The Real Monarch…

I don’t know if anyone has been watching the BBC Scotland series called “The Real Monarch of The Glen”? One of the beauties of digital TV (certainly Sky), is the ability to pick up all the regional variations of the BBC schedule.

The series is following the attempts by Paul Lister to “rewild” his Alladale estate in the Highlands of Scotland, which basically involves releasing wolves, bears, wild boar, lynx and elk back into the countryside – oh yes and fencing off tens of thousands of acres into the bargain – preventing access to walkers who have a right to roam in Scotland far in excess of anything in England and Wales.

So far the series has only shown the story from Lister’s point of view. Except for 2 seconds of Cameron McNeish’s dissenting voice on the first episode and nothing else since. There seems to be a lack of balance from the BBC here – which I am hoping will be addresses in future episodes.

Unfortunately, the more I watch the series, the more I find myself liking Lister and I certainly share his passion for bringing these species back to our highlands, but just can’t agree with the methods.

The fencing off of so much land can surely only return us to the bad old days of lairds and tennants and forced removals and the mass trespasses of the 60’s in Derbyshire and surrounds. No-one should be able to own so much land and prevent others from enjoying it. I’m not speaking politically, just morally.

I have no idea how far behind “real time” the series is running, but so far he has introduced wild boar into a 500 acre test enclosure and next appears to be the elk.

lonewalker

Fell-walker, trig-pointer, peak-bagger, Wainwright-er & Pennine Way author, with a passion for long paths, malt whisky, fast cars & Man City

3 Responses

  1. Arnold says:

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  2. lonewalker says:

    Hi james,

    Thanks for putting some date context on this series.
    I’ve watched all the programmes now, except last Monday’s which is still in the Sky+ box and I still wonder how a happy medium can ever be achieved between bringing back these wild species and defending the hard won rights of the ramblers.
    You are absolutely right that species like wolves and bears can never be allowed to roam completely free through our countryside – and I also mean for their own safety, rather than ours, but protecting them by fencing off huge tracts of land is something I struggle to accept.
    I’m increasingly beginning to have no strong opinion on this issue, one way or the other. If Lister pulls off his dream then great and I’d probably accept the loss of this huge open space, in exchange for the thought of these animals gaining a foothold in the UK again. On the other hand if it all turns sour and his plans are scuppered from whatever quarter then I’d probably accept that too.
    This is a really hard issue for me.

    As a side issue, I use the M40 a lot and its a pleasure to see the Red Kites flourishing along the lower lengths of that motorway – they seem to be increasing in numbers.

  3. James Aston says:

    Hi

    This series dates back to 2003 and I, like many others, am extremely exited to see Paul and Hugh’s reintroduction of native Scottish species come to fruition. I understand and appreciate Cameron McNeish’s viewpoint regarding true rewilding and outdoor access, the reintroduction of our extinct wild animals is a very sensitive issue, especially into an time where there are considerably more people with the same attidude towards our wildlife as their predecessors. There are more trigger-happy people these days than ever before and incidents of animal and raptor persecution is very much on the increase. It is difficult enough protecting the wildlife that remains without reintroducing animals such as Wolves, Bears and Lynx – hunters would think that they are in heaven. I totally agree with Paul and Hugh that although there does exist several areas of true wilderness in the beautiful Scottish Highlands, predators such as these must be protected by fences. It may appear to be just another Woburn or Whipsnade but the harsh reality is clear to all. It is an absolutely wonderful idea that all of the wild animals that man had made extinct in the past could be reinstated in Scotland, they have every right to be here. The reintroduction of Sea Eagles, Osprey and Kites is proving more difficult than expected because of totally unnecessary persecution.

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