The Highland Reserve Interviews: Lord Douglas and Lady Penelope
Written by: Stewart Borland
Published: 9th April 2015
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.
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.
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?
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 original track went through some glorious scenery, and is now part of National Cycle Route 78.