The Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond has a number of estates like this one at Bannachra, near Helensburgh, which was for sale recently.
In a letter to Nick Kempe at the excellent Parkswatch journal on the internet, Andy Cloquet had this to say about  the SNP and land ownership in the Highlands where the Royal Family and others are coming under increasing fire for their stewardship – or indeed the lack of it.
Until such time as whatever government sits in Holyrood takes the issue of land ownership as a serious matter instead of the patronising, weasel words obscuring the many hidden attempts by ancestrally established land owners to maintain their grip on their property, then this and similar issues will remain a sore on our landscape. Section 5 of Peter Peacock’s lengthy paper – – concludes; “In considering the question of ownership of scale and concentration in today’s policy context, the question of the opportunity for advancing community empowerment needs to be central to how land policy develops.”
So, when hidden deals and silent transfers of ownership are maintained by a powerful collection of lawyers and solicitors whose job it is to protect these interests there is no likelihood of fundamental change.
For the incumbent SNP Government to offer its electorate substantive evidence that our interests are important, they need to address land ownership from the top: and if you think for one moment that they’ll consider such implications for the royal estates, then we’re deluded.
They won’t, they can’t and even if they could, they wouldn’t dare!
…and to put this comment in context: as 2021 drew its final curtain with Covid rampaging, a massive rise in the cost of living starting to swell on the horizon, a fractured health service, an ignominious record of drugs related deaths, falling standards in schools and a pair of political blinkers which only allow our Scottish Government to see the delusional Holy Grail of independence, land ownership and the shenanigans of the Establishment’s vested interests are the least of their concerns.
* We also have an in-depth article by tourism expert James Fraser in this issue of The Democrat about the controversial Flamingoland proposals for Balloch


Education was supposed to be the First Minister’s top priority, but her report card for the state of our schools and our children’s education is in the “must do better” category. Too many of them can’t read or write or count when they leave school. And what’s cutting funds to libraries all about? Education? Then there’s the Environment,  which she promised to protect. Nicola is swanning around in Edinburgh with the likes of the Prince William, the Duke of Buccleuch and other prominent members of the establishment  handing out cash hand over fist to other rich land owners. Her “look the other way” Quangoland policies could soon impact disastrously on Loch Lomond with Flamingoland at Balloch while local government with the likes of Jonathan “maybes aye, maybe no'” McColl running it is a basket case. West Dunbartonshire needs to get the SNP out come the council elections in May 2022. Nicola has done nothing for the Save Loch Lomond campaign except posing for selfies and pretending she is supporting it. Don’t hang about. Start the campaign to put some decent councillors who believe in democracy and not just filling their own boots into power at meetings in the Burgh Hall in Church Street and the Town Hall in Clydebank.


I note that Ed Sheeran and Elton John were promoting sausage rolls while broadcasting their Christmas song on television over Christmas.

I like a nice, hot sausage roll and enjoyed one every day when I had lunch at my desk at my old office in Dumbarton High Street. I am also partial to a Belgian bun with icing and a cherry on top.

I had to get up early this morning for appointments with the practice nurse at the health centre and my optician in the town centre. The years are catching up on me.

So, I took the opportunity to give myself a treat and bought some rolls and buns from Greggs excellent shop in the High Street.

Like so many families at this time of year, our bread bin at home was empty after the holidays, so I asked for a loaf.

I couldn’t believe it when the nice lady behind the counter told me they didn’t sell bread there.

No bread in a baker’s shop sounds like a pub with no beer or a garage without petrol.

However, the lady kindly directed me to a neighbouring shop where there was bread aplenty.

I might just try one of those Belgian buns though before I have coffee and toast for my breakfast.


Well, the snow didn’t last long this morning Maybe that’s just as well since there was no sign of the Council out gritting the roads and pavements.

Old folk going into the health centre found the car park like a skating rink and it was the same for people walking in the HIgh Street and town centre. The new walkway along the Levenside to the new flats was impassable when the tide came over the wall at the Quay.

Maybe the Council have stopped paying bonuses to the officers who used to be paid large sums to make a phone call from their sofas to turn out the gritters, a practice which may or may not not have ceased, although the curmudgeonly Council communicators refuse to tell us.

Their ban and boycott of The Democrat continues into 2022 when the electorate will have an opportunity to vote for a more commonsensical administration in May.

Bring it on, I say.

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