Monday, 7 November 2011


It would be best if I did not write too much regarding the issue of the land which has been damaged as it is now being 'dealt with'. I will update once a satisfactory resolution has been realised.

That said, I will issue a warning to anyone who may wish to wander about in the field - beware of the bull. Beware of the massive, unpredictable Limousin.
He is red, not far off a ton, sturdy, possibly slightly mental. The bovine equivalent to a brick outhouse but fast.

Talking of bull and matters bovine but not fast, I received a reply from Richard Lochhead.

It would appear that many of you who took the time to write to him also received the standard reply, one or two paragraphs appearing verbatim in the Scottish Farmer so little effort for originality there, Richard.

My concern was; What do you do if you are either unable to qualify for legal aid (eg if you fall just within the remit) but are unable to meet the massive costs of the Land Court.
A case can easily cost over £200,000 and the insurance covers £50,000 so bit of a gap inbetween.

The reply offered nothing that new - approach the various farming unions, associations or approach RSABI, a support charity dedicated to 'the relief of hardship and poverty amongst people who have depended for their livelihoods on the land'.

Rather than copy the entire letter out, here is the abridged version.

Dear GentleOtter,

Talk to the hand, mendicant.

Yours sincerely

Richard Lochhead

I would offer back the suggestion that he gets on down and dirty with the farmers at the next roup. You know, put on a pair of government issue wellies and lean on a gate with other farmers before said gate gets sold to the highest bidder.
I would have said come down to grass roots level but that is a sore point for us just now - lumps of our pasture stuck to a 4x4 somewhere else.

Talk to and spend a day working with the shepherds who have to faff around eartagging thousands of wild, horned hill sheep, usually in the rain.
Come and help attempt to dry a soaking wet pile of grain if the farmer has been lucky enough to get the crop in or stand beside the farmer who has just had his crop rejected and choose that moment to spout some spin. I dare you. I will even offer a free "risk assessment".

Mr L, spend the day with tenant farmers who are facing daily adversity with lawless landowners, those people who wish the right to buy their own farms after working them for generations, those who do not have a farm but want to rent somewhere to work the land and not be ripped off before/during/after five years and there is an *awful lot* of land out there asking to be worked and freed....

Thought not.

Aye, keep those wellies clean. They might fit someone else.


  1. My letter was from Fiona Leslie but from what you say, it is probably the same letter as everyone else. Love the last paragraph:
    "You may also find it helpful to know that the Scottish Government intends to appoint a Land
    Reform Review Group during the course of 2012 and has committed to reviewing the
    effectiveness of Agricultural Holdings legislation in the near future. The Scottish
    Government has yet to consider the remit of these reviews."

    Abridged version: don't expect change in your lifetime...

  2. My letter was also from Fiona Leslie, and from you have written, yes, I would agree with Sarah that it is probably the same letter or a copy thereof,
    nothing new in any of it, could have been conceived by a child, no news there then!

    Top and the bottom of it is that tenants don't matter, unless of course it is rent day!
    Tenants are ten a penny, out with old and in with gullible, the young hopefuls, who in desperation sign the lease before they read the small print.

    HOPE being the operative word.