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Climbers call for access to estate

SCOTLAND'S mountaineers are calling on ministers to take action against an estate which they claim is repeatedly denying the public its legal right to roam.

The Mountaineering Council of Scotland (MCofS) has appealed directly to Finance Secretary John Swinney, the local MSP for Tayside, after concluding that the local council had given up on the problem.

The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 established a public right of responsible access. But the MCofS says that for several years walkers in Glen Lyon have faced locked gates, intimidating signs and abusive behaviour when venturing onto the North Chesthill Estate.

David Gibson, Chief Officer for the MCofS, says: "The North Chesthill Estate has been restricting the statutory right of access for many years. The locked gates effectively close the whole estate to access."

Major Alastair Riddell, who owns the estate, said: "We are disappointed that MCofS has made the press statement it has this week without first discussing the issues raised with us at North Chesthill Estate.

"This sort of statement only leads to breakdown in communication. The Estate has made every effort to accommodate walkers while endeavouring to operate a hill sheep and stalking business."

A Perth and Kinross Council spokesman said the authority was aware of these concerns and was working to address the issues raised.

The landowner had been contacted on many occasions and had been offered guidance on providing for responsible public access to his land during the stalking season," the spokesman said.

Contextual targeting label: 
Local government

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