A bus tycoon is upping the ante in her battle with the Ramblers’ Association in Scotland (RAS).
Stagecoach millionaires Ann Gloag is demanding a court convene in the garden of her Perthshire pad to see the threat to her privacy posed by a Ramblers’ challenge.
Mrs Gloag erected a seven-foot high security fence around the category-A listed Kinfauns Castle without planning permission. Perth and Kinross Council subsequently granted retrospective permission, invoking the fury of Historic Scotland, which said it should have been consulted. It would have opposed permission. It is claimed she wants to ban ramblers from her land because of the fear of being kidnapped. Desperate people, those ramblers; grough’s seen ‘em in action: don’t be fooled by the knitted breeches and bobble hats; they can shoo sheep like a rabid border collie.
Now the bus magnate, said to be the second wealthiest woman in Scotland, wants a sheriff to hold court at the castle in her challenge to the right to roam granted by the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003. RAS has launched a public appeal to raise £20,000 to fight the case, which is due to start later this month.
The security fence encloses about 12 acres of land which, claims RAS, contain fine examples of native conifers and ‘the best swamp cypress in Scotland’. This time Perth and Kinross Council concurs with RAS, saying it should be open to walkers.
Elsewhere, Euan and Claire Snowie are also aiming to kick walkers off their land. This time 70 acres is at stake. The 38-year-old businessman, who made buckets of cash clearing carcasses during the foot and mouth crisis of 2001, is asking Stirling Sheriff Court to ban the public from his land for fear of being burgled. Stirling Council ordered him to unlock one of a pair of pedestrian gates that have been padlocked for more than a year at their home Boquhan House, west Stirling.
RAS says of the Stagecoach case: “If Ann Gloag were to win this case it would set a dangerous precedent which could be used by other landowners in Scotland who wish to exempt land from statutory access rights.
“This would be a serious blow to our hard won access legislation and is the reason why Ramblers Scotland and Perth and Kinross Council are launching this challenge against Mrs Gloag.”