A seeker of truth, enlightenment and revolution in the Scots' relationship with their land, I am a writer and researcher on land issues in Scotland and the author of Who Owns Scotland and The Poor Had No Lawyers. From the common good to the Crown Estate and from the Highlands to house prices, little passes me by without comment. When not on a quest for new information, I can often be found working in the woods or walking in the hills. My favourite places are Lochnagar and the Historical Search Room in the National Records of Scotland.
If you visit Stirling castle today, you will be impressed at the investment and world class artistic endeavour that has gone into restoring the Great Hall and, most recently, the quite fabulous Renaissance Palace of James V.
Head out onto the terrace overlooking the ancient Royal Park used by the Stuart Kings for hunting and sport, however, and you will find no mention of the important view before you, one of Scotland’s most historic landscapes.
It is mildly amusing when I meet people who wonder how on earth one can survive without visiting the “capital” and even more amusing still when I remind them that, actually I already live in the “capital” (Edinburgh).
It happened when protestors demonstrated outside Millbank Tower in London and smashed in the windows (since you ask, the owner is Basio Holdings Ltd., Tortola, British Virgin Islands).
It happened more recently in November last year when a massive fire destroyed the old Co-op building in Morrison Street in Glasgow.
The owner of the building is Straben Developments Ltd. of Belfast which bought the building in September 2007 for £4,200,000.
A recent study by the Scottish Agricultural College found that average house prices in many parts of rural Scotland were well in excess of five times average earnings. In many parishes the multiple was as high as ten.
In an attempt to solve this problem, the Scottish Government, its agencies, academics and voluntary bodies have all debated, discussed and come up with schemes to try and alleviate this problem but it persists.
Research was hardly a leisurely pursuit but the quest for knowledge from paper records was inevitably a rather ponderous affair involving extensive note-taking followed by transcription of the results at home onto a computer.
Today the process is transformed. Visits to archives and libraries are still necessary of course but there has been a revolution in the availability of material on the internet. We have freedom of information legislation and it is now ridiculously easy to transmit ones thoughts and opinions widely via social media such as Twitter.