UK to remain in Customs Union with EU.
  4. Traffic linked to Asthma.
  5. The face of Bonnie Prince Charlie (doesn’t look that bonnie to me).
  6. Borders Rail trains overcrowded and often cancelled (I’m a train buff).
  7. Another story on the Derry Girls and how true to the life of the times they are. Good TV but a few times is enough.
  8. And in Real Homes an estate in Kilchoan Knoydart is up for sale for £5m.

Number 8 particularly interests me because it is adjacent to/ south of the Knoydart Foundation where we have good friends.

For the sales blurb on the Kilchoan Estate see https://www.onthemarket.com/details/6572192/

But to know more of the Knoydart Foundation go to http://www.knoydart-foundation.com/.  The main village of the Foundation can only be got to by boat from Mallaig.

The Kilchoan Estate is a Sporting Estate; I’m not a fan of Sporting Estates but I realise red deer need to be culled but I would rather it was for meal not for sport.

It would excellent if the Foundation could buy the Estate. I can but hope.

 

BTW today is yet another day when we didn’t leave the EU; I hope there will be many more.

October 14, 2018

Festival of Politics

Filed under: Edinburgh Festival, History in the making, Land Ownership, Politics, Scotland — derryvickers @ 8:29 pm

For the last 15 years The Scottish Parliament has been holding a Festival of Politics.  The festival typically provides 20 events: talks and panels on topics of political interest both current and from the past,  local and world wide.  I have attended for the last three years and below I provide very brief summaries as to what I picked up from the 5 events I attended this year.

Red Clydesiders

Panel: Maggie Craig (Writer on Scotland); Billy Kendrick (from Dundee and it showed); Prof Ian McClean (Oxford University) and Monica Lennon MSP Chair (Labour, Central Scotland).

Introductions by all on Red Clydeside but see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red Clydeside for more.

The speakers emphasised the role of women in the strikes and the movement as a whole; MC in particular considered that the role was / is almost wholly ignored.

Religious intolerance rife during the WW1 War Years.

Names of the persona were remembered. There should be a plaque in 2019 to recognise Red Clydeside.

The real start of the Labour Party (ILP) but the Communist association had been around for some time. Council Housing after WW1 was good quality but has got worse ever since (IM).

The current problem with the Labour Party is the lack of leaders.

What Glasgow did, Dundee did it too (BK).

People Parliaments Possibilities

Panel: Birgitta Jonsdottir (Iceland, mother and political activist: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birgitta_J%C3%B3nsd%C3%B3ttir); Brett Hennig (Sortition Foundation, Australian); Jamie Kelsey-Fry (professional panellist) and Shelagh Wright Chair (daughter of Canon Kenyon Wright).

BJ described drawing up the proposed constitution for Iceland; she was very proud of the work done. But constitution so far rejected by the parliament.

Current Elections ‘aristocratic’.

BK: Democracy by random selected committee (Sortition); applied in Ireland for change to Abortion Laws group assembled for a few weeks and then became the then current law.

JKF: throw out everything, economics is broken and start again even the laws; Taxation is politics. Remember the Occupation of St Pauls. All the good work being done in Madrid by new woman mayor; Frome is moving this way.

All agreed that the Young should lead the way.

 

In Conversation with Dame Margaret Hodge held in the main council chamber

Ken Macintosh (Presiding Officer, Scottish Parliament)

Margaret Hodge one-time Chair of the UK Public Accounts Committee 2010-15

MH, a Jew, came out of Germany before WW2; Welcomed into the UK in London and became a Labour supporter immediately and still is; she is still an MP for Barking.

An economist by trade

She was Council Leader for Islington and remembers Jeremy Corbyn well (MP for Islington North). Corbyn is still quoting the same policies he said 20 years ago

Have never been close friends leading to Corbyn’s Anti-Semitism remarks direct at Hodge.

Not a practising Jew and critic of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians but still fell out with Corbyn

She managed the Public Accounts Committee through consensus. Her track record was 246 out of 247 successes. Lost the Royal Mail privatisation which she most regrets. Journalists can be on your side through good relations but its so easy to lose connections.

One needs to recognise the value of money

Auditors help Governments to set the rules then sell themselves to large companies to circumvent the rules. This is immoral.

She was persuaded to put one person under investigation under Oath but then couldn’t find a Bible. Since then she believes that putting people under Oath is correct. Money Laundering is rife.

The HMRC make tax deals but as the HMRC is not a ministerial organisation these deals remain undisclosed: this needs correction.

Governments are little better: the justification for the two aircraft carriers was not forthcoming by Gordon Brown.

Global Companies are not moral despite what they state. Needs to be one unified global set of accounts. Facebook has never been held to account.

Final words; Build Trust, Connect with People, still supports Labour values.

 

A Forgotten History: The Scottish Clearances

In Conversation with Tom Devine held in the main council chamber

Ken Macintosh (Presiding Officer, Scottish Parliament

Professor Tom Devine: historian of Scotland – excellent speaker

Professor Stana Nenadic in attendance

The Main debating chamber was full as well as the public gallery

The Clearances: forgotten – well not by the audience!

The subject was Tom Devine’s new book on the Scottish Clearances. He frequently emphasised that his book is totally underpinned by historical research over 30 years.

TD has given as much attention to the Lowland Clearances as to the Highlands. He doesn’t dismiss the Highland Clearances but considers they have been for the last 150 years romanticised. John Pebble’s book is a good read, sold over 25,000 copies, but has a lot to answer for; Victorianism has not helped.

Tartan Products are the best-known brand worldwide. TD considers the Lowland Clearances started first and Lowland Managers migrated with the lessons they learned to the Highlands. TD considers the Lowland clearances were much more subtle; a tenancy agreement came to an end and the tenant was out. In the Highlands durcus (correct word please) remained strong and new landlords with little interest in it just deposed the crofters.

SN believes a major driver of the clearances was the landlords’ need for money to support their elevated life style (conspicuous consumption); gentrification.  Typically, families would have ten or more sons who just couldn’t be supported on the land; joined the army and were with their tenants the backbone of the imperial regiments about, Waterloo. Their tartans help builds the brand.

 

Who Owns and Stewards Scotland

Panel: Andy Wightman (the Poor had no Lawyers); Bob MacIntosh (Land Commission); Ninian Stuart (Centre for Stewardship); David Johnson (Scottish Land and Estates Commission) and in the chair Deputy Presiding Officer – Name please.

There are few owners of land in Scotland; most small farmers are tenants. Agreed that the drive must be to get more young people under 30 on to the land.

Land value is very difficult to assess; AW land value near towns gets out of control once planning permission sort.

Land Value Tax brought up, but DJ said many reasons why difficult to quantify.

House prices fluctuate widely cf Germany where prices have been stable of years; the Germans heavy investment deposited in banks which is reinvested in new businesses.

Secure Tenancy is drying up as landlords unwilling to be unable to terminate at tenancy end. Nevertheless, Land is still a free market.

Brexit will make a difference in subsidies and margins which are already very small will reduce further.

Climate change will drive tree planting and NS is keen on huts but not holiday homes.

DJ expressed the need for much better understanding across the communities

Government needs to be more active in stewardship and technology is becoming very important.

The Land Register is improving. Common Good needs to be better document (AW).

AW is looking forward to a new Land Reform Bill hopefully next years

But surprising the meeting was low key with little acrimony.

If I could have remembered the Author I would have stood up and quoted Mark Twain

“Buy land. They ain’t making any more of the stuff.”

July 22, 2016

Two weeks in The Western Isles – Barra to the Butt

Filed under: Land Ownership, Lesley Riddoch, Linda Norgrove, Music, Painting, Scotland, Travel — derryvickers @ 7:30 pm

Barra

  • Wind, Sea and Vatersay seasky
    • New road across from Barra. But there in LR’s time
      • EU supported
  • Kisimil castle – right in the middle of Castlebay
    • Get there by boat
    • Lovely restored wee castle of the MacNeils Kilmil
  • Kisimil restaurant
    • Not to be missed – need to book
  • Weather had been bad on first day and in the North saw three Twin Otters land within the hour the next

 

South Uist

  • Ceolas at Dalburgh –
  • Music Summer school
  • http://www.ceolas.co.uk/summer/
  • Ceilidh
  • Two young accordionists
  • Patsy Reid- excellent Scottish Fiddle Player
    • Did not play much at the evening we attended but she may have continued later
    • Tutor in Fiddle
  • Step dancing – people just got up one by one and danced
  • Mountains all down the East Coast
  • Machair on the West
    • glorious flower drenched in the sun
    • machair

 

North Uist

  • Balranald RSPB reserve
    • Otters but we never saw it
    • Oystercatchers in profusion, ringed plovers, dunlins
  • BB with Jac
    • Excellent house
      • Got the sun room
    • Artist – colourful landscapes
    • Views from our window great
    • Not easy to find restaurant
  • Chambered Cairn cairn
    • Unfortunately entrance recently blocked
  • Trinity Temple
    • Believed to be oldest university in Britain
    • Dun Scotus University

South Harris

  • Golden Road
    • Built in 1937 – so called as so costly to build
      • Must have been recently rebuilt
    • Harris Tweed shops and museum
    • Community café – excellent
  • Coffin Road
    • Ground too hard to bury dead in East
    • More likely because people wished to bury their dead in the cemeteries of ancestors, which were on west
      • People evicted from Seilebost in west to stony, poor ground in the east
    • Excellent walk over bealach
      • resurfaced
  • Scalpay
    • New bridge opened by Tony Blair
    • Fish restaurant – quality fish at a price – locally caught
    • No lack of small boats in small harbours with small jetties
      • Run by Community
        • A general situation in the Outer Isles
  • More Harris
    • One eagle observed from Eagle Observatory
    • Sight of St Kilda from Huishinish – Far West
    • Luckentyre – lovely beach but two cemeteries
    • North Harris Community buy out
    • Harris is very mountainous
      •  All over

Lewis

    • Lewis is flat
    • Old Village at the end of the road, Orasaigh OldVillage
    • Ravenspoint museum
      • Unbelievable collection of old documents and photos off South Lewis
    • Callanish – stones fabulous
      • Callanish 1 2 3 etc
    • Black houses occupied till 1940
    • Harris tweed made largely in Lewis
      • Calloway loom – Hattersley 60 inch now out of production
        • Complex to set up
        • To be classed as Harris tweed it must be woven at home Hattersley
      • Norman Mackenzie
      • Isle of Berneray
      • Good walk
      • Iron Age House
    • Uig
      • Mangersta
      • Restaurant
      • Glen Bhaltois – geology
    • Butt of Lewis
      • Birds
        • Gannets diving, fulmars nesting, kittiwakes, shags fishing and nesting, terns, ravens
        • Fulmars unbelievable fliers when close to cliffs
      • Lighthouse TheButtLight
      • St Moluag’s Church ButtChurch
      • Crofts not being crofted
    • Pol’s Pantry
      • Excellent food
        • Chef saved a buzzard caught in barred wire Buzzard

General

    • Roads of good quality and surface
    • Communities very much on the move
    • Plant trees, protect them and they grow
    • Difficulty of cash machines – then we find them in Post Offices but they close at 5pm
    • Great that CalMac kept the Western Isles Ferry contract
    • For a better travelogue with people read Lesley Riddoch – On the Outer Hebrides

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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