With lambing fast approaching the past week has been spent getting fertiliser on parks and preparing sheds in case of bad weather for the expectant ladies. The ewes carrying twins and triplets receive concentrate feed and the singles on the hill get energy blocks. Your day soon disappears before they are fed and checked that all is well.
My attention was broken from imminent arrival of lambs after receiving a letter on Tuesday from the RSPB.
I took to social media to post the 7:84 production of The Cheviot, The Stag and The Black Black Oil in response to the letter . I can remember being shown a video of this play as part of my Standard Grade English Course. A powerful and thought provoking experience that left a lasting impression.
Although this production was made over forty years ago, the points which it made, are as revenant to the Highlands today as they were when this play originally toured village halls in the seventies. The ‘rewilding’ lobbyists, RSPB, John Muir Trust (JMT) along SNH could very easily be the next chapter in this play.
Gauging by the letter from the RSPB, they now seem to place themselves on a similar footing to the Government’s official consultants, SNH. I was informed that they would be carrying out survey work over Armadale in collaboration with SNH. When I rang SNH office the lady I spoke to was not aware of the letter that had been sent out on their name. She did say that work was sometimes ‘contracted out’ to the RSPB but they were calling this work a ‘collaboration’.
This maybe only a play on words but for me this is the thin end of the wedge.
The Highlands and especially Sutherland is currently undergoing some major changes in land ownership.
I have good working relationships with many estate owners and admire their commitment to investing in their land and keeping the lights on in Sutherland’s glens. The money that is generated by the fishing and shooting parties are vital to local shops and the wider community. Equally important are the sheep flocks that still graze the hills. My Grandparents all worked on estates as keepers, handymen and staff in the lodges. So I do understand the system. Unfortunately, in my opinion, those with the deepest pockets and the loudest voices are being listened to rather than those that conduct their business in a more reserved manner.
As a local community we showed our support last year for the proposed Strathy South wind farm. We felt that we had to stand up and be counted for what we believe is the way forward for our crofting township. We have grown tired of listening to the self satisfied arguments of the objectors from the RSPB, JMT, Wild Land Limited (WLL), SNH and Highland Council.
We were branded by a planning representative for the JMT and WLL as opportunistic. WLL is run by a Danish billionaire, Anders Holch Povlsen, keen on buying up country estates in the Highlands in order to fulfil his ‘philosphy’ of creating a wilderness. The pot calling the kettle black?
Unfortunately, those with the deepest pockets and the loudest voices are being listened to rather than those that conduct their business in a more reserved manner. These organisations and men are haled in some quarters as the new visionaries for the Highlands. Patrick Sellar eat your heart out.