The Angry Corrie 7: May-June 1992
Opinions... Whose land is it anyway?
This is a plea for a change of emphasis for TAC. I know we all enjoy a spot of Bagger-Baiting, but isn't it time for a change? After all, we've nearly done them to death in only a few issues, and it's really not nice to mock the afflicted. Their (relatively) harmless antics are as nothing next to those of the real obstacles in the hill scene: landowners. Has the time come for TAC to turn its energies to tackling this, the biggest potential threat to our continuing enjoyment of the hills?
What gives a man the right to keep the rest of us off vast areas of wild open land just because he has a fatter wallet? (Or a woman - see p4 for proprietorial rantings by the so-called "Duchess of Roxburghe" - Ed.) This situation, redolent of the whole problem that Britain has with its closed, secretive "Establishment" elite dictating to the rest of us, does not seem to be tolerated in much of the rest of the civilised world. Why is it here? (There are, of course, some very reasonable landowners, but they are the exception I suspect.)
Living in the Highlands makes me realise that on a wider view it's not just the hill-goer who suffers. Many of the current ills of the Highlands are neatly summed up in the old saying:
"They locked poor Willy for stealing fish from the river,
But they did nothing to the (expletive deleted) who first stole the river from Willy."
The philosophy that led to the Clearances and the reduction of large areas of the Highlands to little more than rich men's playthings is still with us. Give local control back to the local people (a good Europeanist sentiment), and they will start to make things flourish once more here.
So, may I echo recent Opinions by Hamish Brown (TAC4) and Dave McFadzean (TAC5)? Let's avoid tilting at windmills in TAC and elsewhere when the real army of landowners is continuing its relentless advance. If all the feeling, anger and commitment unearthed by TAC could be channelled into a decent, civilised fight for justice on the hills, that would be a fine thing indeed.