Readers' letters: Where is the demand to buy strips of land?

Brian Wilson salivates over the idea that lots of fellow Scots would, perchance, be able to own a slice of land (Scotsman, 20 January). For what? What is it that would be done with the land that is any different to what the current landowners already do?

Us ramblers have a ‘right to roam’ already and go wherever we want, whenever we want, to all intents and purposes. A change of ownership is not going to improve that roaming experience. Far from it: the only reasons that more Scots owning land would have would be ‘development’, which means building. What would you build? Where? Why? Holiday homes in inaccessible places? They are too expensive to build and maintain and there really is no demand.

You need large acreages to make any use of carbon storage, forestry, windfarms and solar farms. And let’s face it, those landowners that have held land through the centuries that are now putting these environmental and sustainable renewable energy projects on it, have held land that has been, until the 1990s, worth very little indeed – there was nothing you could do with the land but grow a few trees, fatten a few sheep or listen to the noises of young Brian Wilson grouse!

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

As they are, the vast acreages of Scotland offer the beauty and tranquility to anyone. And if you want it badly enough, there is always a market price. Land does not have to be ‘on the market’ to make an offer. Even the wealthiest Scottish landowners owning land won by their fellow clansmen in brutal tribal conflict will sell out if the price is right!

Would lots of Scots really like to own a slice of land in the Highlands? (Picture: lots of Scots really like to own a slice of land in the Highlands? (Picture:
Would lots of Scots really like to own a slice of land in the Highlands? (Picture:

Time for Brian Wilson to understand capitalism and that everything is available for sale to everyone by those who have it… at the right price. Have a look at the way Sir James Dyson has procured vast acreages for economies of scale in his farming – he simply offered his neighbours prices for their land that the neighbours were prepared to sell at. In Scotland, Brian Wilson really needs to think through why on Earth anyone would want it.

Francis RC Salvesen, Haddington, East Lothian

Deletion scandal

Your articles about the deletion of WhatsApps by Nicola Sturgeon, John Swinney and Jason Leitch (Scotsman, 20 January) reveal a scenario which defies belief. Like many viewers, I have seen Nicola Sturgeon giving assurances to a reporter that she could guarantee to bereaved families that she would disclose all her messages and now we find that not just some, but all her messages have been deleted. The same applies to others involved at top level in the SNP government at Holyrood.

I was extremely dubious throughout the Covid pandemic because I saw Nicola Sturgeon’s daily travel from Glasgow to Edinburgh, when the rest of us were forbidden to make similar journeys, as wholly unnecessary and, essentially, a joy-ride. Ms Sturgeon made maximum use of her daily pronouncements, which could have been conducted by Jason Leitch, making each into a daily party political broadcast and netting millions of pounds of free television advertising for many, many months. Other parties had no right of reply, which is a one-party state situation.

When such evidence is put before any neutral body, the suspicion that we are not being told what was going on behind the scenes becomes a matter of great concern. The deletion of all Nicola Sturgeon’s records and those of her team can only make one ask why this was done.

Peter Hopkins, Edinburgh

Recover messages

Congratulations on Saturday’s front page article: “Control, fault, delete”. It sums up, exactly, Nicola Sturgeon’s and her administration’s attempts to evade public scrutiny of how and when they made decisions about the management of Covid in Scotland.

But WhatsApp messages can be recovered – I’ve just checked online to make sure of this. So, the burning question is: when can we all look forward to reading the deleted WhatsApp messages?

Lovine Roe, Perth

Rhymes with fire...

It is rumoured that the police and fire brigade are investigating recent incidents, involving the sudden unexplained bursting into flames of underwear worn by certain unnamed MSPs, occurring over the last few months.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Arson has been ruled out. No modus operandi has yet been established, but it seems that the incidents have two things in common. Public assertions were being made by a politician at the time and the politicians apparently hold or formerly held high office in the government. It is unlikely that the culprit will be caught in flagrante dipanto, but it is hoped that public accountability will prevail.

Meanwhile, underwear manufacturers are taking legal advice upon whether their labels should state: “To avoid spontaneous combustion anyone wearing this garment should not be economical with the truth.”

Fraser MacGregor, Edinburgh

Whisky heritage

I read with dismay Alison Campsie’s report on turning the excellent Dallas Dhu distillery museum into just another of the 50 or so Speyside distilleries (Scotsman, 17 January).

Historic Environment Scotland describes the museum as “an extremely rare example of a complete original whisky distillery”. To return it to production would necessitate extensive modernisation within A-listed buildings and traditional fixtures would require to be replaced.

HES, with public money, restored Dallas Dhu to be, in its words, an “exceptional tangible reminder of the historical development of Scotland’s most important industries”, and “as a perfectly preserved time capsule of the distillers’ art”.

We owe it to our children to learn and experience the development of “our most iconic industry”.

Neil Anderson, Edinburgh

Write to The Scotsman

We welcome your thoughts – NO letters submitted elsewhere, please. Write to [email protected] including name, address and phone number – we won't print full details. Keep letters under 300 words, with no attachments, and avoid 'Letters to the Editor/Readers’ Letters' or similar in your subject line – be specific. If referring to an article, include date, page number and heading.



Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.