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Response to criticism on Twitter

Written by: Donald
Published: 23rd February 2015

Last Updated on

Back in 2015, we received some criticism on Twitter: some fair, some unfair. The criticism led to accusations of Highland Titles being a scam – something that we obviously find very offensive.

This discussion has been held largely within a community that are unlikely to ever be Highland Titles customers, so only one side of the argument has been seen and the views of the very large numbers of our satisfied customers remain unheard. We are keen to address that imbalance.

So far, we have chosen not respond on Twitter as it’s a medium we struggle to fully understand, but some genuine questions have been raised. Here are our answers:

Is Highland Titles ​​a scam?

No. Selling souvenir plots of land is not to everyone’s liking, particularly as the land is – by definition – of little practical use. There are certainly differenced between a Highland Titles title and a title of nobility but it is not a scam. Please indulge us as we pose a few questions of our own:

1. Would a scam operation succeed in obtaining advice from Scottish solicitors that confirmed the legality of our business model?

2. Would a scam operation work successfully with the Advertising Standards Authority to ensure its marketing copy complied with the ASA Code of Practice?

3. Would a scam operation have a 30-day no-quibble refund policy?

4. Would a scam operation achieve a satisfaction score of 9.6/10 on the independent review site Trustpilot and 97% on Trip Advisor? Would Trip Advisor award their prestigious “Certificate of Excellence” to a scam?

5. Would a scam operation even be found on an independent review site?

6. If we were a scam operation, wouldn’t our customers be upset, rather than delighted?

7. Would a scam operation be so readily contactable?

8. Would a scam operation donate tens of thousands of pounds annually to local charities and good causes?  And would their assistance be accepted?

9. Would a scam operation arrange an annual gathering of its customers, so that they may meet us in person?

We are incredibly proud of what we do and what we have achieved as a business.

We accept that we will always divide opinion. Some people think the idea of owning a souvenir plot of land is strange and unusual. Some people even appear offended by the concept; but then again the idea of owning anything is offensive to some people.

The overwhelming majority see our product as it is intended; a bit of fun and the chance to be part of something constructive and rewarding.

It is a fact that our business brings not only pleasure, but also some serious benefits to Scotland and the local area. Over 6000 “Lairds” visited their plot last year, most of whom were overseas visitors​​.

Across the world, people are wondering where to go on holiday this year and thousands are deciding to visit Scotland at least in part because of the Highland Titles Nature Reserve.  The souvenir plots of land are giving them a real sense of connection. Ultimately, the Scottish economy benefits from the tourists who come to Scotland and we are proud to be making our contribution.

Our newsletters are not only read by over 10,000 people, but when we ask questions about the direction of the estate or landowning experience more than 5000 will regularly participate. Hundreds of people attend our Highland Gatherings from across the world, where they meet us and see the progress of our Nature Reserve projects. Many of our sales are made to existing customers.

We challenge our critics to find another Scottish gift company that engages so well and so often with its customers.

Are we actually selling land?

The Twitter debate revolved around the legality of selling souvenir plots of land. It is unfortunate that we​ ​failed to realise that ​​a good number of the people on ​​Twitter ​were genuinely interested and were asking reasonable questions​ rather than mischief making.​​ ​ ​Some of those people even had legal qualifications​​, and through our actions of blocking people and remaining silent, we alienated them and disrespected their opinion. For that, we apologise.​

The advice of our Scottish solicitors is that our customers obtain a personal right to their souvenir plot of land.  Since the Twitter debate, they have reiterated their confidence in their advice.  We do not hide the fact that these plots cannot be registered. Quite the opposite; that information is displayed prominently on our website.

We therefore find it strange to find such a sudden spike in interest in our business. The recent Daily Record article, for example, used the word “revealed” in its headline, and then proceeded to describe what has been the legal position in Scotland since 1979. But then Land Reform and Tax Transparency are two very topical issues, and given that our Alderney-based business sells souvenir plots of land, we find ourselves right at the point where the two debates meet.

Much of what has been said on Twitter is anonymous, but there are some written opinions on the internet that are attributable and deserve careful reading.

A firm of Scottish solicitors (not acting for Highland Titles), Halliday Campbell WS, have stated:

“The important thing to bear in mind is the difference in Scotland between a real and a personal right. It is the real right that people recognise as ownership and Scots law has always required delivery of the thing bought to create that real right. To use the posited example, if I “buy” your kettle, I don’t “own” it until you give me possession of it. If you keep it and sell it to someone else, I can sue you but the sale is still effective.”

The Registers of Scotland have stated

“A real right of ownership in land (in the sense of a right that is enforceable against third parties) can only be obtained by registration in the Land Register or by recording a deed in the Register of Sasines as appropriate.”

We think there is a clear implication from this statement that some other form of ownership in the land is possible to obtain.

On the Scottish Parliament website, Ross Finnie MSP stated

“Inability to register a souvenir plot means that the purchaser can only get a personal right of ownership…… In view of the fact that titles cannot be registered to the plots, it is not known what rights and responsibilities attach to the “owners” of the small plots of land, but any such rights and responsibilities would be of a personal nature. For the same reason is it not known what acreage of Scotland has been ’sold off’ in plots of a very small size. It is not known how many such schemes there have been in the last 20 years. The Registers of Scotland have no knowledge of any problems caused by them.”

Most of our detractors seem to think that we do not sell the land because our customers cannot register their plot.  We feel there is plenty of legal evidence and advice that supports our position.

If our position were to be legally challenged (in the conventional way), we could easily change our product offering.  Some of our competitors lease their souvenir plots of land. We could give our customers the chance to dedicate, name or sponsor their plot of land and their customer experience would not be affected. But we have confidence in our product, backed up by 13 years of successful trading in an industry that is over 40 years old.

There is no shame in changing and adapting around regulatory and legal challenges. It ​is simply part and parcel of running a business as it matures. Should we need to change, we will change.

We strongly believe that our customers receive our product in the spirit it was intended: a souvenir. Something of no real practical value, but nevertheless something they can visit, stand on and rightly claim as their little piece of Scotland. Or at the very least, they can claim the plot is considerably more theirs than someone else​‘​s.

How much money are we making?

Highland Titles Limited is a successful business. There are people (not least on Twitter) who think that’s newsworthy.  Apparently, we need to sell just 16 million one square foot plots at £29.99 in order to rake in £479 million!  At the current rate of sales, we would all be over 1000 years old before that happened.

We think there are two reasons why some people are keen to speculate and comment on our finances: our Channel Islands location and The Highland Titles Charitable Trust for Scotland.**

We have been based in the Channel Islands since 2006. Yes, it is a nice place to live and work. But we are here for personal reasons, not tax reasons. We have been accused of avoiding Scottish taxes by not basing in Scotland. By that same logic, we are avoiding Japanese taxes by not being in Japan.

We have no problem with people asking whether the sale of Scottish land should be taxed in Scotland in the future. That is a good question, but it’s surely going too far to say we are avoiding a tax that doesn’t currently exist.

It is ironic to say the least that the same people arguing that we should pay tax on the land sales are also arguing that we don’t sell any land.

We pay any and all taxes that we are liable for and have never tried to avoid or evade our obligations to pay tax. We are not even certain that we would pay more tax if we were a Scottish charity. There is a wide range of tax incentives available for Scottish charities, and even if we did pay more tax, there would be less money to spend on our charitable objectives. Perhaps some people would prefer that, but not everyone would.

Highland Titles Limited was formed by Dr Peter Bevis in 2006. He gifted the company to The Highland Titles Charitable Trust for Scotland which ensures that the land we sell can only ever be used for the purposes of conservation. It is a charity registered in Guernsey, number CH444.

It is a ‘purpose’ trust; the purpose being conservation in Scotland. There are no beneficiaries. There are two trustees, neither of whom can be remunerated by the Trust.

To summarise the situation, Dr Peter Bevis gifted a profitable company to a Charitable Trust which ensures the land we sell can only ever be used for the purposes of conservation. It is a sad that such a charitable gesture is viewed with suspicion.

We have also been criticised for not making our accounts public, even though there is no requirement for us to do so. Aside from commercial confidentiality and our right to privacy, we realise that however much we do, there will always be some people we can’t please.

To provide an example, we once provided a large grant towards the cost of a new playground at the Duror Community Centre. The Community Centre was delighted, but others simply criticised us for not paying for it all. I’m sure you can all guess how much the critics contributed towards the cost.

Although we are based in the Channel Islands, our business spends a lot of money in Scotland. Here is a brief summary of how Scotland benefits from our work:

  • The Highland Titles Nature Reserve attracts thousands of overseas tourists each year
  • These tourists stay in local hotels and spend money in local shops. If each tourist spends just £100 during their stay, it is reasonable to assume that millions of pounds have been spent in Scotland over the last nine years as a result of Highland Titles
  • Our conservation work creates work for local contractors
  • Our Nature Reserve has transformed an inaccessible commercial forestry plantation full of non-native trees into an official 4* tourist attraction that people can enjoy
  • We spend a substantial six-figure sum on advertising every year, and an advert for Highland Titles is an advert for visiting Scotland
  • We spend a significant sum of money every year with our web developers, marketing agency and software developers, all of whom are based in Scotland. We therefore help to create employment in Scotland and raise tax in Scotland, even if it is subsequently sent down to Westminster.

We do a lot for Scotland. With a bit of luck and support, we can do a lot more.

Are we actually interested in conservation?

Our conservation work is far too extensive to list here, and it is backed up with physical evidence. We hope it will suffice to say that we have indisputably transformed an inaccessible commercial forestry plantation into an amenity woodland.  We have already planted thousands of Scottish native trees, and we will plant thousands more.

The Highland Titles Nature Reserve is an official 4* tourist attraction and everyone is welcome to visit. It’s more enjoyable if you’ve bought a plot though, it has to be said.

In amongst the cynicism, however, there were some genuine questions.

We’ve been questioned about why one of our nature reserves has rhododendrons and Sitka spruce trees (two non-native species). This​ ​is because we deliberately bought land that was largely commercial forestry so we could return it to a more natural state. There wouldn’t be much point in purchasing something that was already in a pristine natural state. If we did, no doubt we would be criticised, much as the RSPB were in 2012 

In the fullness of time, we want to remove all the Sitka from the land we manage.  We don’t like Sitka (does anyone?), but we will have to wait until it’s economical to remove it. There will be huge costs involved in getting rid of the old forestry plantations, not least because of the new planning laws that make it harder to install forestry tracks.

Others have suggested that there was never any chance of the land we own being developed, and therefore the “prevents development” argument is invalid, but windfarms and commercial forestry are clear evidence that development does occur in remote areas.

Shouldn’t the sale of souvenir plots be stopped?

We appreciate that even if you accept that our work benefits Scotland, you still might feel that the sale of souvenir plots of land should be stopped.  We respectfully disagree.

In terms of Land Reform, the aims of our company are broadly in line with the aims of the Scottish Government, who want to ensure Scotland’s land “benefits the many, not the few”.

That is exactly what we are doing. Without the likes of Highland Titles, owning a piece of Scotland is an impossible dream, given that plots of woodland are rarely available for anything less than a five-figure sum.

As far as our customers are concerned, having some form of ownership of land in Scotland is better than having none at all, and because we manage the land on their behalf, we can legitimately claim to have brought together thousands of like-minded people with an interest in Scotland. Frankly, we think that’s wonderful.

Of course, we would prefer that our customers were able to register their purchase with the Scottish Land Registry. That they are presently unable to do so is wholly due to the inadequacy of the laws currently being reformed.

We also believe there may be a Human Rights issue here.

Article 1 of the First Protocol of the Human Rights Act imposes an obligation on the State not to interfere with the peaceful enjoyment of property. There is no violation of this right, however, if such interference is carried out in the public interest.
In 1981, The Registers of Scotland refused to register ownership of souvenir plots of land due to a scarcity of resources.

“A scheme to sell off 1000 one square foot plots and register the titles thereto would employ the Keeper and his staff, public servants, in a way which could be detrimental to the expeditious registration of the titles of those whose interest was practical rather than sentimental or commemorative.”

Are we really expected to believe that within the offices at the Land Registry there exists such a chronic shortage of staff, such that it could not have been addressed in the last 38 years? Surely the burden of work has been eased to some extent by technology: there weren’t many computers around in 1981.

And is it really in the public interest to have an incomplete record of landownership interests in Scotland?

We are still trying to find out exactly what the situation is in Northern Ireland, but it looks as though their law permits the registration of souvenir plots of land. Under Northern Irish law, the Registrar can designate an area of souvenir land and record the details of ownership therein for a small fee. Clearly, the problem in Scotland is not insurmountable.

Can you actually become a Lord or Lady?

Most people consider this as harmless fun, and helps to create a feeling of community amongst our customers. It provides an extra bit of novelty. We accept that some people may not like it, but people’s personal preference is the full extent of the issue here.

For reasons unknown, the Lord Lyon (for those who have never heard of Lord Lyon, the Scottish Government describes him as having jurisdiction over the use of Arms and Heraldry in Scotland) is occasionally referred to as an authority on the use of the word “Laird” by our critics.

Lord Lyon has no authority or jurisdiction over the use of the word Laird, and we have a letter sent by Lord Lyon to one of our customers confirming this.

Advertising Practices

It’s been suggested we should change our sales literature based on the recent legal debate.  As discussed above, our legal position remains the same and we are therefore confident that our advertising reflects the reality of the situation.

Whilst our main website is carefully worded after working with the Advertising Standards Authority to get the right messaging, other advertising under our control could be improved and we need to invest more in training our representatives and introduce checks into all our advertising.

It was embarrassing to see an old Google advert of ours that mentioned “noble titles”.  Our website has never advertised noble titles, and we are confident that there has never been a time when our customers could get through the online check-out process thinking they were about to be knighted by the Queen.

That advert was not created with the intention of deceiving, but with the intention of showing potential customers an advert that contained the same text as their search.  It didn’t appear very often, but the reality is that some people hear about Highland Titles and the Laird, Lord and Lady merchandise, and then search for ‘noble titles’ because they are at the beginning of their research and don’t fully understand what we do.

If an advert contains the text ‘noble titles’, it is likely to perform better (i.e appear higher and cost less) than an advert that doesn’t contain that text if the customer has indeed searched for ‘noble titles’.

We have actually blogged on the differences between our approach and those who are looking to buy a title.

We are not trying to justify the advert.  It was a mistake.  It might have saved us a few quid, but it means some people have bundled us in with some fairly horrific websites on the internet that we try very hard to distance ourselves from.

And if you’re still not convinced….

If any of our customers feel we have misrepresented the law, then we will have no issue in refunding their cash. They just have to ask.​

 

** Registered in Guernsey CH444


About the author

Written by: Donald


Comments on this post

  • Angela Cockburn
    24/02/15 - 21:54

    Excellent explanation. Thank you. I presume the term “noble titles” was simply in the key words meta-data?

  • lady Angela Morrison
    24/02/15 - 22:27

    I have read the Twitter debate and I think most of your customers do know the Lord, lairds and lady is a bit of fun, I don’t actually walk about and demand being called lady ( I wish). I am scottish but have lived ed d in Wales for 22 years and knowing a little bit of my birth country I can call mine makes me happy love the country, the views, the mountains and lochs nothing beats it, knowing this land can never be developed means the next generation and generations to come can experience the beauty of the highlands, I hope to visit my plot in years to come keep up the good work guys

  • Greg T
    24/02/15 - 23:54

    i had no hesitation in my purchase and took it all in the light of what it was meant to represent… A bit of fun, helping conserve the natural beauty of Scotland and helping the local tourist industry. Good on you and we’ll done on your detailed response to those who choose to run you down. I look forward to going back to Scotland to visit my small piece of where my descendants descended

  • brenda Wilson
    24/02/15 - 23:57

    Fantastic gift and beautiful place.

  • Don & Trish Gaske
    25/02/15 - 00:18

    My husband and I bought our plots a few years ago, we think it is a fantastic idea, we love Scotland and some of our ancestors were Scottish. We have visited once but the trip from Australia will probably prohibit further visits. We love the warm feeling we get from owning our tiny bit of such a beautiful country and also the conservation work you are doing! Well done Highland Titles!

  • Charles
    25/02/15 - 00:22

    People always have to bitch about something. Its cool this is a conservation. Can’t wait to get me a plot.

  • Tracy L Easton
    25/02/15 - 00:50

    Purchased 2 plots for Christmas gift and it brought tears to my daughters eyes. We’re planning a visit next year. We’re very excited to have our own little piece of Scotland. I’m very thankful to Highland Titles for giving me one of the most unique gifts ever! My experience has been outstanding!

  • Pierre Marie Durand de Camboulas
    25/02/15 - 03:46

    Dear
    The only reason for me to buy a plot was the idea of conversation which I found great. I am not Scottish but France and Scotland have a lot in common.
    Cheers

  • Andy
    25/02/15 - 04:08

    Fantastic explanation; it was well thought out. I think most reasonable people would do a bit of research before purchasing a title and most know that it’s a bit of a novelty. I’m surprised people would honestly make such an issue out of it. If you want to own land in Scotland then buy a house. It’s really that straight forward.

  • Timothy Campbell
    25/02/15 - 05:26

    Very helpful and clear explanation of the business. The Highland Titles opportunity is one that should continue as it promotes Scotland and encourages tourism and conservation. Keep up the work and positive impact on Scotland.

  • Anne Louise Trebus
    25/02/15 - 05:40

    I bought two plots of land recently for myself and my partner and intend to visit Glencoe next year. I think you are doing a wonderful thing for conservation and the mere fact that thousands of people visit the area and enjoy their visit just proves my point. Carry on, guys and thank you for my plot of land in beautiful Scotland.

  • Susan Coulthard
    25/02/15 - 05:52

    Our daughter bought this gift for me and my husband a couple of Christmases ago. It was such an unusual fun idea. We have our “title” certificates either side of our four poster bed! Great to know it protects the land against development. This world is full of narrow minded people who need to loosen up and get a life!!

  • Sue Flack
    25/02/15 - 06:39

    My 2 daughters bought my plot for my 70th birthday, 2 years ago, and at a “High Tea” party presented the papers to me. They even bought me a tiara. It was the very best of birthday presents anybody could ever have. A lot of my friends love to call me Lady Sue, and I love to hear it. How wouldn’t Thank you for such a different way to help celebrate a birthday. I am proud to be part of your conservation group.

  • Lady Philippa Handy
    25/02/15 - 07:57

    my daughter bought this for me for my 50th birthday, it was a very special gift, so thoughtful it made me cry with delight! I am Lady Philippa on Twitter and have used the title at The Ritz and when booking my xmas diner order online! Love it x

  • Lord Mark Bird
    25/02/15 - 08:21

    Ask the sceptics to take a stroll along Glen Nevis and up to Steall falls. Just to see the incredible beauty that restored Scotland has to offer. Then they might appreciate the importance of the conservation work that Highland Titles do.

  • debbie
    25/02/15 - 08:41

    bought one for a friend a few years ago – and he was so chuffed to “own” a plot. when he went back to europe and uk last year he had to go and see his plot. i researched it before i bought and bought knowing the lord /lady part was just fun and that the whole thing was about preserving the land and conservation. like donating but you get some fun stuff from it
    would do it again

  • Denise Purdie
    25/02/15 - 09:15

    Bought two of these plots as gifts, one for my nephews 30 th birthday and the other for my father- in- laws 90th ! Both thought they were great ! ….. Well Done.

  • Douglas Gray
    25/02/15 - 10:25

    It was abundantly clear from the start that the 3 plots I bought for my children supported conservation of the land and the local economy. Anyone who thinks they are buying a noble title is of questionable character to begin with.

    That being said, Highland Titles should become involved in changing the law to allow for ownership registration. I would have paid the fee on top of my purchase. I would pay the fee when the law is changed.

    I find it distasteful that you have to answer to the negative and misleading tweets and blogs. But I thank you for the concise explanation. Now, let’s move on, plant more trees, remove more Sitka, and change the law.

    Keep doing good works.

  • Lady Rhonda Macbeth
    25/02/15 - 11:06

    I bought a plot so I could call myself Lady Macbeth and conserve a part of good ole Scotland. I want to visit the plot one day.?

  • Lord Clive
    25/02/15 - 13:55

    My wife and I both have plots which we visited last week and we think it’s a fantastic idea! Keep it up 🙂

  • Lady Amanda Hegg
    25/02/15 - 14:57

    My husband gave me a plot as a gift a few years before we married. It meant the world to me, to have just a tiny piece of a country that I love dearly. I know it’s all in good fun but also for a good cause – to keep Scotland beautiful and prosperous. Some people have way too much time on their hands and have to complain about things that are not even an issue.

  • Cheryl Stewart
    25/02/15 - 15:07

    I purchased our small plot for my husband as a Christmas gift and he was THRILLED! As a man of Scottish descent, he was delighted to be called “Lord” or “Laird”, even though he knows it is all in fun. We are American and took a long awaited trip to Scotland in 2003 and fell in love. We would love one day to return, not sure that finances will ever allow it, but are happy to have our little piece of heaven over there. I hope you won’t be discouraged by goofy people. You are offering something wonderful.

  • Sandra Johnston
    25/02/15 - 16:21

    We bought a plot for my husband’s father as a Christmas present 2 years ago. He was 90 at the time and I thought it was the perfect gift. He loved it and gave him a kick that his son would follow as Lord Kenneth! I bought the Glencoe plaid and had the title framed with the plaid as the border. Came out great. This is a wonderful way to feel connected to our Scottish roots and serves an even better purpose to save the land.

  • Roger Smith
    25/02/15 - 16:55

    Scotland is one of the most Beatiful places on Earth, and I feel proud as a Highland Titles plot owner that I have contributed in some small way to keep it as it should be, a natural piece of Heaven on Earth for all to visit and enjoy. When I visit Scotland it takes my breath away, and brings a tear to my eye, it is absolutely stunning and I believe everyone should visit and see just how wonderful it really is !!

  • lord duncan small
    25/02/15 - 17:29

    I bought my partner a title for a Christmas stocking filler she loved it. she bought one for me last year and we went and planted a flag on our land its only a bit of fun that we are both happy with

  • joanne fletton
    25/02/15 - 18:29

    I got my husband a square foot of land and a tree a couple of years ago for our anniversary , he loved it and he keeps his paperwork proudly framed in our sitting room . im hopeing he will get me my little piece of scotland this year. Awesome idea for any occasion and a great way to bring people together with all the work you guys do . i am a very happy customer and would definitely recommend you 🙂 cant wait to come and visit

  • jo
    25/02/15 - 18:38

    Can i check that if i buy plots for my three nephews, no one can ever sell or develop the land without my nephews permission? Would love to ensure a small part of Scotland is conserved!

    • Peter
      26/02/15 - 11:56

      We can confirm that the land will be conserved.

  • Gillian Devine
    25/02/15 - 18:43

    i purchased a small plot last year as a novelty, I am
    In glencoe most weekends and have lots of my happiest memories are around that area. I had a wonderful day up visiting my plot which the volunteer came to meet us on his day off to show us around he was very infOr native and my daughter loves the whole experience. Where is the harm here? No harm at all in fact it goes to show some very kind people willing to give up there own time freely to assist other
    People need to grow up and see this for what it is

  • Lady Mechele Wimble
    25/02/15 - 21:02

    This was a present from my family and I love it. It is fun, it supports conservation and was a lovely thoughtful gift. Im Australian from Scottish decent and living here in Scotland and supporting Scotland and the charities associated is a great cause. Very inventive and creative way to keep the trees being planted and ground not being built on.

  • Laird Henry Leslie Acheson
    25/02/15 - 21:32

    My daughter bought my plot for my 50th birthday. Even though I can trace my Irish ancestry back 5 generations, I known we originally came from Scotland and I have always been proud of this. My title has been a great talking point and a bit of fun among family and friends. I will be visiting my plot in the near future.

  • Kate Riley
    25/02/15 - 21:39

    When I purchased the first two plots of land (in 2011) at Glencoe Estates-Highland Titles, it was for a 25th birthday present for my son; one for him and one for me. The most important thing about it was that I knew I was helping to support a conservation effort in Scotland; the fun part was the courtesy titles of Lady, for me, and Laird, for him. As time went on, and I became more aware of what Highland Titles was doing on the lands, I had made a donation in 2012 to have a tree planted there in honor of my father, and another one as a gift to a friend. By the time I was able to visit Glencoe Estates (2013), I also owned a 10 square foot plot, and my son, my daughter-in-law and I each planted a Rowan tree there in honor of my father.
    Highland Titles has never once represented itself to me as a way for me to become a bona fide Lady in the UK (I leave that up to my Clan Chief). I support the way that HT has not only put in place this project that will eventually restore Glencoe Estates to having completely indigenous flora and fauna, but has expanded to include another area of land that is dedicated to re-establishing honeybee colonies. I also appreciate that they are working in tandem with other conservation groups to protect the natural beauty of the highlands.

  • Elaine walker
    25/02/15 - 23:55

    I’m proud of the fact that I am one of
    Thousands of people whom are trying too
    Help save a bit of land in Glencoe for nature reserve and wild life.

  • Tiger Jonnson
    27/02/15 - 06:00

    Heard, or read about, Highland Titles somewhere, do not recall.
    Checked it out, checked out the “pros and cons,” decided to go for it and have now owned a plot the size of a 10×10 room since 2012.
    I am delighted to be a part of the Highland Titles effort for reforestation and conservation of the environment. I have happily donated to Wildcat Haven as well. Now I just need to save my pennies and actually go visit beautiful Scotland and see all those lovely scenes with my own eyes! And say “Good Morning” to Stewart face to face! ; )

  • Lord Grant
    27/02/15 - 11:35

    My daughter bought my plot as a Christmas present. Stating I deserve a title for all the help I provided to many people over my lifetime in my late seventies I reflect on many politicians given titles for helping no one! I feel quite comfortable being a Lord and my children and grandchildren and great grandchildren love it. So carry on the good work putting some fun into people’s life. I hope to visit my plot one day before I pass on.

  • Lord Macmichael
    28/02/15 - 16:35

    As a newcomer to Scottish Titles I am truly amazed to hear that people criticise the concept. It is indeed a great deal of harmless fun with a serious contribution to the conservation of a beatiful part of Scotland. It is a concept I am proud to be a part of.

  • Gerold Reimondo-jandrok
    01/03/15 - 20:55

    I have myself purchased five plots of varying sizes from Highland Titles. After thoroughly researching the subject of souvenir plots, I selected Highland Titles as the best and most reputable company and purchased a 100 sq. foot plot for myself. This was followed by two one sq. foot plots, one for my mother and one for my nephew. They were thrilled with their gifts, not the least because they felt (as I do also) that it made a real contribution to conservation and forest restoration efforts in Scotland. When the Bumblebee Haven reserve was obtained and plots were offered to existing stakeholders, I immediately purchased a 1000 sq. foot plot in the Mountain View project. Recently I purchased another 100 sq. foot plot as a Valentine’s Day present for my better half who is also thrilled with the gift. I proudly wear a Glencoe Crest lapel badge and when I am asked about it reply that it is my crest. Subsequent conversation then allows me to explain about the Highland Titles Charitable Trust and about the nature reserves, conservation projects, and other charitable works in which the Trust engages. I can honestly say that I have never to date had a bad experience with this company and I am proud to be associated with the Trust’s conservation and charitable activities.

  • Ruth Posner
    03/03/15 - 23:17

    I have bought 5 plots for 5 different people – for the conservation efforts and the novelty. It make us smile. I would love to visit some day soon. Until then, best to you on all of your conservation efforts.

  • (LORD GEOFFREY CHERRY OF CLENCO)
    09/03/15 - 14:49

    Whatever you do you will never please all, I bought my plot of land to conserve that little bit of Scotland, I will never have the pleasure of visiting my age and health forbids that, the title is a party piece brings a smile to the face, keep up the good work

  • Lord Christopher D Duncan
    09/03/15 - 19:37

    Highland Titles is a fantastic company who have structured an amazing scheme so we can own a piece of Scotland. It sits well in the mind. Totally ethical and when life treats me well i will be purchasing some more plots. This is heritage moving forward.

  • Ken
    09/03/15 - 22:52

    It’s all in fun and for a worthy cause. For 50 bucks I already got my money’s worth in fun! I often sign my emails as Kenneth, Lord of Glencoe – for FUN!!

  • Colin Derricott
    10/03/15 - 12:45

    I bought two small plots a couple of years ago. One for me and I bought one for my wife as a Valentines day present because of our love of The Highlands.
    I personally think that being able to buy a bit of something that is close to you heart is a great thing and will be purchasing more in the near future.

  • Hilda Henderson
    11/03/15 - 03:47

    I am more than happy to have an “interest” in the Scottish Highlands; a virtual plot of land. But by the very nature of a “purchase”, Highland Titles has taken upon its shoulders a responsibility to the purchasers. In the first instance there is a responsibility to the land. For instance there should be a guarantee of no mining and a pledge to clear and keep the land free from feral plants, etc. Secondly, and most importantly each one of the purchasers has invested for some personal and/or emotional reason – family, connection with the land, history etc. Whatever the reason, Highland Titles must respect and honour each and every purchaser with moral regard and understanding.

  • Lady Hilda Henderson
    16/03/15 - 05:01

    I’ve just received my parcel. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. What a wonderful concept – caring for the countryside and connecting hearts to memories. Congratulations Highland Titles.

  • J Moore
    17/03/15 - 13:57

    people are only happy when they moan. great concept. well executed. keep up the good work.

  • Eileen MacGrain Loney
    17/03/15 - 16:02

    I was both thrilled and honored to receive my wee bit of Scotland as a birthday gift from my cousin. We were both born in Scotland and now live in the USA. My heart is still in the Highlands and,knowing I can share in keeping this land pristine, means the world to me.

  • Lady Nina Paris
    17/03/15 - 17:40

    How I wish those who complain and find fault with this method of protecting natural resources, forests and natural beauty must be forced to face real adversities such as childhood hunger. What they lack is perspective. How sad I am for them.

  • Lady Diane Schanzl
    17/03/15 - 20:33

    Having bought each other a plot as Valentine’s gifts this year, we intend to visit asap. We thought it a lovely idea to both help conservation and to feel part of that. Sad to think that it causes some people such concern.

  • Judy McLean
    17/03/15 - 21:56

    My husband migrated to Australia with his family when he was 10 and he has never had the opportunity (yet) to return. I bought him a plot of land for his 70th Birthday and not only was it the most amazing gift because it gave him a true sense of connection, but it’s also making a positive contribution. He loves being a “landowner” in his home country. We plan to visit – fantastic idea!!

  • Sandra Zaninovich
    18/03/15 - 07:21

    Amazing and brilliant and inspired idea for a business, has brought me and so many so much joy and pride. Like Taylor Swift sings, “haters gonna hate!” I appreciate you taking the time and effort for such a detailed rebuttal, but don’t waste any more time on the haters. Use it to make more people happy instead!

  • James Stewart
    18/03/15 - 08:19

    I’m purchasing my plots so that my kids have some connection with the land that their grandfathers came from back in the mid 1800’s. Sounds like a long time ago, but only 4 generations ago. As a Scottish-American I’m proud to be able to have a little piece of Scotland, even if it is just a souvenir plot.

  • Ian Grant Richardson
    19/03/15 - 06:24

    My Grandfather William Clarke Richardson, was born in Coupar Angus, Forfarshire Scotland, in 1863 and emigrated to here, Melbourne Australia in 1888/9. None of his six bothers or sisters came with him as far as I know. He met and married Annie Dowling, a woman of Irish birth and they had seven children of which one died as an infant. My Grandfather died in September 1943 when I was just 18 months old …. I never knew him. Why tell this story? Because it’s the reason I bought my little piece of Scotland. After I married in 1965, my wife and I had three daughters and one son, Steven. Since he married, he and wife have had one son, Lochlan and one daughter. When I die, my little piece of Scotland will pass to my son and later to his son. Perhaps he’ll have a son too whom I’ll never meet. Regardless, we’ll have extended the generations of the ‘Richardson’ family name and added a little more to our association with Scotland, our land of origin. Thanks for the opportunity ‘Highland Titles’.

  • Mark Smythers
    19/03/15 - 14:56

    As an expat-now living in Spain-but of Scottish descent I bought 4, 1000 ft plots from Highland Titles which my children will have in due course. I hope to visit this year or to make the gathering next time. I have no complaints at all with the company, the land, the website or the service and am doing my bit for conservation. And if I wish to call myself Lord, Laird or even Lady, I would do so : It would probably be Lord Vader!

  • Chris McSevich
    27/03/15 - 03:31

    Unfortunately there will always be contradictors to a situation like this but hopefully your answers will convert some of them. Originally from Scotland (came to Aussie when I was 16 in 1967), my kids (5) bought me a plot and it was one of the best gifts, as I have many fond memories growing up in the country as a kid and am very proud of my Scottishness!. Keep up the fabulous, positive and productive work to preserve the country as it should be. I am planning to visit in the next year or so. Will see you then.

  • Lord Robert Koehler
    31/03/15 - 23:51

    A landowner in Scotland is a Laird. Period. That’s the law and these aristocrats who think their precious titles will be devalued can shove it. The Lord Lyon has nothing to do with titles. He has no say as to who is and who isn’t a Laird. I am proud to be a Lord of Glencoe.

  • NickW
    01/04/15 - 20:28

    Great explanation above… My family is Scottish & I lived there for many years.
    I really want to have the title “Laird” on one my my credit cards !! Has anyone else done this ?
    Does it get you better service at Tesco ?
    (Actually, don’t answer the last one!)

  • Laird Anthony Betts
    02/04/15 - 03:07

    I purchased three plots last year. One each for myself and my wife. The third was for a good friend. The price was equivalent to a reasonable bottle of wine each, which I thought was fair. It was a bit of fun and we now all refer to each other as Laird Or Lady in that spirit. While I do like my wine and it is a good gift, this was better as it can be enjoyed a lot longer. At the time of my purchase I did look into it and thought it was a novel business model and there were benefits for the Environment, Employment and Tourism but the main consideration was the fun of it.
    To the critics I say, don’t buy a plot. Just leave others alone that do want a bit of fun. Since my purchase I have looked into this more and I still do not feel I was deceived in any way at all. The marketing was good but did not mislead me at any point. I knew my “title” had no real value, nor does my plot. As an avid republican I quite enjoy extracting the urine concerning titles and such. So BAH!!!

  • Marky
    10/04/15 - 08:25

    I was one of the people who asked questions on FB as after my wife bought me a plot for my birthday. I accepted your brief answer to my questions on the fb page but would have liked more details. So I was pleased when you posted this full explanation here. That says a lot about you and that you had nothing to hide. Twitter is just twits with itchy fingers. Just ignore them like I will.

  • Laird David Smith
    21/04/15 - 13:27

    I have bought my little plot of the land I love and feel close to. I am English but have always felt drawn to Scotland , the Scottish people and culture. Since a small child in the 50’s I always looked at “Black Bob” in the Dandy 1st, wandering around with his sheep dog always filled me with envy. As years went by my love for the highland games and music increased and for many years now I have worn a kilt 24/7. I had my first one at 7 and the rest is history. TODAY, like many others before me, I have my small plot and plan to visit some time. I feel very happy that a very, very small part has my name and even more happy to be keeping the land and trees in good order, and yes, OK,I am as chuffed as hell. The company has bought me immense happiness for a very small fee, thank you all. and UP the knockers, if you don’t like it DON’T JOIN !

  • Trevor Champ
    29/04/15 - 11:51

    My daughters had one bought for them each as a gift from their godmother a couple of years ago, and thoroughly loved the concept.
    I have just purchased a small plot for a friends 50th birthday and am about to by one for a colleague who is about to retire and loves touring Scotland.
    I thought the explanation provided well constructed and hopefully will dispel any further adverse comments.
    What is being achieved here is fantastic for Scotland. Although born and bred in Kent, I visit Scotland regularly (in favour of foreign travel), for the peace & beauty it has to offer.
    Well done Highland Titles

  • Lady Diane
    31/05/15 - 03:12

    Well done Highland Titles! Conservation is to the benefit of everyone, and if (we)choose to spend our money buying into this then it is our own business. No one is forcing these “naysayers” to participate so what exactly are they moaning about? it does not affect them in any way. I am quite sure we are all fairly intelligent people and fully understand what we are purchasing, having bought mine as a very inventive birthday present for my daughter and myself.
    It strikes me as if these uninformed miserable people have nothing better to do than try to burst everyone else’s bubble, just to make them miserable too.
    WELL NOT ME, I AM HAPPY WITH MY PURCHASE SO THERE…

  • John Heffley
    07/06/15 - 01:43

    My wife and I love Scotland and when I gifted her a plot she was so excited. I think ours is about 10×10. We proudly display our titles on the wall and it makes great conversation. I think the people who think its a scam, should buy one of those “name a star” after yourself gifts. Let’s see them visit their star! I on the other hand will do my part to preserve a great country.

  • Emily Fernie Fleetham
    08/06/15 - 14:50

    I am 18, and got this gift for Christmas, I absolutely love being called Lady Emily and now use it where I can, it’s incredible!

  • Hygge
    17/06/15 - 16:14

    I get this question all the time: “What’s my favorite place in the whole world?” I have to admit, I’ve gotten around, but my answer always remains the same — Glencoe, Scotland! It has a rich heritage and history, but when it comes to mountains, they are the best. I enjoyed my time very much in Glencoe and plan on going back. Why? Well there are a ton of reasons! But believe me, I’m itching to go back !

  • Phil Quaglino
    11/02/16 - 03:19

    I read enough, researched a ton. I “donated” as I feel it is a better word until laws change and less “interpretting” of wordage occurs. Maybe one day, but that’s on Scottish law makers. It’s a sticky situation. To raise money to grow the land you need to sell something, but the only real item to sell is unable to be sold….we’ll it can be sold, but not registered. So until it’s your land and not a personal right, it remains solely to HT. So it’s far better to see it as a donation. Lairsdship usage is by this…ineligible to be used unless “personal right” qualifies enough to be your land (registered). HT seems very honorable, they just try to work verbiage as best it can be to make the plan work. Scotland needs to allow registration. Till then I do feel at the least the title needs removing on contract. A searchable database on the site may help ease people with plots possibly being resold over and over. Only registered ownership works from what I read.

    As far as ASA goes, the only thing they said was HT needed to better word it so idiots did not think they became nobility, which is crazy. I really hope people didn’t think they became real Lords. It is meant to be as HT said, a courtesy title. Maybe in time as I said, we can register and pledge to never do anything to our land to effect environment. This land looks stunning, I hope to visit and glad I could contribute. Now if the government can step up and allow registration.

  • Jonathan Smith
    16/10/17 - 23:52

    I love the thought of ‘owning land’ in Scotland and bought my wife a plot of land 4 years ago as a Xmas gift, this year we visited Scotland so we could visit Highland Titles and see what great conservation work they have been doing.
    The trip to Glencoe Woods made our honeymoon trip, great people, and a great business well run.
    Thankyou and I’m happy to say I put a lot of money into the local community, shops / restaurants / hotels as part of my visit, and recommend to everyone to buy a plot of land and go visit beautiful Scotland

  • Fiona
    21/01/18 - 06:20

    Clearly from the comments above there are a lot of people from around the world who value this connection to place (Scotland) as part of their family history.

    I wish the plot was a bit bigger, say the size taken up by a deck chair.

    Fiona
    Australia

  • Laird Graham Louden
    24/06/18 - 14:57

    When I purchased my plot a few years ago, I was in no doubt that it was to an extent a ‘vanity purchase’ but with a serious underlying purpose. I have been very satisfied with every aspect of the purchase and my contacts with Highland Titles have always been very courteous and efficient. As yet, I have not attended a Gathering but hope to do so next year as part of a sustained effort to locate some of my many relatives in the Kingdom of Fife from which my father relocated in the early twentieth century, leaving behind a large clan with whom we rapidly lost contact.

    I congratulate Hamish on his excellent and lucid clarification of all the issues raised; this should surely dispel and doubts about the sincerity and good intentions of Highland Titles and the conservation work that they undertake.

  • Clive Napier, Laird of the Braes o’ Lochaber.
    14/11/18 - 14:34

    Yes, I bought a piece of Scotland. I am very happy with it!
    The reason was the my family originates from Edinburgh Scotland in the 11th century.
    We have a tartan and a family crest. It is my link to my forefathers.
    I am also a fly fisherman and the estate my plot is on has a mile of river on
    it giving me fishing rights. My brother in law lives in Paisley so it is a good stepping
    off point for the Highlands. (Lochaber, turn right at Fort William, and right again at Spean Bridge).

  • Graham Burdon
    28/10/19 - 16:38

    I bought a 10×10 piece of land from yourselves for my fathers 80th birthday a few years ago, he was proud of a Scottish heritage to which his ancestry was linked back to Glencoe.

    He was over the moon when presented with this, and he was always excited to show his cards off showing that he was a Laird, and even met a fellow Highlands Title Laird in his nursing home. He was aware that it was just a souvenir plot, but it brought him much joy in his last few years of life, for which it was well worth the money to see is beaming face as he showed them off, and to know that it was going to help conserve the land.

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