I met Bonnie Vandesteeg when she stayed in my self-catering cottage in September 2021. We got chatting and she revealed that she had literally just published a book and kindly gave me a copy. I was very interested to read it and, knowing that Bonnie was returning in January 2022, it went straight to the top of my reading pile.
Land for what? Land for whom? is a really interesting read for anyone who lives in, works in, visits or loves Scotland. Bonnie is an anthropologist and her book is the result of a research project. It is therefore written in a particular style and it comes from a scientific background.
Bonnie addresses the issue of conflict around land use but unlike many other authors she is recording deeply held viewpoints from a diverse range of groups and individuals. It is so interesting to read about how people from different groups relate to the landscape; farmers, mountaineers, bird watchers, stalkers, conservationists, they are all deeply involved, hold the Scottish landscape dear and fundamentally have the same love and appreciation of the natural world.
Is it inevitable that people with different priorities will end up in situations of conflict? Perhaps a lack of understanding or deeply ingrained prejudice or intolerance are part of the reason but somehow, we all have to share and work alongside each other (if not together) within the natural environment. Permeant[JH1] residents, part time residents, visitors, landowners, conservationists, business owners, environmentalists, representatives of the Scottish Government, there are many, many people with interests in Scotland’s future. Bonnie Vandesteeg’s book sets out these issues and conflicting viewpoints in a clear and insightful way. Having read the book, I look at the countryside and contemporary issues in a different light.
Ardormie Farm Cottage