Highland shooting estate wins public battle over right of way on grounds

A Highland shooting estate has won a battle over public right of way on their grounds.

Cairngorms National Park Pitmain Estate shooting estate has won a battle over public right of way on their grounds in the Pitmain Estate. Picture: Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA)

The 12,000-acre Pitmain Estate, near Kingussie, had sparked anger by seeking permission to restrict access to part of the grounds within the Cairngorms National Park.

The estate asked Highland Council to back their proposals arguing it would increase the privacy of guests and help them maintain private lodges and accommodation for guests and staff.

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They said walkers and pony trekkers were disturbing guests and staff on the estate but said they would allow the public to use a new path to gain access to the surrounding area.

John Barton, from Drumguish, near Kingussie, author of a local walking guide, was a lone objector to the proposals and argued the public must not lose a right of way that was specified by Highland Council and the national park authority.

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He said woodlands surrounding much of Pitmain Lodge “already give considerable privacy to its occupants and the right of way was known when the estate was bought by the present owners.”

The dispute was called in by the Scottish Government and objections were heard at a series of hearings.

A government reporter was ordered to investigate and has now said the estate be allowed to change the pathway. The government have approved her recommendations.

Lawyers for the Pitmain Estate, who employ six full time and 20 seasonal staff, outlined their calls to be given the go-ahead to change the route in documents submitted to the hearings.

They said: “The order is a lawful, reasonable and proportionate response to a request by the estate to achieve the objectives of affording its guests accommodated in Gynack Lodge and

Pitmain Lodges privacy and provide a diverted route that is no less convenient or attractive to those members of the public using that route than the existing public path, therefore maintaining the spirit of the original right of way within the estate.”

Highland Council told the hearings they had no objections.

They added: “The council reaffirms its conclusion that the red route will provide an alternative convenient and attractive signposted route offering good views up and down stream and will avoid any discomfort as a consequence of walking close by Gynack Lodge, particularly early in the morning or in the evening.”