There is considerable debate surrounding the upcoming Land Reform legislation. May I make a suggestion as to how we might move forward?
I note that the National Trust for Scotland currently owns 46 Munros and 424km of footpaths. This makes them a significant landowner but, in respect of these particular properties, probably a rather reluctant one, at least from a financial standpoint, and I suspect they might be willing to release them to communities.
Should we perhaps put them into a trust where the trustees would be Andy Wightman and Lesley Riddoch? The two trustees would be made personally liable for the financial affairs of the Trust but would be encouraged to bring in local communities to help them run the trust and share in the liabilities. I would suggest that Andy and Lesley might not be trampled in the rush!
This would not only reduce the concentration of landowning in Scotland but probably release some of the inevitable stress from which NTS must sometimes suffer. Most of all it would give Andy and Lesley what they have longed for: community ownership and at the same time make them face the financial challenges encountered by all landowners owning significant tracts of unproductive land.