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The Highland Reserve Interviews: Lord Douglas and Lady Penelope

Written by: Stewart Borland
Published: 9th April 2015

Last Updated on

reserve-interviews-content-banners-V2 Welcome to this our second of a series of interviews with visitors to our Glencoe Wood Nature Reserve to get a picture of who they are and why they visit Scotland and the reserve. Today we
meet Lord Douglas and his wife, Lady Penelope, who visited their plots on 23rd March.

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Lord and Lady Peters

HT: Hello and welcome to the community pages. What were your particular reasons for visiting Glencoe Wood nature reserve?

Lord Douglas: My wife and I visited the nature reserve because of our participation in your plot purchase scheme, as mutual gifts for each other. We find the concept quite exceptional, exciting, really worthwhile and motivating to travel to the reserve and that beautiful part of Scotland.

HT: Have either of you been to Scotland before? If so what were your highlights and favourite places?

Lord Douglas: Yes many times. Although there are many beautiful and interesting towns and cities in Scotland, we particularly love the countryside, and especially the highlands and the western islands.
Much of Scotland we have still to discover, including the Outer Hebrides, Orkney and Shetland Islands.
Quite apart from the urban areas and countryside, we are most interested by the history of this country, the people who made it and who have had such an impact the world over.
Definitely our favourite highlights are the Scots themselves -their hospitality, friendliness and kindness. They certainly have a good sense of business too!

HT: Whereabouts are you staying during this visit to the West of Scotland? And are you intending to travel further around Scotland, or beyond?

Lord Douglas: Sadly this last visit was too brief, especially in the West of Scotland. It was a two day return trip to the Glencoe area, specifically to visit the nature reserve for the first time.
We stayed at the Holly Tree Hotel at Kentallen Pier, which was absolutely wonderful. Very close to the nature reserve, a stunning view over the loch, perfect facilities, excellent food and very friendly hosts. It could not have been better.

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The Holly Tree Hotel and Kentallen Pier.

HT: Do you have any Scottish ancestors, or other connections to Scotland? If so can you tell us a little bit about them?

Lord Douglas: Yes we do, both my wife and myself.
On my side, my father’s family came from, not the highlands, but from the Dumfries area, Kirkcudbright/Castle Douglas. My Grandmother was a Douglas. At the turn of last century, they traveled south to Yorkshire as they were very much involved in the textile industry. My father was actually born in Harrogate, but he and his family kept strong and emotional ties with Scotland, which were passed down to me. My father though had an active life mainly in continental Europe, whilst between the two world wars, his brother traveled to Canada then on to Australia, where he died accidentally too young.
On my wife’s side, the Scottish ties both through her father (Cameron) and her mother (Fleming) are strongly connected with South Africa. Both her parents’ families went to South Africa in the late 1800’s, but both her parents left South Africa for London before the 2nd World War. They met in London just after the war, where my wife was born. Again she has strong emotional ties with Scotland where her family history originates.

HT: What would you say was your favourite part of the nature reserve?

Lord Douglas: At this stage it is difficult to say, as this was our first brief introduction to the nature reserve. However there was definite sensation of the wild about the location, the space, the mixed geography of the terrain, the fauna and flora. Also the overall project about reforestation is very exciting.

HT: Is there anything you would love to see in the nature reserve in the future that isn’t there at present in terms of wildlife, or facilities, or both?

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Bee hives at Glencoe Wood Nature Reserve

Lord Douglas: It is too soon for us to come forward with ideas and suggestions. We are just absorbing and coming to appreciate what we saw and what is there. We shall soon come back to the reserve, and then spend more time to actually walk around. We may then be able to contribute more with answers to your question.

HT: Is there anything else you would like to comment on?

Lord Douglas: Only to say how admirable your whole project is, in a pragmatic way and of course in preserving and enhancing nature. We feel privileged to be in our little way associated to it. Your marketing is absolutely superb. Do not let that go, it must be a key to your success.

HT: Thank you Lord Douglas. We hope you return to us very soon!

The Holly Tree at Kentallen used to be Kentallen Railway Station. In 1962 with the Beeching Cuts, the line from Fort William to Oban was closed along with all the stations along its route: Kentallen, Ballachulish, Glencoe, to name a few. reserveKentallen Station 1961. Photo by H B Priestley.
The original track went through some glorious scenery, and is now part of National Cycle Route 78.

About the author

Written by: Stewart Borland


Comments on this post

  • Lord Patrick George Hocking
    16/05/15 - 06:27

    I was born in Wales, of a Welsh Father and Irish Mother, yet I’ve alway’s felt drawn to Scotland, for some reason and, as as practising Falconer I’ve spent a lot of time in Sutherland, (nine visits in 2000). Now, my Father’s middle name was MacDonald, as is my elder brother’s middle name, so I decided to do a little family research and discovered that my Grandmother was a MacDonald of Clanranald…(I didn’t know her very well, she having passed when I was young, and then living in Lancashire since I was a child,(long story)), and it was only recently that I determined to refresh what seemed to be my initial roots…and it seemed my heritage lay in the area of Glencoe…(good grief, I’ve no wish to blather on, you must be surely bored enough already)…suffice to say I feel so much more aligned to the Glencoe area, and so much more settled in my own mind, that I decided to ‘buy’ a piece of land in that area…and my wife and I, regardless of our age and infirmities, intend to visit our area this year, together with my son, and for the first time in years we’re actually excited about spending some time away from home.

  • Thursa Wilde
    16/05/15 - 08:47

    Hello Lord Patrick! Your very lucky. Glencoe is a lovely area to have your roots in. (mind you, Wales is very pretty too!) Many thanks for your comments. we very much hope to see you and your wife and son very soon!

  • Lord Patrick George Hocking
    19/05/15 - 00:45

    Thursa, I really have to comment on something I read on the site!. It was suggested that it was hoped that the Crossbill might be introduced into the wood, having been seen in the area?, but it appears unlikely, due to the continuing planting of native Broadleaf tree’s…(which I heartily applaud, incidentally)…so, may I explain why this is so unlikely to happen?.

    As a conservationist of many years, It’s well-known that the Crossbill feeds almost on pine-cones…(hence the shape of it’s bill?)…so it’s going to need a different tree to the one’s currently being planted…with me so far?.

    Now, I’m pretty sure that there might be room for the odd Scots Pine, or even the Douglas Fir, might perhaps be planted in the area…(after all, what would Scotland be without these species)…and this, I’m sure, might encourage the Crossbill into the area…’cos they aren’t going to settle where there’s no food, right?.

    Just a thought, Thursa…but perhaps FOOD for thought?.

  • Thursa Wilde
    19/05/15 - 13:34

    Hi Lord Patrick. Never fear, although we are planting deciduous trees, the majority of the mature trees already there are conifers. At the moment we are addressing a serious inbalance between conifers and deciduous trees, but in the future, when this balance is restored, we certainly hope to plant Scots pine as well. Meanwhile there are plenty of pine cones for the crossbill to feast on!

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