Mountaineering Council of Scotland members will have a chance to quiz one of the Highlands’ most controversial land managers at the group’s annual gathering.
Glenmore Lodge, venue for the gathering
Hugh Fullerton-Smith, general manager of the Allerdale Wilderness Reserve, will address the gathering next month. Mr Fullerton-Smith’s boss Paul Lister has incurred the wrath of many mountaineers and walkers by proposing to fence off a huge tract of the Highlands to allow the introduction of wolves and other wild animals.
The man charged with creating and maintaining the Alladale reserve has a name straight out of the directory of land-owning English gentry, but is actually New Zealand born. He has been involved with a deer and bison estate at Hornby Castle in North Yorkshire and has also worked in northern Alberta and South Dakota, as well as helping nomadic groups in Mongolia.
Mr Fullerton-Smith will step into the lion’s den – or lynx’s lair – when he speaks to the membership of the MCofS following its annual general meeting next month. He could face fierce criticism for the fact that his estate owner wants to exclude walkers and climbers from the 9,300 hectares (23,000 acres) of land near Croich, to enable a massive electric fence to be constructed to keep in the wolves, brown bears and lynx that are planned should he get the go-ahead.
Mr Fullerton-Smith’s wife Isla manages The Lodge on the estate.
The annual gathering of the MCofS will take place on Saturday 6 September at Glenmore Lodge, the national mountaineering centre. There will be an on-the-hill seminar for members by Graeme Garner, field ornithologist with the British Trust for Ornithology in Scotland. This should help walkers and climbers identify mountain birds.
The AGM starts at 4.30pm and will be followed by an open forum, Mr Fullteron-Smith’s talk and then a hog roast. If that doesn’t tempt mountaineers, there’s free camping and a free beer-tasting session put on by Cairngorm Brewery.
Proceedings wind up with a ceilidh.
Details are on the Mountaineering Council of Scotland website.