/ Contacting Game Estates
Am I missing a really obvious website or source of info on who owns what and who to contact if you are taking groups there?
I found it impossible to find out who was responsible for Invergeldie near Comrie to let them know I had a group passing through, and it was only by bumping into a rather pee'd off gamekeeper the next day on Glen Turret that I discovered it was managed by the same people.
I want to keep myself right by letting them know, but jeeze they don't make it easy......or am I just being obtuse????
But a quick glance will show you that only a small fraction of estates are signed up to it.
You are probably aware of the heading for the Scottish hills website which replaced hillphones but here it is in case anyone is not.
however, invergeldie doesn't appear to be on that. I had a quick google for Invergeldie estate office and phone number and couldn't find anything.
Not sure what more you could reasonably do.
I've had similar problems in a number of places. A very round-about route would be to contact the local deer management group, whose contact details you could get from SNH, but it would be time-consuming. I've also contacted neighbouring estates before and asked them for help.
...and very few north of the Great Glen. Hang on, most of those signed up North of the great glen are SNH, JMT, NTS or community ownership.
Doesn't seam that the vast majority of privately owned estates want to play ball........so they can't really complain if they get thier stalks disrupted....but of course they will.
I will however accept that not all estates/stalkers will be able to use the website, for varying reasons.
Is it a case of if they make it difficult, they hope people head to the hills where they can find the information ou i.e. not on thier patch!
Cheers for that, will check it out!
Small fraction indeed - I note the one area I need to contact are not part of it at all!! And this in an area of Central Scotland very well used by walkers / climbers / mountainbikers / DofE groups etc.
I am beginning to have much less sympathy for those involved on these estates - seems to me if me / my group are on a clearly marked, driveable track only 1.5km from the main road then we have minimised our risk of upsetting a stalk.
After all, its not us stoating around the hills with a gun - I'm sure my risk assessment is far less significant than his ;-)
Are you aware of "Who owns Scotland" run by Andy Wightman? Great service but not particular for contacts on day to day things. Often estates are managed by agents such as Bidwells who are the first point of contact.
Leaving aside onwership and stalking, I'd say have a look at George Monibot's post about the Scottish Gamekeepers Association.
Yep sounds like you have done everything you could and should have done to fulfill your end of the access code guidance on stalking.
Its important not to tar all estates with the same brush, as many work hard to communicate with walkers, and have to deal with numpties that just don't bother to check. But likewise, those estates that don't give accurate and up to date information, should expect to find people on the main paths, burns and ridges on their estate during the stalking season.
I suspect there is a strong element of just making it difficult but also a strong element of estate owners and staff just being bizarre misanthropes who don't really like communicating with anyone. I speak from experience of trying to get permission on various estates for fieldwork - as examples: On one occasion several phone messages, faxes and emails went entirely unanswered but on turning up anyway we told "yes got all your messages, go ahead, no problem". On another we were met by a friendly but obviously slight drunk gamekeeper in his landrover and received an entertaining tirade against sheep in favour of deer (sheep are the wrong colour apparently).
Agreed, some are much better than others, and are quite helpful, but others are like a secret society ;-(
Have to disagree with you there. People who don't bother to check, the vast majority, are not numpties. They are exercising a right that has existed for ages. The presumption is not in favour of stalking.
Scotland's modern access laws are the most liberal in Europe, and protect a right of responsible access which was previously unwritten and constantly under attack from landowners. This responsibility includes checking with estates wherever possible about stalking activity. Estates likewise have a responsibility to inform walkers. It is those who do not live up to their responsibilities on either side who give each other a bad name and undermine access rights.
The guidance on hillwalking and stalking is here and it is clear that in this case, the estate failed in its duty.
Agreed, the access laws are good but I fundamentally disagree that people who don't check (I mean in areas where many others walk at the weekend) are not numpties.
I was on the Coignafearn estate yesterday which is owned by the Rausings who also own the Corrour estate. There was no information anywhere on stalking and yes, it was taking place on the Sunday.
Typo! I should have said"......I fundamentally disagree that people who don't check (I mean in areas where many others walk at the weekend) are numpties."
Thanks, lots of useful information gleaned.
I do remember a day when if stalking was taking place there would perhaps be a map and information about where to go / avoid at the access points and car parks in the area.
Not seen that kind of info for a long time - always thought it was useful for the walker who turned up 'on spec' without a lot of planning - which we all reserve the right to do I'm sure.
Many years ago (c. 1990) there was a publication of the same name ('Heading for the Scottish Hills'). It was produced by the Scottish Landowners' Federation, and contained details of the relevant estates, complete with contact telephone numbers; walkers were encouraged to phone during the stalking season.
It's good that such a resources is available on-line now but I wonder why it is that the estates themselves seem to be less willing to co-operate these days?
Agreed, I'd have thought it was very much in their interests to make walkers aware, especially in areas of high use by the public. In this day and age of instant information I'm surprised there is not more info available.
Looking back, the track and area I was in was not an area you'd associate with stalking, and I think rather than actually being disrupted from his shoot the gamekeeper was just having his say on access issues.
It's all effort and probably not worth the estates while. Many are quite small and probably marginally viable as it is, adding costs anywhere will be undesirable. I guess this does also imply that they shouldn't think it worth your while to go to any great lengths to avoid disturbing deer.
> Looking back, the track and area I was in was not an area you'd associate with stalking, and I think rather than actually being disrupted from his shoot the gamekeeper was just having his say on access issues.
The stalking up Glenturret takes place all over, we've had them walking either side of the houses and also walking up/and shooting from the Dam road. Never experienced any problems from them tho, well, apart from once, when my Lab decided that he quite fancied one of the wee bitch Labs there.
I wonder what they where shooting, as there isnt really a big red deer population on the town (Crieff) side of the Ben, even the Grouse has more or less died out over the last few years in that area.
In fairness to the guy he was very polite and didn't want us to change our plans, which I'd have been willing to do if it had been an issue for him.
Agreed though, there were no deer on that side of the hill - though I've lived on a game estate for a while I'm not exactly an expert so who knows what they were shooting! We were going from the Dam east along the main track to the hotel by Connachan, a walk I've done many a time and never seen any deer. A few grouse and many a buzzard mind you!
Probably pheasants. There are release pens on the Comrie side of the hill, and I've seen them on the track from Comrie up to the Turret dam.
For anyone who was following this thread and for future reference, the Glen Turret and Invergeldie Estates are managed by the appropriately titled 'Managed Estates' based at Springkerse in Stirling - Tel.01786 462519
I suspect they manage quite a few in the area so if in doubt they might be worth a call.
Hope someone finds this info useful!
Very useful, thanks.
I have numbers for Suilven (!) and Canisp 01571 844219 and Cul Mor, Cul Beag and Quinag 01854 666238 and Inverpolly Estate Office 01854 622452 and Assynt Estate Office 01571 844203.
These numbers may well be out of date or even not used anymore!
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