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Highland cows threatened with eviction by Suffolk business man

fwd | 22.08.2003 22:06 | Ecology | Free Spaces | Repression

The Kinlochroag Highland Fold and their owner and breeder, Finlay Macdonald, are under threat. This famous Fold of Highland Cattle that feature in are fit and healthy and an asset to the rough moorland they inhabit. But due to the ancient nightmare that has plagued Scotland there is a chance that some of the fold may have to be dispersed. In some cases this may not be possible, the alternative for those gentle highlanders is too horrendous to contemplate.

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Amazing what comes out in the wash!
Amazing what comes out in the wash!

Finlay Macdonald's family have openly and peaceably been grazing livestock on an area of the 16,000 acre Morsgail Estate for Eighty Years. Now due to the aggressive demands of the current owner, a Suffolk businessman who bought the estate twenty years ago, the open-ness and peace has ended and legal action looms.

He regards himself as a conservationist, but conservation at Morsgail comes in the form of neglect. The original listed building managed to burn down under his care and was replaced with a large modern house.

However it is the recent move to elicit a grazing contract from Finlay that has led to the threat to Finlay's fold of highland cattle and his sheep.

The Suffolk Laird despite his claims of being a 'decent chap' has already employed a firm of very expensive solicitors and raised an action in the Court of Session in Edinburgh. The cost of this could be born by Finlay should the case go against him, which is a huge threat in itself.

Taking out an advert in the local paper this Suffolk Laird claims to want Finlay to have free grazing but the 'licences' he offered included a "right of pre- emption" over Finlay's own land. In other words, had Finlay signed the licence, the Laird could (after a year) put Finlay off the land. If that forced Finlay into selling his own land, he would then have to give the Laird first refusal.

There is a rumour that approximately 9 acres of land have been registered by the Laird as an "agricultural holding" entitled Kinlochroag, coincidentally the same name as an old house on Finlay's land, which also happens to be an agricultural holding and is 9 acres?

Finlay's solicitors advised against signing away his rights. Eventually after a slightly amended agreement which was equally unjust Finlay was given two weeks notice to remove his animals from the land. When he didn't comply he was issued with a summons to attend the Court of Session in Edinburgh. There has not yet been a hearing.

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