TAC 39 Index
MEMO FROM: Dietrich Schmidt [Deutsche Okologischeinstittut]
DATE: Sept 1998
REF: State of Scotland's mountains
It is now three years since I last visited your Scotland, and wrote to you asking when you, the people of Scotland, were going to wake up about what is going on in your mountains (TAC no.25). I have now returned, and am shocked at what I see.
For a start, everywhere I go I see the radiomasts on the hills, with bulldozed tracks leading up to them. You need to talk so much? And talking of tracks, I see new tracks going up into the corries of your Glen Lochy, and hear of a new 8-mile track up your Glen Lion where no track has ever been before, and shorter tracks here and there. And your hills are scarred all over with wheel marks, many to the very tops. And you are building brand new paths up into your Letterewe Forrest, while other paths are causing your mountains and your peat to be washed away.
And you are building fences, kilometres and kilometres of fences, on your Rannoch Moor, round your Loch Sgalaig, and I see plans for 13km of fences round the hills at Loch Lurgan. You are planting trees, some American spruce still and some which belong to Scotland (will they ever grow, are they natural everywhere?), and you are managing your land. Always you are managing your land. Before, that is why I come to Scotland, you had wild, unmanaged, undesigned land. Now no more. Europe is the loser.
And you burn your hills, for the grouse, you say. But have you not noticed that your burning is killing much of your heather? Are all your eyes shut? And you plan hydroelectricity (have you not enough already?), and mountain railways.
And I hear you talking of grand plans, of National Parks (it was a son of yours who invented National Parks), of reviews, of partnerships, of sustainable development..... All talk, no action. No protection, no conservation. Your country is disappearing under your very eyes.
TAC 39 Index