An area of our land was taken. Three areas actually.
This land was taken from us for 'sporting' purposes. No notice was given in writing, but the then factor visited my husband to inform him that the areas to be resumed were merely in the pipeline and if they were resumed, other land would be given to my husband as a means of compensation or a reduction in rent.
Nothing was signed, the then factor promptly left the estate and it was quite some time before a new factor took the post.
A fence went up one day in our best field. No notice, no knock on the door to say it was happening, nothing.
The land was simply taken.(2003)
An objection was raised (by our family), letters written, new factor informed etc. A lawyer wrote to ask about this 'resumption'. We continued to pay rent for this area. Still do to this day.
This 'game strip' is a full two acres. Not much you may think but it is a lot if you farm a fairly modest size farm, arable acreage of less than 100 acres. It cuts down the percentage of your grain crop, given that this was our best field for growing grain. It made it tight for turning the combine.
The grain was infested by pheasants. One gamekeeper from another estate estimated some 600+ pheasants in our field one day. In the non resumed side.
We continued to ask the estate to clarify re the land taken, we asked for written evidence of an agreement, we asked if they were going to compensate us.
They ignored our letters consistently. If we phoned, they were in 'meetings'.
In November of last year, we managed to resume a small area of resumed land back. It had been fenced off by the estate, a half assed crop planted in it for pheasant cover which was then left to become overgrown by dockens, the seeds of which blew into our other grain crop and contaminated the yield.
Today, we learn that the 2 acre strip resumed without paperwork is actually a much larger area than we realised which has not been resumed but 'fenced off (at considerable expense to the estate!) to stand guns during a shoot'.
I note that sheep are unable to graze in the fenced off area. which we pay full rent for.
Now, this is the bit that gets me.
The estate ignored our letters and phone calls. They were always very slow to reply to others acting in a professional capacity.
Today, we discover that not only do they claim that my husband 'must have thought it of little value' and that they can find 'little evidence of written correspondence' from my husband so therefore
"UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES, MR ******* IS PERSONALLY BARRED FROM OBJECTING TO WHAT HAS HAPPENED"
This, from an entitled, arrogant, junior member of the estate.
Our family have farmed this ground for 125 years.
Patronising and disingenuous do not even cover it.
21st Century Scotland, people. Where land grab is the order of the day and freedom of speech is forbidden.
21st Century Scotland where people are still expected to live in hovels, ingest foul water and keep quiet about it.
21st Century Scotland, the playground of the select few on land which is closed to the majority.
Mr ********, the farmer, may be personally barred from objecting about what has happened. Mrs ******* will have no hesitation speaking on her husband's behalf.
Unless someone from the Scottish government is willing to assist me?
I don't care whether they are SNP, Labour, Tory, Green, Independent or a penguin.
We need land reform urgently to stop this feudal high handedness in it's tracks and support for the tenant farmers who are enduring hellish tricks by unscrupulous landowners.
Mr Salmond, STOP ignoring this.
I invite you here, Mr Salmond, to our farm, to see this for yourself.
Just yourself, Mr Salmond, our family and your aides.
Fellow tenant farmers, land reform campaigners are welcome too.
The estate are not invited.