The saga of the Stagecoach boss and the sheriff rumbled on today.
Substitute Geronimo and The Ringo Kid with Ann Gloag and Michael Fletcher and you’ve got a tussle to rival anything the Wild West could have thrown up. The battle of Kinfauns centres on the attempt by the bus magnate Mrs Gloag to exempt her land from the Scottish right-to-roam legislation.
And today the head of Stagecoach, one of Scotland’s richest women, got her wish and persuaded Sheriff Michael Fletcher, replete in wellies, to take a look at the Perthshire grounds at the heart of the dispute. Mrs Gloag was not at home when the sheriff called.
After viewing the 7ft-high perimeter fence Mrs Gloag erected without planning permission – Perth and Kinross Council subsequently granted it retrospectively – he returned to Perth Sheriff Court to continue hearing the case.
Before leaving Kinfauns Castle, Sheriff Fletcher got a close up view of the giant redwoods and swamp cypress that the Ramblers Association in Scotland says warrants keeping the land open to the public. The association has argued that the land in question should be access land under the Land Reform (Scotland) Act.
Mrs Gloag’s security advisor, an ex-police superintendent, says the fence is the minimum he would recommend, as she has valuables on display in the castle. Her PR advisor, a ‘reformed’ journalist called Jack Irvine, said she has to put up with intolerable intrusion by his former colleagues. He said: "It's really quite extraordinary the amount of attention she gets, the volume of inquiries by media and the interest in her private life.
"There just seems to be this insatiable interest by the media in everything she does." grough is happy to oblige. Mr Irvine is the former editor of the Scottish Sun and an ex-director of News International in Scotland.
The case will resume next Monday.