Land for what? Land For Whom? Senses of Place and conflict in the Scottish highlands

To be published on September 15th. Price: 7.99. It will be available soon in bookshops or you can order direct at

This book explores the various conflicts that exist between livelihood, recreation and conservation approaches to land use. Based on detailed ethnographic research it seeks to express the views, concerns and feelings of those who often do not have a voice on public platforms. It considers various ways that these conflicts can be overcome in order for us all to work together to ensure both the well-being of people and the planet.

To get a flavour of the book, here are some extracts.

“The local people can never be trusted to run a National Park. Anyone who would build a railway up a mountain can’t care very much about the environment. They’re just greedy.”

Conservationist living in the area

“We don’t want all those conservationists parachuting in from down South and telling us what we can and can’t do. They don’t realise that we have to make a living.”

Employee of ski shop

“The locals don’t value what they have. They never go out in the hills to see what’s there.”

Hill walker visiting the area

“The conservationists just want us to gaze at the land from the outside, as something pristine and pure. They don’t want us to get active enjoyment from it.”

Cairngorm Partnership Recreation Forum member

“A man from a local tourist attraction had launched into a torrent of abuse against those who would be “parachuted in from the South to dominate the Park Board”. The main enemy were conservationists from organisations like the RSPB and the WWF. Many others had similar comments but he was the most vehement. I was sitting next to him and when the meeting was over, I took the opportunity of asking for clarification on his views. We chatted awhile and then he pointed out someone well known for his interest in conservation and opposition to the funicular. He spoke favourably about him, saying how much he had done for the area. I pointed out what I saw was a contradiction in his views. I thought you didn’t like conservationists. He had a ready explanation: this man was OK, as was the RSPB Warden at Insh Marshes. They were different. They cared about the local community.”

Excerpt from research diary