Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Look me straight in the eye and tell me this is not feudal

An area of our land was taken. Three areas actually.

This land was taken from us for 'sporting' purposes. No notice was given in writing, but the then factor visited my husband to inform him that the areas to be resumed were merely in the pipeline and if they were resumed, other land would be given to my husband as a means of compensation or a reduction in rent.

Nothing was signed, the then factor promptly left the estate and it was quite some time before a new factor took the post.

A fence went up one day in our best field. No notice, no knock on the door to say it was happening, nothing.

The land was simply taken.(2003)

An objection was raised (by our family), letters written, new factor informed etc. A lawyer wrote to ask about this 'resumption'. We continued to pay rent for this area. Still do to this day.

This 'game strip' is a full two acres. Not much you may think but it is a lot if you farm a fairly modest size farm, arable acreage of less than 100 acres. It cuts down the percentage of your grain crop, given that this was our best field for growing grain. It made it tight for turning the combine.
The grain was infested by pheasants. One gamekeeper from another estate estimated some 600+ pheasants in our field one day. In the non resumed side.

We continued to ask the estate to clarify re the land taken, we asked for written evidence of an agreement, we asked if they were going to compensate us.

They ignored our letters consistently. If we phoned, they were in 'meetings'.

In November of last year, we managed to resume a small area of resumed land back. It had been fenced off by the estate, a half assed crop planted in it for pheasant cover which was then left to become overgrown by dockens, the seeds of which blew into our other grain crop and contaminated the yield.

Today, we learn that the 2 acre strip resumed without paperwork is actually a much larger area than we realised which has not been resumed but 'fenced off (at considerable expense to the estate!) to stand guns during a shoot'.
I note that sheep are unable to graze in the fenced off area. which we pay full rent for.

Now, this is the bit that gets me.

The estate ignored our letters and phone calls. They were always very slow to reply to others acting in a professional capacity.

Today, we discover that not only do they claim that my husband 'must have thought it of little value' and that they can find 'little evidence of written correspondence' from my husband so therefore


This, from an entitled, arrogant, junior member of the estate.
Our family have farmed this ground for 125 years.

Patronising and disingenuous do not even cover it.

21st Century Scotland, people. Where land grab is the order of the day and freedom of speech is forbidden.
21st Century Scotland where people are still expected to live in hovels, ingest foul water and keep quiet about it.
21st Century Scotland, the playground of the select few on land which is closed to the majority.

Mr ********, the farmer, may be personally barred from objecting about what has happened. Mrs ******* will have no hesitation speaking on her husband's behalf.

Unless someone from the Scottish government is willing to assist me?
I don't care whether they are SNP, Labour, Tory, Green, Independent or a penguin.

We need land reform urgently to stop this feudal high handedness in it's tracks and support for the tenant farmers who are enduring hellish tricks by unscrupulous landowners.

Mr Salmond, STOP ignoring this.

I invite you here, Mr Salmond, to our farm, to see this for yourself.
Just yourself, Mr Salmond, our family and your aides.

Fellow tenant farmers, land reform campaigners are welcome too.

The estate are not invited.


  1. You can bet your bottom dollar that Salmy is in cahoots with the estate. They probably went to school together.

    Outrage doesn't cover it.

  2. This is not the Scotland I want to see, Sarah.

    There is an awful lot to sort out before the country goes to vote in 2014.

  3. Your only chance is to get Murdoch's papers on side...slimy Salmy will certainly run to do his master's bidding...

  4. This is the problem, so much sleaze and covert information from less than decent individuals.
    So much has been hidden or ignored that situations like ours are lost in the mire.

    It is time for clarity and honesty, especially regarding land issues.

  5. Do you have records of your letters and phone calls? Preferably "signed for" letters, so you have proof they received it, but at least your own copies of what was sent? A written record of when you called, possibly backed up by phone bills? Or any sort of record at all that you can put together? Obviously records won't stop entitled people from issuing unilateral statements, but if you do (hopefully!) get someone to listen, it would illustrate not only neglectful and unfair behaviour, but straight out lying on the part of the estate, and being caught in one lie tends to rather cast doubt on other assertions...

  6. Yes I have kept records and sent copies of the records to several other trusted parties over the years.

  7. Does not suprise me one bit!! Is this the sort of Scotland people want!

    We all need to do something about the greedy rich who take full advantage of the people who don't have the money to fight back.

    I will be posting this on my website!!

  8. I often wonder whatever happened to that little used excerpt from the acts concerning the rules of bad estate management,
    if anyone deserves a medal / reminder of it, it is surely your estate / factors,

    I have posted this on twitter and facebook,
    I am once again appalled by the manner in which your estate treats you and Mr. Farmer.
    These people should be made to forfeit all that they own.

  9. Thank you.

    Alastair, the majority of the population of Scotland are prevented from populating the rural areas due to the land being owned by so few landowners.
    How many city children would make excellent farmers and how few Scots can own their own homes with some ground due to the hugely inflated price the ground now costs.

    Our situation is familiar to many tenant farmers as they have the experience of being treated shamefully by wealthy, indifferent landowners. In this instance, Scotland is stuck in a historical rut, land prices are now the new sheep which cleared communities off the land.

    At Home In Wellies, - Yes, nobody ever hears of that little used excerpt regarding badly run estates. I would have greater respect for our parliament if they did 'pull rank' and forfeit land from bad landowners.

    Thank you for retweeting and facebook posting. This blog entry has received more hits than any other and I am amazed at the interest and response.

    It is heartening to know that decent people are shocked by this blatant land grabbing happening in Scotland by people who think they are above the law and above others.

    I will remind them that we are all Jock Tamson's bairns and equal.

  10. Furthermore, while I'm on the subject, the estate representatives are 9/10ths behind the poisonous letters, the harassment, the absence of replies and damage to tenant/ landlord relationship.

    Long gone are the days of semi decent talks with a factor who knew the farmer, now it is some snottery nosed wee nyaff who has been given a desk and allowed to hold a pen. The power goes to their heads and next thing, they start to channel Patrick Sellar.

    They cowardly say in email what they would never be brave enough to say to your face.

    The damage that they do is immense and these are the ones who ought to be brought sharply into line first.