Top 10 absent lairds named

11 January 1999

‘Top 10’ absent lairds named

By FWi staff

AN Arab sheikh and one of the richest families in Britain have been named among the 10 lairds with most to fear from the Governments land reform plans for Scotland.

The list was complied by Andy Wightman, author of a comprehensive analysis of land-ownership in Scotland published yesterday in The Sunday Times.

“These are landowners who are throwbacks to the Victorian period when lairds were masters of their dominion,” Mr Wightman is quoted as saying in the newspaper.

The list includes Sheikh Mohammed al-Maktoum, of Dubais ruling family, and Lady Jean Fforde, who controls much of Arran with her son Charles.

Sheikh al-Maktoum had a yacht sunk by local residents angered by his moves to block public access and the harassment of poachers on his estate.

Lady Jean Fforde provoked public anger when she tried to evict a tenant farmer and charged a grieving family while they removed a relatives possessions from a cottage.

The newspaper also lists Lord Burton, who attracted controversy when he banned the Kintail mountain rescue team from his Glenshiel estate after they published a walking guide to the area.

The fortunes of the infamous Knoydart estate, now in the hands of receivers, are also described in the list.

The estate was once controlled by Stephen Hinchcliffe and Christopher Harrison, who are both under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office.

Tenants are trying to buy the land with the help of Cameron Mackintosh, the impresario.

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