Estate workforces

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There are many statistics about sporting estates (Graham McLeod, Letters, 4 January), some more accurate than others.

One of the most recent is from the Value of Shooting report by Public and Corporate Economic Consultants, which puts the number of full-time equivalent jobs in shooting and stalking in Scotland at 8,800, and that is 
before any fishing-related emp­loyment is added in.

So the figures mentioned are actually underestimating the current position.

In areas such as the Angus Glens where Graham McLeod did his holiday work, there has been a big rise in employment over the past 15 years on the back of new investment in the grouse moors, a rough estimate of 250 per cent more than in the 1990s. This is not just directly employed keepers, but downstream trades have benefited such as builders, fencing and road contractors and the other trades which support them.

Then there are the hotels and accommodation providers, which have seen their autumn and winter trade increase because of the shooting parties – an example of a community that has benefited hugely is Edzell, near Brechin.

The employees who Mr McLeod says might have once
fitted into a minibus would now need a full-size bus to carry them around and that is due to private sector investment.

A new survey of that investment and its impact in Angus is about to start and will publish hard data later in the year.

Tim Baynes

Scottish Land & Estates Moorland Group

Musselburgh

Having lived most of my life in Glenprosen, I agree with Graham McLeod that 15 to 20 years ago the number of permanent employees, gamekeepers in particular, of the sporting estates around me might well have fitted into a minibus.

However, there has been massive investment since then in both infrastructure and employment. For example, at the head of Glenprosen itself, the new owner three years ago had increased the number of gamekeepers to five, from the two who were usual during the previous 50 years.

My neighbour is a latecomer; other grouse moor owners in Angus started this 20 years ago. His investment in new housing and other infrastructure is equally impressive, and matched elsewhere.

Donald Lewis (Letters, 3 January) can, no doubt, clarify his figures on numbers employed on sporting estates and their overall turnover, but my guess in Glenprosen is that both have now far overtaken my own holiday enterprises.

Hector Maclean

Kirriemuir

Angus