Ramblers go to court over access to Highland land

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Ramblers Scotland has embarked on a major court battle against a landowner’s attempts to permanently cut off a scenic route through a West Highland estate.

Faced with legal costs of up to £82,000 in its fight to save its way from Glenborrodale to Acharacle, the charity launched a Crowdfunder today at www.ramblers.org.uk/glenborrodale to support its work in this and other legal cases.

The road is on the Ardnamurchan peninsula and offers stunning views of Loch Sunart. It is invaluable to the local community and as a strategic long-distance route.

In 2019, two Ramblers reportedly made aggravated trespassing while peacefully walking on the same road close to their home in Glenborrodale.

Last week, a sheriff’s court granted Ramblers Scotland permission to join Highland Council, opposing Woodland Renewables’ proposal to use section 28 of the 2003 Land Reform (Scotland) Act to remove their access rights from the affected portion of Ardnamurchan Estate.

Brendan Paddy, Ramblers Scotland director, said: ‘We always see legal action as a last resort. In fact, we haven’t had this type of access lawsuit in over a decade, especially since legal action can be very costly.

‘However, this is a groundbreaking civil case with a historic and important track. If we don’t fight to save the route, it will be a major blow to our hard-earned access rights and hikers will be permanently barred from parts of this beautiful trail.

‘I hope nature lovers will consider donating to support our work and deliver a resounding message that people in Scotland believe our access rights are worth fighting for.’

In addition to opposing article 28 enforcement, Highland Council seeks to prove that a road through the affected area of ​​the property is a Right of Way. This route has been used by generations of hikers before the area was soon developed as a woodland with the understanding that access rights would be protected.

All parties will be in the online court for the next hearing on February 2, 2022.

This lawsuit follows several complaints about locked doors on the site in recent years.

After being interviewed and a report sent to the treasury’s office, no further action was ultimately taken against the two local hikers reported for alleged aggravated trespassing – though Ramblers Scotland described the case as “unprecedented and alarming”.

Ramblers Scotland has a grassroots network of 54 local groups and runs 3500 group marches per year, all led and organized by 1200 volunteers.

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