/ Glen Lyon access issues (again)

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SimonCRMC - on 25 Aug 2016

We successfully walked the four munros above Invervar yesterday - but only after a lengthy detour due to blocked access. I'm not sure how long this problem will exist but wanted to warn others.

There is a large sign by the road saying HILL PATH BLOCKED. It's due to forestry (tree felling) and there is a high metal fence in place with a warning on the gate not to proceed without being told by the machine operator (who at the time was higher in the wood). The sign had a landline number but not a mobile so presumably would just have gone to an office somewhere. Two other parties turned back and we decided not to risk danger or a confrontation by going in. We drove 2k east to where a traverse footpath comes in from the farm at Balintyre but on request were politely but firmly refused permission to park. Instead we were advised to park in a bay on the road half way back by Carnbane Castle and to access the hill by crossing a field. A sketchy path by the telegraph poles got us back to the main track above the tree felling and it was then well waymarked.

We then noticed this point could be easily reached by a driveway from the main road which seemed to have been built by Scottish Hydro for work further up. How hard would it have been to signpost a detour so that people can get on the hill to which they have a right of access (and yes, we had checked stalking had not started)? I know forestry needs to done but no effort at all was made to offer an easy alternative access.

Two other parties got on these hills that day - one by a different detour, the other by asserting his right of access having managed to get the attention of the forestry people. Two other groups didn't, maybe more. It could all have been so much easier. I gather there is a history of access problems here so wanted to flag this up to avoid anyone else having the hassle we had.
Post edited at 22:17
Robert Durran - on 25 Aug 2016
In reply to SimonCRMC:
That estate just take the piss. I realised this beyond doubt when there was a notice saying you had to walk the four Munros clockwise. I made a point of going anti-clockwise. Best just ignore whatever they say.
Post edited at 23:07
zimpara - on 26 Aug 2016
In reply to SimonCRMC:

Just be sensible and do your thing. No one cares, keep yourself to yourself and get on with it.
aln - on 26 Aug 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:

>there was a notice saying you had to walk the four Munros clockwise.

When was that? I remember a similar sign twenty years ago, I went clockwise coz I was going that way anyway. On the way back down I was confronted by a gamie who told me not to cross the track and go all the way back. I said no, he said yes and shifted his shotgun in a way that felt rather threatening, I carried on heart in mouth. And it wasn't stalking season
Robert Durran - on 26 Aug 2016
In reply to aln:

> When was that?

About ten tears ago. The notice also forbid all access at all time during the stalking season, but suggested going on pretty much any other hills in the area - where presumably no stalking ever takes place.......
StuDoig - on 26 Aug 2016
In reply to SimonCRMC:

Hi Simon,
There are very long standing access problems with that estate, they seem determined to ignore access legislation. Best report an access problem to the Mountaineering Scotland / MCofS access officers and the Perth and Kinross council Access officers - if we don't report officially then nothing will change. Not that the council have a good track record with the estate, but you never know....

Cheers!

Stu
SimonCRMC - on 26 Aug 2016
In reply to StuDoig:

Hi Stu

Thanks for that and I've just emailed MCoS.

Thanks for all the other comments - the good news is we got on the hill in the end and had a great day!

Simon
allanscott - on 26 Aug 2016
In reply to SimonCRMC:

So nothing has changed here then despite the MCofS consultation process of a couple of years ago!
I had a face to face with (I presume) the landlord himself just before that consultation (November 2013 I think it was). He ranted on about walkers who could not or would not abide by the restrictions he imposed.
He followed us up the hill in his ATV and I had a shouted conversation with him over a gale force wind. After a couple of minutes of this I declined to go down the hill and walked away to catch up with the rest of our group (going anti-clockwise against his wishes since I alone out of the five of us had not done the easterly Munro).
Take a look at Heading for the Scottish Hills website advice on North Chesthill Estate. Not exactly standing up for hillwalkers rights!
Cloverleaf - on 26 Aug 2016
In reply to SimonCRMC:

I'm quite amazed at how aggressive the initial tone is on their main page. I think that in many occasions there are walkers and outdoor users who will cause issues for estates, and in that I'm totally sympathetic to their problems. But their site doesn't really give that impression, instead it's an attempt to put people off using land that they have every right to access and enjoy. It's estates like this that tarnishes them all with a bad reputation. It's a very 'old boys' attitude because in the very next line they're extolling the virtues of their land and how many hobbies/activities can be done there, especially ones that involve paying the estate a large sum of money. The deer do not care that you are there, they will simply move over a bit. The deer might not be where you'd like them to be for the purposes of an easily organised shoot, but that shouldn't matter and it certainly isn't good reason for keeping the majority off large swathes of land in favour of the enjoyment of a very tiny minority.

And in any case, the last time I was in Glen Lyon it would hardly have been a challenge to bag a red deer (and then lie about how aggressive and dangerous this creature was, 'over a dram' with your mates afterwards).

SimonCRMC - on 26 Aug 2016
In reply to Cloverleaf:

All good points. To be fair to the owners it may well have been them that we spoke to when we stopped at the farm and they were very polite and did give us an alternative way in. Having seen the history and the website I'm not surprised there's been friction though! Our main point was that so much hassle and ill will (other walkers were less polite than I'm being here) could have been avoided with a couple of diversion signs. Forcing our way up from the main road onto the hillside precisely put us on parts of the hill they would want walkers to avoid (i.e. off the main path). I have no problem with the need for the rural economy to function through stalking and forestry but in so much of the Highlands outdoor activities contribute to the wider local economy via campsites, shops, restaurants, bars etc and if the message gets out that walkers aren't welcome it does nothing for other people trying to make a living.
A Longleat Boulderer - on 26 Aug 2016
In reply to Cloverleaf:
> The deer do not care that you are there, they will simply move over a bit. The deer might not be where you'd like them to be for the purposes of an easily organised shoot, but that shouldn't matter and it certainly isn't good reason for keeping the majority off large swathes of land in favour of the enjoyment of a very tiny minority.

Just to add a bit of experience from my side. My brother shoots on Meggernie estate next door to Glen Lyon sometimes. I go with him every now and then (I don't personally shoot) to follow the stalk. It's a nice day romping- not that I agree with the goal.

I will say it takes a lot of time and patience to get in to a position that will allow you a shot on a deer that is upwind, safe, close enough not to miss and cause the deer distress and the right kind of deer at the right age. The day I went out last year we followed a few around from pillar to post but didn't fire a single shot.

So I can see how it would be very easy to spend a few hours trying to get in to position only for a walker to wander and send them away. This isn't great for repeat business with people wanting to stalk and given these estates have little liquidity, I can see why they'd want to deter walkers/climbers.

Note: I'm not defending them btw. It's still outrageous behaviour.
Post edited at 19:02
petestack - on 26 Aug 2016
In reply to A Longleat Boulderer:

> So I can see how it would be very easy to spend a few hours trying to get in to position only for a walker to wander and send them away. This isn't great for repeat business with people wanting to stalk and given these estates have little liquidity, I can see why they'd want to deter walkers/climbers.

I doubt it's really about this at all when the vast majority of walkers/climbers do consciously avoid conflict with known stalking. More likely just lame justification for 'keep off my land'!
inboard - on 26 Aug 2016
In reply to A Longleat Boulderer:

Quote: given these estates have little liquidity

Is that a 'given'? I'm not at all sure it is.
Emily_pipes - on 30 Aug 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:

The sign telling you to go clockwise was there in April 2016. We were going to do it in that direction anyway, but thought about changing our plans on the basis of it being The Principle of the Thing.
drunken monkey - on 30 Aug 2016
In reply to aln:

kin'ell! What a chunt
buzby - on 30 Aug 2016
In reply to Emily_pipes:

just out of interest what difference would it make to them if you go clockwise or anti clockwise, wouldn't you be covering the same ground anyway?
Emily_pipes - on 30 Aug 2016
In reply to buzby:

God knows. My boyfriend and I had that very same conversation as we descended the trail the signs implied we shouldn't ascend.
ballsac - on 12 Sep 2016
In reply to inboard:

obviously it varies estate by estate, but as a rule cold, wet bog isn't very productive - yeilds, whether animal or crop, are relatively low and even if an estate has things like holiday cottages to bring in income, the actual estate is pretty unprofitable.

some, of course, have owners who have very deep pockets and who subsidise the economics of the estate, but many don't, and for them the estate is just a big farm where not much grows and the cost of doing anything, and getting what does grow (again, whether animal or crop) to its market, is relatively high.
Rip van Winkle - on 14 Sep 2016
In reply to ballsac:

Am I wrong to recall reading that the large estates also get literally millions in subsidies for basically doing nothing except owning land? This being one of the drivers for Scottish land reform?
alastairmac - on 14 Sep 2016
In reply to SimonCRMC: Hopefully, some of the work being done presently by the Scottish government and MSP's like Andy Wightman will help to break up some of these large estates over time and accelerate greater levels of community ownership/use. More immediately I hope they can force the issue of transparency with reference to ownership, taxation and accountability. In the meantime I think it's "our duty" to remind landowners that they may have some title deeds, but that these hill belong to the people of Scotland and that we all subsidise their ownership through a range of tax breaks and subsidies.
drmarten on 15 Sep 2016
In reply to alastairmac:

>In the meantime I think it's "our duty" to remind landowners that they may have some title deeds, but that these hill belong to the people of Scotland.

I've picked this out as the finest sentiment I've ever read on here, well said and I agree 100%.


A Longleat Boulderer - on 15 Sep 2016
In reply to petestack:

> I doubt it's really about this at all when the vast majority of walkers/climbers do consciously avoid conflict with known stalking. More likely just lame justification for 'keep off my land'!

I'm sorry, I really do disagree. It's very easy for walkers to accidentally scare off deer. If they see, smell or hear you they'll potter over the hill.

From my experience the large number of staff running estates typically try to make their own lives easy. Illegally trying to deter walkers just causes hassle. Far better to warn, divert and educate. Of course, I'm sure there are exceptions. But I really don't think the 'keep of my land' justification is as prevalent as you'd think on large sporting estates.
A Longleat Boulderer - on 15 Sep 2016
In reply to inboard:
> Quote: given these estates have little liquidity

> Is that a 'given'? I'm not at all sure it is.

Well, in the past ten years particularly we seen old landed families selling up to Russians. For a comedy look at the asset rich cash poor having difficulties in raising cash when you've got poor arable land take a look at 'the f*cking fulfords'. It's not scottish, but you get the gist.

In general Scottish Estates cost an absolute fortune to manage and bring in such little income- shooting and fishing are one of the few profitable endeavours. This ends with low liquidity particularly when a few generational deaths have occurred in close proximity.

If anything I'd argue that foreign (particularly Middle Eastern and Russian) estate owners are far less welcoming to the right to roam than the historical owners. Which is unfortunate given they don't need the money.
Post edited at 20:31
petestack - on 15 Sep 2016
In reply to A Longleat Boulderer:

> But I really don't think the 'keep of my land' justification is as prevalent as you'd think on large sporting estates.

I never even suggested it was prevalent. Just that it may suit the minority (e.g. North Chesthill Estate) significantly obstructive to walkers to give spurious reasons.
drmarten on 15 Sep 2016
In reply to A Longleat Boulderer:

> If anything I'd argue that foreign (particularly Middle Eastern and Russian) estate owners are far less welcoming to the right to roam than the historical owners.

There are no historical owners, only historical thieves.
A Longleat Boulderer - on 15 Sep 2016
In reply to drmarten:
> There are no historical owners, only historical thieves.

I actually used to support the idea of land taxes such that those without land are paid by those with land. The Uk roughly works out at about 4000 square meters per person. The logic was that those with more than 4000 square meters pay a fee per unit area to those with less than 4000, it would tally roughly.

In the end after studying this with a friend it looks a lot like Scotland in particular would literally be impossible to give away. Not to mention the logistical nightmare as babies are born.
Post edited at 21:22
Robert Durran - on 15 Sep 2016
In reply to A Longleat Boulderer:

> I actually used to support the idea of land taxes such that those without land are paid by those with land.

The more I think about it the more absurd I find the idea of anyone "owning" land at all.
aln - on 15 Sep 2016
In reply to A Longleat Boulderer:

>It's very easy for walkers to accidentally scare off deer. If they see, smell or hear you they'll potter over the hill.

Hmm.. I've had a few very close encounters with deer who didn't 'potter off'.

Simon Caldwell - on 16 Sep 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:

> The more I think about it the more absurd I find the idea of anyone "owning" land at all.

So you wouldn't mind if I turned up unannounced and pitched my tent in "your" back garden?
felt - on 16 Sep 2016
In reply to Simon Caldwell:

There could a limit, like a couple of acres or so, although doubtless some free-marketeers will be along shortly to hectare me.
MG - on 16 Sep 2016
In reply to felt:
Wasn't this tried in the Soviet Union, China, Cambodia etc, with rather disastrous results for food production?

(very good with "hectare" BTW!)
Post edited at 10:42
felt - on 16 Sep 2016
In reply to MG:

Yes, it would be similar class war to that, but better organised and not so snidey.

So if you couldn't show that your land was for the common good (farming, petrochemicals, tractor factories, good; golf clubs, polo grounds, grouse moors, bad, &c), you'd be ordered to remove the Private Land: Keep Out! signs and replace them with Public Land: Please Do Come In (But We Insist You Take Your Litter Home With You!)! ones. Obviously the lawyers would do well out of this, but they do well out of everything in any case; the only real substantive issue I foresee would be whether two exclamation marks were de trop.
MG - on 16 Sep 2016
In reply to felt:

Don't already have that pretty much? In Scotland have gone further - complete access except gardens, really, while E+W have access to upland areas along with a good network of footpaths.
felt - on 16 Sep 2016
In reply to MG:

Yes, I think so, thinking more about the Home Kineties where I live. Terribly unpleasant signs all around here of the You Are Being Watched! variety that really get you out of the mood for that nice arcadian ramble and in the mood for some summary Dzerzhinsky-style wall action.
Robert Durran - on 16 Sep 2016
In reply to Simon Caldwell:

> So you wouldn't mind if I turned up unannounced and pitched my tent in "your" back garden?

I don't have a back garden......

No, I just find the idea of an individual owning a bit of the earth's surface in the same way one might own, say, a teapot or a dog, somehow ludicrous. I think all land should be in public ownership with a system of long term leases with suitable rights and responsibilities attached.... including the right to chuck your tent out!
ebdon - on 16 Sep 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:

The concept of land ownership is pretty odd when you think about it. have you ever considered how deep do you own the ground beneath your house or who owns the air above it? These concepts sound silly but pethaps no more so than owning the surface. Its just the concept has become so ingrained in society.
Robert Durran - on 16 Sep 2016
In reply to ebdon:
> The concept of land ownership is pretty odd when you think about it. have you ever considered how deep do you own the ground beneath your house?

Though I do like the idea of owning a thin wedge of the earth's core.........

I think I read something about disputing or changing the law to do with the fracking fracas.
Post edited at 15:37
ebdon - on 16 Sep 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:

Frackings not the half of it, who owns the pore space between rocks under youre property if somone wanted to use it to store gas? or the heat used on a ground sourced heat pumps? use of the subsurface is throwing up some intresting legal questions at the moment.
(The answer generally being not the surface land owner)
Anway a bit of a digression from glen lyon
A Longleat Boulderer - on 19 Sep 2016
In reply to aln:

> >It's very easy for walkers to accidentally scare off deer. If they see, smell or hear you they'll potter over the hill.

> Hmm.. I've had a few very close encounters with deer who didn't 'potter off'.

Likely to be youngsters who have yet to experience humans in any way other than feeding. Give them a year and sadly it'll be a different story.

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