Angus Glens landowner ordered to remove unauthorised vehicle track

Press release from Scottish Ramblers, working on behalf of Scottish Environment LINK Hilltracks Group

7 October 2019

Landowner told to remove track scarring Cairngorms hill

A landowner in the Cairngorms National Park has been ordered to remove a controversial vehicle track that is visible from miles around in scenic Glen Clova, Angus.

Campaigners have welcomed Cairngorms National Park Authority’s enforcement notice against the ugly vehicle track, which appears to be used to support field sports.

The landowner – registered to Pitlivie Farm in Carnoustie – has been given until October 2020 to restore the upper part of the track, which is 1.5km long and has created spoil mounds up to 10 metres wide. They have also been told to seek retrospective permission by 23 December 2019 for changes to a separate section of track lower down the hillside.

[The unauthorised track in Glen Clova. Photo from Ramblers Scotland]

Such tracks made national headlines this year when the Scottish Parliament voted against Planning Bill amendments from Scottish Green Party MSP Andy Wightman which would have closed loopholes and introduced stricter controls over their construction.

Helen Todd is Ramblers Scotland’s policy manager and co-convener of the LINK Hilltracks group, which continues to campaign for stronger public oversight of upland vehicle tracks.

Ms Todd: “We commend the Cairngorms National Park Authority for taking decisive action against this ugly and unauthorised track, which is a scar upon the landscape in this historic, protected glen.

It is one of very few examples of an authority being able to spend the time and money required to retrospectively tackle inappropriate tracks, which for too long have been creeping further and further into wild landscapes.

I hope that other landowners across Scotland will take notice of the Glen Clova order, which will force the person who built this track to pay for an expensive restoration job.”

Beryl Leatherland, of Scottish Wild Land Group and co-convener of the LINK Hilltracks group said: “The case highlights the urgent need for the Scottish Government to introduce stronger controls over vehicle tracks in our hills – to boost local democracy, improve construction standards and protect precious environments from further damage.”

The Scottish Government last week announced that hill tracks will be one of the top priorities in its forthcoming review of ‘Permitted Development Rights’, which governs which types of developments can bypass the full planning permission process.

Currently, landowners simply need to tell authorities before building tracks which are said to support ‘agriculture or forestry’ – and full planning permission is generally not required. Campaigners believe these tracks are often created to support shooting activities.

Research published last year by the Scottish Environment LINK Hilltracks group found that vehicle tracks continue to expand further into Scotland’s mountain landscapes, and that weak planning processes can lead to them being badly-sited and designed.

Some tracks have even been built over the top of narrow, low-impact trails and historical routes, with little chance for the public to comment in advance.


How refreshing to see a landowner held to account for causing environmental damage apparently in pursuit of fieldsports. Well done to Scottish Environment Link’s Hilltracks Group for its campaigning work and well done to the Cairngorms National Park Authority for issuing an enforcement notice. More of this, please!

Helen Todd and Beryl Leatherland gave a compelling presentation at the Revive conference in Perth in August (see video below). Unauthorised hilltracks are part of Revive’s campaign for grouse moor reform and you can read more about this in Revive’s report here.

6 Responses to “Angus Glens landowner ordered to remove unauthorised vehicle track”

  1. 1 Dave Morris
    October 9, 2019 at 12:26 pm

    The hill track/road construction problem in Scotland has been very well documented since the 1960s when Cairngorms expert Dr Adam Watson first rang the alarm bells. The evidence has been there for decades. But no politician in parliament at UK or Scottish level, except the Green MSP Andy Wightman, has made any effort to bring this deplorable impact on our wild landscapes under proper control. We need to correct this situation at the next elections to the Scottish Parliament. This can be achieved by ensuring that we only elect politicians who are prepared to prohibit the construction of such tracks and roads in all notified Wild Land Areas and, in all other locations, to subject them to full planning control procedures.

  2. 2 Hil
    October 9, 2019 at 12:43 pm

    How refreshing to read some good news for once!

  3. 3 Greyandblue
    October 9, 2019 at 1:11 pm

    Un-named Carnoustie landowner…’But, but, dont you know who I am’. :)

  4. 4 Mr Carbo .
    October 9, 2019 at 3:00 pm

    Yes greyandblue , us locals know fine who you are . And not the first time unwanted development by you has been challenged .

  5. 5 Les Wallace
    October 10, 2019 at 3:22 pm

    Mmmm….the SGA has very recently run a feature on its FB page about the supposed damage ramblers and tourism in general are causing to the hills by creating wide eroding paths. Some rather extravagant comments added about paths becoming 20 metres wide etc. Wonder what drove that!?! They fail to mention of course the massive amount of work real conservation organisations such as the John Muir Trust have done in repairing and maintaining paths. Some people actually pay to go on conservation ‘holidays’ to do this for nothing. Compare that with those self proclaimed stewards of the land who are so because they define what they’re paid to do – burning and killing to have lots of grouse for others to shoot for fun – as good for conservation….oh yes and bulldoze tracks across moors so wheezy stock brokers can be taken by ATV to their butts.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Blog Stats

  • 6,007,544 hits

Recent Comments


Our recent blog visitors