The Glen Etive and Glen Fyne SPA for Golden Eagles scam

One of the most difficult-to-explain-away aspects of Highland Titles’s online propaganda is perhaps how they have changed their story about the Glen Etive and Glen Fyne SPA for Golden Eagles.

In early 2011 Highland Titles proudly announced that the large increase of Australian buyers had enabled them to fulfill a long-lived dream of procuring a Golden Eagle sanctuary. They even set up a sign thanking their Australian supporters: Glencoe Wood extension Austraila. Note the misspelling of Australia. πŸ™‚

Whereas Highland Titles’ most recent website version claims that this SPA was only leased for a year, the old website (which is unfortunately lost) contained a deliberately misleading text, referring to their “acquisition” of the land to make the public believe that the land was purchased (see also this post on their web forum to the same effect). Why else would Highland Titles emphasise that the land needed “to be taken away from the temptations of agriculture, commercial forestry and other exploitation and preserved, not only for the benefit of the Eagles that call it home, but for the thousands of other species that rely upon it”? A one-year lease would hardly make a difference in that respect, would it?

And in a publicity stunt in The Northern Star in April 2011 Alex Flewitt happily continued the misrepresentation that the sanctuary had indeed been purchased:

“thanks to the people of Australia we were able to purchase an extra 500 acres of land last month which is now a protected eagle sanctuary,” she said.

Even more disturbing is recent speculation that the lease too was only a fiction, as sources claim that the SPA was conveniently ‘moved’ from its original location to the property of friends of the Bevis family. Whether this be true or not, it is a fact that Highland Titles for whatever reason are either unable or unwilling to provide an accurate location of the SPA. You can read more about it in this thread on scots-titles where the poster vintagemood has made an excellent job of digging up discrepancies in Higland Titles’s (mis)representation of the Golden Eagle sanctuary (see for instance page 40 of the thread).

Discussion

10 thoughts on “The Glen Etive and Glen Fyne SPA for Golden Eagles scam

  1. The old website version is not lost πŸ˜‰

    “Fund raising in 2011 has enabled us to realise the dream of acquiring a 500 acre tract of land close to Glencoe Wood and wholly within the Glen Etive and Glen Fyne Special Protection Area. This will enable us to help protect and conserve Scotland’s iconic bird of prey, the Golden Eagle. This protected area, to be known as the Highland Titles Nature Reserve, is a large predominantly upland site, rising from sea level to over 1100m. It encompasses a diverse range of habitats including heather moorland, rough grassland, blanket bog, native woodland, montane heaths and exposed rock and scree. There are also freshwater lochans and streams.

    Funding for this Nature Reserve has come directly from all our Lairds, but we must pay tribute here to the support that we have received in 2011 from Australia.”

    Posted by Eagle Eye | August 25, 2012, 12:34 pm
  2. The old version of the website is not lost πŸ™‚

    “Fund raising in 2011 has enabled us to realise the dream of acquiring a 500 acre tract of land close to Glencoe Wood and wholly within the Glen Etive and Glen Fyne Special Protection Area. This will enable us to help protect and conserve Scotland’s iconic bird of prey, the Golden Eagle. This protected area, to be known as the Highland Titles Nature Reserve, is a large predominantly upland site, rising from sea level to over 1100m. It encompasses a diverse range of habitats including heather moorland, rough grassland, blanket bog, native woodland, montane heaths and exposed rock and scree. There are also freshwater lochans and streams.

    Funding for this Nature Reserve has come directly from all our Lairds, but we must pay tribute here to the support that we have received in 2011 from Australia.”

    Posted by Eagle Eye | August 25, 2012, 12:35 pm
  3. The last time any golden eagle might have called Ardcheal Hill where they now claim this land is home, mammoths and sabre tooth tigers must have been roaming there as well. There hasn’t been an eagle seen there in living memory!

    This as a good one from one of their own sponsored aricles http://www.thelocal.se/41826/20120704 it claims “There are 19 pairs of golden eagles that nest in Glencoe Wood”!!!

    NINETEEN pairs of golden eagles all nesting in a tiny bit of WOODLAND!

    From http://www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/goldeneagle:
    “The golden eagle prefers open, treeless areas to lowland woods”
    “Their territories range in size from 5 – 150 km2”
    “The main threat is from human activity” – yet Highland Titles – Glencoe Estates encourage people to visit and camp there!

    From http://www.snh.org.uk/pdfs/publications/review/132.pdf:
    “Golden Eagles avoid wooded landscapes where tree cover is too dense to allow hunting”
    “In Scotland golden eagles are virtually restricted to open upland landscapes: most birds nest on cliffs”

    Far from protecting golden eagles Highland Titles – Glencoe Estates are supposedly busily plating their land with thousands upon thousands of trees, the worst thing possible to encourage golden eagles!!

    Where are al these cliffs on their land where the golden eagles are nesting? That’s right there aren’t any.

    Posted by Eagle Eye | August 26, 2012, 9:13 am
  4. You forgot to mention that they stole a map of the Glen Etive and Glen Fyne Special Protection Area from Scottish National Heritage and even had the cheek to put that dumb “Glencoe” badge thing on it as if it was their own. They still air it now and then on their Nature Reserve sign.

    SNH made them remove it after they were told it was there.

    This is the one they nicked http://www.snh.gov.uk/docs/B722753.pdf

    Posted by Eagle Eye | August 28, 2012, 11:23 pm
  5. Alex Flewitt also said on her BBC Radio Guernsey interview thet there is 19 pairs of golden eagles nesting on Highland Titles’ land. What a joke, an outright lie, and a demonstration of not having the faintest clue about the golden eagles they are supposedly protecting!

    Posted by Dan Boyle | September 23, 2012, 9:52 am
  6. Look at it this way, even if the Highland Titles Nature Reserve Golden Eagle Sanctuary ever actually existed which looks seriously doubtful, it was a piddling 500 acres in size.

    500 acres is about 0.78 square miles.

    Golden Eagle territories range in size from somewhere around 2 to 60 square miles.

    The area they were supposedly protecting is not even half of the very smallest golden eagle territory!

    What on earth would be the point of that? Specially in an area in which golden eagles are already protected by Scottish law via the existing Scottish National Heritage Special Protection Area.

    Precisely, no point at all, what a joke!

    If that is what Highland Titles Glencoe Estates considers to be a valuable contribution to conservation and worth spending other people money on, I ‘d think you’d be well advised to keep your money, or contribute it to a cause run by people who have at least some small idea about real conservation.

    Posted by Phil | October 8, 2012, 1:26 pm
  7. Quite right Phil, I can’t see any point at all in them leasing land for a year or so to protect Golden Eagles as the existing owner already had a legal obligation to protect them. I am very confident there are no Golden Eagles in that area to protect anyway.

    The Scottish Natural Heritage Glen Etive And Glen Fyne Special Protection Area covers approximately 315 square miles and it was thought back in around 2003 there were 19 pairs of nesting Golden Eagles in the whole of that area. All Highland Titles Glencoe Estates MAY have done, is rent a tiny (0.78 square miles!) bit of ground within that already protected area, and said they had set up a Golden Eagle sanctuary! Sounds good to the uninformed, but quite useless in reality, and very very misleading.

    In areas round there where Golden Eagles are actually found, they are under little threat anyway – http://raptorpolitics.org.uk/2012/08/14/future-awaits-golden-eagle-21st-century/

    “The Blackmount and Glen Coe regions are so mountainous that they are totally unsuitable for shooting driven grouse; as a result, for over two hundred years, estates in these regions have had to focus their commercial sporting interests almost entirely on deer stalking. As the Golden Eagle is not regarded as a major threat to the Red Deer in the two regions, Golden Eagles have remained comparatively free from human persecution”

    I agree with you Phil, Highland Titles display a quite remarkable amount of ignorance about real conservation issues, and obviously have no clue about Golden Eagle protection at all.

    Posted by HelenMcG | October 11, 2012, 10:16 am
  8. It’s just like the Highland Titles salmon fishing con, giving salmon fishing rights in a bit river with no salmon actually in it.

    This time they supposedly had an Golden Eagle sanctuary, even if they did, there is no Golden Eagles actually in it.

    Posted by HelenMcG | October 11, 2012, 10:30 am
  9. It is clear from Highland Titles efforts that conservation was not a course that Bevis paid much attention to during his Zoology degree!

    Posted by Piet B S Jerver | October 25, 2012, 4:24 pm
  10. I see on the Highland Titles new website on the “Heraldry” page it says – “As Laird (Lord) or Lady of Glencoe, you may use specially designed β€œcrest”; the symbol of the Glencoe School of Conservation”

    Hold on …… the Glencoe School of Conservation??? is that the school of conservation where they show you how to take 5 years to plant 10,000 trees and spend over Β£700,000 doing it?

    Are the desperately slow tree planting rate, the huge cost of tree planting, and the eagle sanctuary farce above examples of their education techniques?

    Posted by Mike | November 21, 2012, 12:30 am

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