Gordon Watson: 'delighted with the decision'. Photo: Nick McGowan-Lowe

Gordon Watson: 'delighted with the decision'. Photo: Nick McGowan-Lowe

A national park authority has won a legal appeal against an estate that blocked access to the area.

Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Authority successfully appealed against a ruling in favour of the owners of Drumlean Estate near Loch Ard.

The decision found in favour of the park authority’s argument that the owners of Drumlean Estate within the national park were blocking members of the public from enjoying access rights granted by the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003.

As a result, park bosses said the owners will now need to take steps to comply with an enforcement notice issued by the authority in 2013.

Loch Lomond and the Trossachs chief executive Gordon Watson said: “The national park authority has a duty to uphold the right to responsible access granted to the public by the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 so we are delighted with this decision.

“We took legal action against the estate in 2013 following complaints from members of the public that access to an area between Ben Venue and Loch Ard was being blocked by locked high gates and prohibitive signage and after repeated attempts by us to resolve the issue with the owners directly.

“The initial judgement in 2015 found against the park authority and held that there had not been a breach of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003. The park authority immediately lodged an appeal against that decision which, if it had been allowed to stand, would have undermined the legislation and set an unhelpful legal precedent for access rights in Scotland.

“The vast majority of landowners within the national park from small land holdings to large estates, respect the provisions and responsibilities that come with the Land Reform Act and work positively with ourselves and partners. Being able to enjoy wide-ranging access to the outdoors has a positive impact on people’s health and wellbeing as well as on the economies of local communities within the national park.

“It has been a long road to get to this point but we are delighted with this decision for the clarification it provides to other access authorities but most importantly for the public who can continue to enjoy their access rights within this area of the national park.”

The Loch Lomond and the Trossachs authority has itself recently faced criticism from outdoors campaigners who said its newly introduced bylaws restricting wild camping along certain loch shorelines are themselves undermining the provisions of the rights enshrined in the Land Reform Act.

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