Stagecoach millionaires Ann Gloag is demanding more privacy than the Queen, a court heard.
Ramblers’ Association (RA) director Dave Morris told Perth Sheriff Court that the bus magnate’s attempts to stop walkers using her land meant she was asking for more protection than the Royal Family on its Balmoral estate.
He said most parts of the Royal estate were open to walkers. The Queen occasionally meets ramblers while out on the estate and was happy to exchange pleasantries. Mrs Gloag has built a fence around a part of her Kinfauns estate near Perth and is seeking to deny right-to-roam rights on the land.
Giving evidence before Sheriff Michael Fletcher yesterday, Mr Morris said: “There is a long tradition at Balmoral of accepting public access.
"We used that in discussions as an example of how someone in the position of the Royal Family is able to accept the right of access on their land.”
Even when the Queen is in residence, the public is allowed access to most areas of the estate, he said. “Access continues as it always has done. There may be security officers or police present to persuade people to take this route or that route. As the Royal Family go out and about they may come into contact with members of the public.
"I went to Balmoral to talk to the factor about security arrangements. He gave an example of the Queen riding her horse along a track, encountering hillwalkers and having a straightforward exchange.
"I don't think there's any difficulty in people protecting themselves if they take the right measures to do that.
"If Mrs Gloag or her family feel threatened in some way in any of the grounds, the only way of protecting them is by having the appropriate personnel nearby."
The RA director was speaking on the final day of the hearing. Further evidence will be submitted in writing. Ann Gloag is seeking to exempt 12 acres of her Kinfauns estate from the provisions of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 which grants the public access rights. The association is backing Perth and Kinross Council’s action to have part of the land opened up. Mrs Gloag claims she needs the fence to provide privacy and protection to her family and VIP visitors to the £4m castle.