Thursday, 20 June 2013

Down to the river.

Yesterday proved a little bit busy.

The phone rang non stop, visitors arrived, the blog stats hit just short of 100,000 true hits, Scottish ex pat communities from all over the globe have been reading and we thank you for your letters of support.
I was cheered by letters and phone calls from other Scottish secure tenants who empathise with us as they too have been dreadfully treated by their lairds and knew what we were going through. I also received communication from people who are on private water supplies and how their water, despite local authority 'treatment'; still affects their health and livelihood. Tenants rarely receive water notices but private houses do.

We also had a farm to run plus the added inconvenience of my accidental ingestion of raw water on Monday so running a slight temp but hopefully the anti emetics from my doctor will work.

I have a question:

The Scottish Government are aware of the difficulties our family are experiencing, why are they not answering my letters or stepping in to help us and others like ourselves?

Why do secure tenants want the right to buy our own farms? The answer is simple. We can do a better job ourselves rather than wait for a bad estate to fix their houses, mend or replace buildings, secure march fences, etc.
We are familiar with every aspect of our farms, the soil and how best to manage it, wildlife areas, drains, ditches.....and quite frankly, the estates do not have this familiarity and tend to trample over areas which are environmentally sensitive and leave us to pick up empty gun cartridges and screen waterways for lead shot.

How many people who attended the rather exclusive school where the water supply runs through our fields (yet they do not allow us water from their pipe) - how many old boys know that parts of their pipe are asbestos from circa 1930s? How many old boys suffer health problems as a result of drinking the raw water which came from an asbestos pipe?

The nearest public water supply is not far away so why does an entire community including two schools, two inns (both sadly closed down), elderly, children and visitors, why can we not have clean water? The community are charged full council water rates by the laird yet everyone pays the charges and buys in bottled water. Why do they not speak out.....?
The community water supply comes from the hills, gathers in a vile little tank then is fed to a larger tank which is treated by the estate. I would question the qualifications of a land agent who adds goodness knows what to the water but it has resulted in burned skin. Notices sometimes arrive to warn of Legionella and the water tank is not wind and water tight. Rats could easily get in.

Today is my birthday and I am away to the burn which runs through the farm, it is my solace and place of reflection. It is quiet and calm plus it is not the shooting season so I can sit for a while without my nerves becoming shattered.
The stone blocks are the remains of the little water wheel which used to supply the farm with electricity.

I assume that the Scot Gov's silence is due to the fact that they simply do not care for the ordinary Scot. They appear to me to be falling over themselves to assist the lairds, what with the huge windfarm subsidies and whatnot. Fuel poverty for the rest of us who have to pay extra on our bills to pay for those subsidies.

Our country needs strong leadership, it needs Independence, the ordinary people need help with so many different issues, the land must be shared out and tenant farmers must be given the right and the dignity to own their own house and farm.

Clean water, a warm, wind and watertight home, freedom from health anxieties, freedom to roam without fear. Not much to ask for, is it?


  1. No it's not, and I'm glad to hear that your blog is gaining in notoriety. Fingers crossed someone 'big' takes notice...

  2. I'm glad you are getting so much support...because you'll need all you can get to achieve any form of justice.

  3. I coordinate the collaborative independence blog Village Aunties:, and someone commented on our most recent blog post pointing us over here:

    If you would like to do a post on Village Aunties you'd be welcome to, to spread the word further.

    Also wondering who your constituency and list MSPs are and if you have contacted them directly, and if so how they have responded?

    I would also recommend, if you haven't already, get in touch with Andy Wightman: - and maybe also see if Bella Caledonia: will let you do a guest post - they are an independence blog with a much wider readership than Village Aunties. Let me know if there is anything else we can do to help.

  4. It is two years since I learned of your blog and difficulties, and it is very sad that your situation still has not changed. Xx


    I have made a comment (in moderation) with a link to your blog. Keep up the good fight.

  6. Many thanks to all of you for your comments and encouragement.

    lapogus, I have just read the article and am struck by the irony and fear of the landowners that there is a possibility of proper land reform, a review of the Ag Holdings Act plus certain landowners who make a poor job of managing estates ( bad as well as exemplary landowners out there); these landowners may well have to accept that a secure tenant who is given the absolute right to buy will most certainly make a better job of farmhouse, fixed equipment improvements and land management.

    The secure tenants have been paying for their own home/farm/ land management for generations and some have paid for their farms many times over yet are not free men or women.

    The existing system is outdated, whilst feudal and not indicative of a modern Scotland.

  7. Dear GO,
    It was good to speak with you and to hear in a bit more detail about some of the matters you raise on this website. I have also spoken with the estate and talked through the matters you have raised. It is clear there are two sides to these issues, but the estate are also very keen to move matters forward and reach a conclusion that is fair to both parties. We now have a meeting set up later this month where hopefully with all parties around the table we can make progress. Best regards Doug.

  8. Thank you for your phone call and our family look forward to the meeting with our MP and yourself at our farmhouse.
    We would be interested to hear the views by the estate and I would look forward to receiving a written copy of their interpretation of our situation, however, I must make it clear that the estate have not been invited to attend the meeting at the farmhouse at the end of this month.

    Our family will try to establish contact with the relevant estate person and meet with them on a different date.

  9. GentleOtter - my comment on the Herald op-ed never made it past moderation (probably because I used a pseudonym which they don't like). Just out of interest, did you contact Douglas McAdam or did he call you?

    Either way I hope you finally make some progress when you meet your MP and pressure can be brought on the estate to change their ways. It really is totally unacceptable that you have had to endure all this crap for the last 5-10 years (or has it been longer?). As I said in my Herald comment, your case is truly shocking and not something anyone would think possible in 21st Century Scotland, especially since the Scottish Government was supposed to have finally got rid of feudalism about 10 years ago. (or did I just dream that?)

  10. Hello. Hope you are doing okay. Just to let you know my contact got in touch. Hope they got through. x