Hundreds in US town gifted with ‘free titles’ in Scottish Highlands

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Residents of the rural town of Scotland in the US State of Connecticut are set to be granted ‘land titles’ in Glen Coe.

The controversial firm Highland Titles said that it was gifting all 1,694 residents of the American town with one square foot of land each on its nature reserve in Scotland’s Glen Coe Wood, Scotland.

Hundreds of Americans will be offered a free plot of land in Scotland's Glencoe Wood. Picture: Wade Dunstan

Hundreds of Americans will be offered a free plot of land in Scotland's Glencoe Wood. Picture: Wade Dunstan

The hundreds of residents will all get courtesy ‘titles’ of Lord or Lady of Glen Coe.

They will also receive instructions on how to visit their plots.

Dan Syme, first selectman of the American town said: “Scotland, Connecticut was settled in 1700 by Scotsman Isaac Magoon and was named after his ancestral home.

“We are delighted with this generous gift.”

It’s a ridiculous concept.

Laird of Sketraw in Aberdeenshire, 2012

Previous controversy

Highland Titles purports to sell forest land ranging from one square foot to 1,000 square feet to avoid the stretches of the wood from being developed. It admits however, that Glen Coe Wood is not on their land.

They claims land owners have to call Glencoe Village Hall to claim their free plots.

The Channel Islands based company, offers plots of land measuring a square foot on a 750-acre area known as the Keil estate, and tells buyers that owning the land allows them to adopt the title Laird, Lord or Lady of Glen Coe.

But it has received sharp criticism in the past that the titles offered are meaningless.

Highland Titles maintain purchasers have a “legal” right to call themselves laird or lady though they are buying only a tiny plot of ground. They also sell Highland clothing made up in the “Glen Coe tartan”.

‘Ridiculous concept’

In 2012 aristocrats and local residents banded together to denounce the scheme. John Duncan, the Laird of Sketraw in Aberdeenshire, said at the time: “It completely belittles Scotland and makes us look absolutely ridiculous.

“It makes a mockery of ancient feudal titles. You cannot have more than one laird of an estate, yet people buy a windowbox and think they can call themselves a lord or a lady. It’s a ridiculous concept.”

Highland Titles had two complaints against them upheld by the Advertising Standards Authority in 2014 and 2015.

The company says: “the gift is all about land conservation.

“[the plots] help fund the rescuing of woodlands, tree planting, maintenance and acquisition of land at risk of development–ensuring it cannot be purchased or developed.”

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