The omens for Scotland’s fledgling right-to-roam law look bleak as another legal judgement looks set to allow a millionaire to kick walkers off his land.
Wild camping: the right is enshrined in Scotland's access law
A sheriff sitting in Sterling said he intended to ‘pick up a pen and draw a line on a map’ to mark out his ruling in a case brought by waste-disposal magnate Euan Snowie. Mr Snowie wants to exclude the public from his 40-acre estate at Kippen in Stirlingshire.
Ramblers reacted by saying the Scottish Government must now issue clarification to what it describes as one of the most radical and progressive pieces of legislation passed by the Scottish Parliament. Rural affairs secretary Richard Lochhead has pledged to look at how the Land Reform (Scotland) Act is working next year.
Sheriff Andrew Cubie announced he would issue a written judgement on the Kippen case as soon as possible. He said he would not be bound by June’s victory by Stagecoach bus millionaire Ann Gloag in gaining exclusion of part of her Kinfauns, Perthshire, estate from the provisions of the act. He said, however, that it was ‘a starting point’.
Euan Snowie bought the Kippen estate in 2001 and subsequently chained shut the gates to the grounds. Much of his fortune was made by his company’s contracts in the disposal of animal carcases during the foot-and-mouth disease epidemic of that year.
Ramblers’ Association Scotland director Dave Morris and president Dennis Canavan met Mr Lochhead to discuss the crisis in land access. Mr Morris believes the loopholes that have allowed landowners to use the courts to exclude walkers, runners and cyclists from land can be closed by ministers without the need for further full legislation.
Millionaire Paul Lister recently announced his intention to close 23,000 acres of his Highland estate near Croich, Wester Ross, to allow the release of wolves and lynxes.