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Problems facing Scotland's tenant farmers.

by GentleOtter (writer), Perthshire, Scotland, November 18, 2011

Credit: GentleOtter
Old barn roof shortly before it collapsed.

My articles are an illustration of what life is really like for a Scottish tenant farming family who are suffering feudal oppression in 2011.

FRIDAY, 18 NOVEMBER 2011Nobody mentioned eff for feudal ....

Imagine if you had a landowner who came in and took your ground. Just took it, never thought to mention it, continued to charge you rent for it, did not compensate you for it, ignored you, prevented you from accessing your land which you pay full rent. Good land. In fact, the best land.

Imagine too that in order to recompense your loss in income through crop yield becoming reduced, you want to diversify in another area but this is also 'out of bounds' and you only discovered this a few days ago, much to your astonishment.
If you were successful with your plans to diversify, you would have to pay the landowner a percentage of your income. You do the work, you make the investment, landowner gets the money *if* you get his permission to diversify in the first place. I may have mentioned this before but lest we forget.
Lest we forget to doff cap.

Now imagine, and I know this is a far stretch of the imagination, but just imagine they did this *because they can*!

Imagine too, that because of an 'agreement' written in the late Nineteenth century, you and the generations who follow you are still bound to this agreement, regardless of social change, human rights or progress.

Cures for disease may have evolved, men may have been to the moon, women may get the vote and equal pay, tolerance and equality begin to surface but somewhere in a little part of the world, there is a time warp .

And here is the best bit.

Imagine the same agreement states that "yearly and free of charge five days work of any kind by one pair of horses and one man by suitable carts to the aforementioned Station (said station was closed during the Beeching cuts but what the heck)...." and you are legally bound to such a demand in 2011 !

Imagine that this is not the rule of some wayward despot in a far away country but closer to home......uncomfortably closer to home.

This is a brief snapshot of the almost daily struggle we face with our landowner or 'laird' in 21st Century Scotland.

The Clearances never did leave, these are Clearances by stealth but this time the land is wanted for other purposes, probably real estate rather than the rearing of sheep.

Same issues, different century.

Just saying.



About the Writer

GentleOtter is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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3 comments on Problems facing Scotland's tenant farmers.

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By DavidBennett on November 19, 2011 at 11:09 am

I wonder, are you a tenant farmer in the Highlands?

If so, I would be interested to hear more on the subject of being a tenant farmer in Scotland.

We are just packing to move to Edinburgh and reading this reminds me of a book that a friend recommended to me some months ago

'The Poor Had No Lawyers: Who Owns Scotland And How They Got It' by Andy Wightman.

I saw it for sale in Waterstones the last time we were in Edinburgh and it looked densely written.

But I feel obligated to educate myself about the place I am moving to, so it is on my reading list.

David

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By DavidBennett on November 19, 2011 at 11:17 am

Just followed your link through to http://gentleotterblog.blogspot.com/

All is clear now.

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By GentleOtter on November 19, 2011 at 11:38 am

Hello David and thank you for your comment.

Yes, I would highly recommend reading Andy Wightman's books especially "The Poor Had No Lawyers". It makes for very harrowing reading but is an excellent book which illustrates the truth about tenant farming in Scotland, then and now.

If you were coming into farming as a new entrant, I believe it would be fairly difficult to find a farm as few are being let by landowners plus I would closely study the law on Short Duration Tenancies.

Our advice for you is -don't do it. It will cost a fortune for little return, problems at way-go, always employing an Agricultural Lawyer....I could go on and I have not mentioned the factors!

Please read Andy Wightman's blog http://www.andywightman.com/ - Many people I have spoken to have admiration and great respect for his work and writing.

Good luck.

GentleOtter - Highland Perthshire

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