/ Ledgowan Estate - Contact details required from walkers
From the West Highland Free Press:
"The access policy states that all walkers met on Ledgowan will be asked for contact details, adding: 'If this is not forthcoming or staff consider there is any reason for doubt they will take a photograph of the individuals and or their vehicle.'"
Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.
I can feel the red mist coming down.
The embarrassment of it is that this set of owners with a medieval approach to property rights come from my part of the world.
How many of us do live at 10 Downing St then?
(Take a picture of me?? Well OK...)
So, the excuse seems to be that they are concerned about poaching. You're e runner Doug, you fancy a trip up there some weekend. Don your running gear, lurk about until someone tries to approach and then move off keeping them at 500 yards until they run out of steam ;+).
I was going to say that someone needs to have a serious word with them but you just seem to get some people who have a thing about their property. No matter what you say or do it doesn't change their attitude. Doesn't mean to say they're not tossers though.
Presumably it's only good manners for visitors to take a picture back as a sort of social bonding exercise- to help allay the estate's fears and show that you're just like them in some respects.
As an added bonus, there could be a photo competition in this.
If each 'photographer' accosted by the estate posts that Ledgowan mugshot on UKC, we could vote for the estate worker with the best Geroffmyland expression.
Another thought. Since it's difficult to coordinate site 'meetings' on a Kinder scale (I don't mean those egg things), maybe each person accosted by the estate should allow for an extra 15 minutes of talking to them about, oh I don't know, working with the environment, where they went on holiday, that sort of thing.
I feel sure that this would lead to greater understanding between parties and maybe to increased employment on the estate, since as well as welcoming visitors, they'd still have all their important environmental work to do.
As for the vehicle - was out on their patch a couple of times last winter. Did not have a car though.
Heh, not a bad idea Eric. ;-)
Another thought. How does the owner earn his money? I'm just thinking that if they're in retail of any sort their customers might be interested in how they run their estate.
I shall be adopting my standard mountaineering pose for any photos, one leg raised onto a handy rock, hands on hips and staring away from the camera into the distance with my best windswept and interesting look on my face.
I will also be insisting he takes the photo of my "good" side. and providing an e mail address for copies.
Not much that I could do about a photo of my vehicle but looks like a good excuse for having your Buff over your nose. That and a nice pair of sunspecs.
On the tit for tat basis I can presumably take a pic of the estate photographer & put it on Facebook or indeed on this forum.
I think the estate owner also runs Simpsons Garden Centre in Inverness. Could be wrong though. If that does turn out to be the case then they won't be getting my business again.
I do fancy a wee walk round Ledgowan soon though...
I've just seen this http://www.highland.gov.uk/yourcouncil/news/newsreleases/2013/November/2013-11-29-05.htm
"Officers of The Highland Council met with representatives of the Ledgowan Estate today (Friday 29 November). The Council is pleased to report that its suggestions to ensure that responsible public access and estate management practices can co-exist have been positively received by the Estate."
I remember seeing a post on Andy Wrightmans blog, that Simpsons Garden Centre, in Inverness is a relation to the owner........you'll have tp trawl through the comments sections to check.
And then what? What are the estate going to do with all these photos of cars and people? I doubt the local police will be impressed if Mr Simpson keeps sending a bunch of pics who have done nothing wrong.
Just to point out that the Simpsons of Ledgowan have no connection with Simpsons Garden centre in Inverness, an accidental misconception which seems to be much repeated. The Ledgowan Simpsons are a farming family from Fife who also own a shooting estate (Rossie Ochil)in Perth & Kinross.
Yes of course you can have my details - I'm Hugh Janus of Letsbe Avenue.
Selfies could be the way forward - walkers take photos of themselves with the keepers and post them to a facebook group. I'd imaging the joke will get old really quickly for the poor saps tasked with photographing alleged miscreants if said miscreants sidle up along side and start gurning
Thanks for the clarification. I'll pass that on if I hear it mentioned again.
Didn't think there was a connection. Phew! I can now carry on stuffing my face with cake at Simpsons without feeling any guilt about supporting some 18th century regime.
I've had my photo taken by someone down on Dunmaglass Estate before. I'd cycled up after work one day to walk up a small hill, and got chatting to a couple of estate staff in a Landrover on the way back. They were pleasant, but didn't seem to comprehend why I wanted to do what I was doing. Then 20 minutes later, as I was cycling down Strathnairn in the dusk, the same Landrover passed me, slowed down, and there was the flash of a cameraphone. It took me unaware and seemed very odd.
I think if I ever get asked for a photo on the Ledgowan Estate, I'll try and get them to indulge in a bit of posing for group shots. Might give them the serial number of my bike frame as well, in case they are interested.
I've looked at cycling in to the sub 2k marilyns at Dumnaglass recently but have been put off by all the windfarm construction activity. A pity, as once the damned thing is finished I probably won't want to go there anyway.
If you are photographed more than once and you ask them to desist, it can be classed as harassment.
Might be worth looking into making a challenge on that basis.
While the intimidatory tactics of the estate continue to make news,there will be a relatively small number of hillgoers who will be eager to assert their right of access. Yet, at the same time, a greater number will probably be discouraged. This presumably is his aim- all the while nothing is done about the intimidation, his reputation grows, so people stay away.
Hillgoers, confronted by the estate, will generally be reluctant to report to the police. Instead, they may air their experience on internet forums and joke about it. Each internet whinge becomes his tool for discouragement.
Reporting that you were harassed by the estate because your picture was taken more than once will probably result in little more than a shrug of police shoulders. It's low level harassment. So, the pattern continues.
Simpson is probably well aware of this.
It appears that his tactic is not to intimidate you as an individual so much as to discourage hillgoers as a group.
I wonder if the police would be better able to act on a collated set of individual records of harassment and intimidation? Perhaps this would be more the domain of the local MSP, a sort of petition plus?
Having been a victim of harassment myself, my experience is that unless you can present records to the police where there is a clear pattern of behaviour that constitutes harassment, then they will not act.
You'll need to record times and dates, what was said or done, who said it, and how did it make you feel? It is better if the record is made as soon after the event- perhaps on a scrap of paper that was to hand, rather than crafted on the computer some time later.
Perhaps someone who is internet savvy and trustworthy (Andy W. clearly feels passionately) would be able to coordinate this?
Is there a provision under Scottish law that allows members of the public to demand personal details of others whilst going about their lawful business?
If the claim is that this is to prevent poaching, how many poaching incidents has the estate reported to the police?
Sorry, don't know. Sounds unlikely.
I imagine people are giving their details, unsure of their responsibilities to the landowner.
Simson's probably got a ready answer to that- Maybe he's heard that not many hillgoers let people know where they're going and he's doing it out of altruism - in case you need rescuing.
Most people carry phones capable of recording high quality video.
Evidence like this has successfully been used in court to help secure prosecutions.
One problem with that is you need to be forewarned that the event is going to occur to be able to record it.
Often, you'll have been 'Tangoed' before you realise it- Like Malky C's experience given upthread, a quick jolt, designed to unsettle you.
Otherwise you'll be like (carrying on the Dad's Army analogy from upthread) Private Fraser in the closing credits - entering the estate on full alert, phone at the ready.
I do know that taking registration numbers is standard practice, and a former stalker once told me of being on number plate duty, noting every vehicle going through Achfary on the road from Rhiconich to Lairg.
Thanks for posting this Doug.
Does anyone know if there a law regarding the blatant in your face taking someone's photo? I have it in my head that there is a legal obligation to ask a stranger permission before snapping them. That's also assuming this applies on private land with public access. I may be completely wrong about this, can any of the legal eagles illuminate?
Eric and Doug, I think running up there is a great idea.
Re Simpson's business: I believe in addition to farms in Yorkshire and estates in Scotland they have cattle ranches in Australia. Not short of a bob or three.
If someone takes my photo, I'll take his. If he asks for my address, I'll ask for his. If he gives his own, I'll give mine.
Anyone has a right to demand your name and address.....you just don't have any obligation to give it.
I must remember to take my Groucho Marx mask with me next time.....make an amusing photo.
LLechwedd is entirely correct....this is about creating an atmosphere of deterrence, similar to tactics in a notorious Glen Lyon Estate.
Galbraith's the estate agents to the ''gentry'' have Ledgowan up for sale for £2.5m if my web browsing is accurate. Maybe a new owner will be more walker friendly. As it is, they make North Chesthill in Glen Lyon positively welcome (laughs). Speaking of which I had a run in with His Lordship there in November but that's for another thread (similar to the one elsewhere on this website if anyone is interested). I'm no Commie left wing activist but this stuff really gets my blood boiling. We should all turn up en masse and join an orderly queue to get our pix taken. That would surely piss them off big style.
And most of the time if you're out in public anyone has the right to take a photo of you. But so what? You're filmed on CCTV every time you put fuel in a car in a filling station, go into most shops, step onto many buses and trains, or into a lot of pubs. A blur-o-vision mobile phone snapshot of you isn't in itself a big deal.
Bravo. That's the spirit. There's nothing so off putting for someone trying to intimidate as you having a good laugh at their antics. :o)
The 'for sale' information you cite relates to James Ruggles-Brise's sale of the estate to the current owner (2011).
I dunno, I'm sure someone can supply 'I love Ledgowan' stickers for a car window.
(Maybe some local could do a bit of trade on stickers and tea shirts ;)
There is the dreaded catch all of Breach of the Peace, which an aggressive photographer could fall foul of.
The very scenario played out in 'You've been Trumped,' although in that particular case Grampian Police were acting as private enforcers rather than public servants.
I think 'WE Love to WALK on LEDGOWAN' would be better. With a little logo of a red rag and a bull .
On the subject of locked gates which have not been there previously at points of public access. I believe that the situation in England and Wales is that if you have to climb over them and injure yourself or damage your clothing whilst doing so then you can sue the landowner.
"This photo was taken by a Ledgowan dickhead"
Statement from the estate:
Mostly a load of transparent bollocks. Comments about the diver are all very well but they have been caught digging up badgers in broad daylight.
Thanks for posting, Stuart!
I was slightly amused by this statement;
“We are concerned that a stalker coming off the hill with a rifle is a vulnerable target for malicious people who may be out to cause trouble.”
Can you post a link? Thanks.
It’s perhaps of little surprise that an estate such as Ledgowan has an interesting history attached to it, having been in the hands of many aristocratic figures over the years, including Alexander Matheson of Ardross and Lochalsh, MP, the Ross family who in 1904 built the ‘new lodge’, a private shooting lodge for Major Ross. The estate was then sold to Lord Latymer of Coutts Bank, London in 1927.
It remained in the Latymer family until 1946 when it was purchased by the MacDonald family from Cononbrae who sold it off in two lots in 1962; the new lodge to the Ritchie Hotel Company, which is still being run today as the Ledgowan Hotel and the estate to the Ruggles-Brise family, the current owners. Note the last sentence is out of date.
Who says land reform is needed when we have such a success story like this.
Thanks for putting me right with the link above. Thanks also for that depressing follow up. It's miserable.
My immediate reaction to the previous post was: '2.5m? Is that all? The Scottish Government should swallow its pride, buy the place back, and put it into public ownership.'
We need land reform.
Agreed but there isn't the money for it. I am quite happy to have these large estates broken up into smaller parcels owned by local people.
Can I take the opportunity to say what many of us know already: The Ledgowan Hotel is rather good!
Have to disagree with you in the strongest terms, Mr B.
Will never set foot on their premises again after shoddy treatment re their "bunkhouse" several years ago. I was so incensed by their behaviour I wrote to the Independent Hostels Guide asking for them to be removed from the guide.
If anyone from the hotel's reading, I finished my Munros on Fionn Bheinn a couple of years later. None of the 40 or so folk present bought a drink in their establishment.Now you know :-)
And if you feel threatened by the employee's behaviour, or discouraged they are committing at least a breach of the peace - by interfering in your rights to access the non-curtillage land responsibly in accordance with the SOAC. Taking of photographs could be classed as an invasion of privacy, and recording personal data in those circumstances would be contrary to the Data Protection Act!
Tell them where to go - responsibly and politely of course otherwise you would be committing a breach and by definition being irresponsible. If you let the employee know that he/she would be personally liable for costs, damages and fines, or even imprisonment as well as whoever instructed/incited them which could possibly also include a conspiracy charge. And of course if they have a firearm with them then it would possibly lose them their licence on top of all that. Point out as well that attempting to identify people via car registrations for anything other than a lawful and official purpose would also be an offence.
You could also ask for their authority and contact details as anyone could just saunter up and demand information - who knows who they are.
Stand you ground, ignore requests, and continue. Ensuring that you are also recording and retaining evidence such as their photograph etc. Take a note book as well as your camera. Surreptitiously recording the exchange would also help your memory.
Easy with the voice recorder on most phones, I use mine at work and the quality of recording is good even when it's zipped inside a pocket.
I should have added that IF the alleged estaate worker/laird had identified a specific area where they were intending to shoot then it would be responsible (and safer) to avoid that locality. However most estates are extremely vague about this of course, even to the extent of saying they are going stalking in clouds and visibility of less than 50m! Assuming that the challenger was not the laird then don't blame him/her for the message. Their employment conditions still require the forelock tugging deference to a lord and master whose word is law!
I should reiterate that unless it is plainly dangerous or actually irresponsible then do not be deterred from continuing. Everyone who backs down or turns away is a success for the land owner.
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