2012-08-09 / Regional News

For sale: land in Scotland a ‘peerage’ to boot

By CONSTANCE SCRAFIELD
Columnist


Planting trees on the Scottish highlands. Owning a piece of this property is now an opportunity to become a land owner and receive the title ‘Lord.’ 
Contributed photo Planting trees on the Scottish highlands. Owning a piece of this property is now an opportunity to become a land owner and receive the title ‘Lord.’ Contributed photo Picture this: you are standing on a patch of land, overlooking a broad sweep of the Scottish highlands, with a bonnie view of Lock Linnhe.

What is more, the land upon which you have planted your feet belongs to you.

It is an interesting concept and, at first blush, the publicity for this opportunity to own property in Scotland looks somewhat the same as the chance to own real estate on the moon.

Except that Scotland is on earth and the offer to purchase land is real.

It began here in Canada when Robert Paterson, owner of the British Isles Shoppe in Ajax, went on his annual trip to Glasgow for the British goods trade show.

While there, he met Professor Peter Bevis and his wife Laura, whose family estate in the highlands is Glencoe Wood. Some seven years ago, a developer built units of condominiums 10 miles to the south of their home and they recognized the dangers of creeping development coming to their own neighbourhood.

So they bought 500 acres to prevent the land being developed and began a campaign of purchasing more land to the point where they own 2,000 acres.

They conceived of the idea to sell this land off to hundreds of people, small patches at a time, to raise funds for further purchases.

In other words, a person may buy a plot of land from one to 1,000 square feet in this fabulous location, to own indefinitely. T he whole negotiation is accompanied by documentation and GPS coordinates.

The restrictive size of each purchase ensures that no one group or person will own enough to build or change the intention of conserving this valuable wild space.

It is home to “badger, pine marten, red deer, bank vole, wood mouse, stoat, fox, hedgehog and the rare Scottish crossbill, which has the distinction of being the only endemic vertebrate species in the U.K.”

The whole point is to preserve the land, plant more trees and offer sanctuary to the wildlife that live there.

Money from the sale of land also contributes to their other conservation property, their new Nature Reserve and Eagle Sanctuary based in Appin.

Each sale is for a specific plot of land, identified and charted by the documents the purchaser receives.

In addition, there is another perk, as it were, to owning land that is part of an estate in the U.K.: it entitles the owner to a title. So, with each plot of land sold comes the title of “Lord,” “Laird,” or “Lady.”

This means that you receive not only the documents proving proof of purchase, you also receive a Deed Poll changing your title from Mr. or Ms to Lord or Lady, absolutely.

Your driver’s licence, bank documents, credit cards and so forth can (and, perhaps, should ) all be changed to reflect your new status.

In a telephone interview, Lord Robert Paterson said, “I’m really having a lot of fun with this. Somehow, when I reserve a table at a restaurant as Lord Robert Paterson, I get a better table, or I they fit me in to play golf, all that.”

On a more serious note, he commented, “When I saw what it is all about when I met them in Glasgow, I was really intrigued. I talked to them and became the North American distributor for the project. The most important purchasers are Canadian and Australians. It’s so romantic – you can actually pitch a tent for a couple of days or just picnic on your own land. What they’re doing with planting trees and keeping the land safe from development is the most important.

“This is the perfect gift for someone who has everything – and they get to be Lords and Ladies as well.

So many Canadians are British and Scottish descent. Even if they were born here, that still really matters to them.”

Lord Robert has plans to put point-of-sale into all the British shops in Canada and the USA.

Presumably, you may be able to buy land in Scotland from Blighty’s sometime in the near future.

In the meantime, check out the website: www.scottishlands.com

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