Produced by The Local’s Creative Studio in partnership with Highland TitlesAre These Celebrities Descendants of Scottish Clans? | Highland Titles

 How to become a Lord or Lady 

(and help save the Scottish Highlands)

The Highland Titles Nature Reserve from above, Video: Highland Titles

Imagine it: You’re standing on a gently sloping hillside, looking out on a majestic snow-capped mountain ridge. The morning air is crisp, the subtle scent of heather mixing with the earthy peat. These are the Scottish Highlands – and you own a part of it, as a Laird (Lord) or Lady.

For centuries, the Scottish Highlands were under the stewardship of Lairds, landowners who would manage their estate for farming, hunting and fishing.

These Lairds, drawn from the Highland clans, have become part of Scottish tradition and folklore, inspiring books and TV shows such as ‘Outlander’ and ‘Rob Roy’ (based on the life of the Scottish outlaw). 

Together with Highland Titles, we show you how you can join their ranks, while contributing to the conservation of the Scottish Highlands, restoring the countryside and bringing back vital native species

an osprey on the hunt, in flight with a fish caught in a lake in northern finland

   An osprey snatches a fish from a loch. Photo: Getty Images

Salachan Burn bubbles and flows. Photo: Highland Titles

Lords and Ladies of Glencoe

Devoted to preserving the unspoiled, wild beauty of the Highlands, the family-run Highland Titles hit upon the idea of utilising a unique aspect of Scottish law.  In exchange for purchasing a small plot of land – as small as one square foot – buyers could legally term themselves a Lord, ‘Laird’ or Lady of Glencoe. 

As Director Doug Wilson tells us: “Souvenir plots have been sold in the United Kingdom since at least 1971. Now, they’re only available in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

“You get what’s known as a personal right to a plot of land. It’s a valid and legal form of ownership that can be passed onto future generations.”

Since its establishment in 2007, Highland Titles has drawn customers from Australia, the United States and all over the world, keen to take on a title and own a piece of the Highlands.  

Positive publicity from around the world allowed Highland Titles to expand to own four other properties in the surrounding area, which are now being returned to a wild and natural state.

The majesty of the Scottish Highlands, seen from the Highland Titles Nature Reserve. Photo: Highland Titles

Guardians of the Glen

From the beginning, sustainable conservation of the Glencoe region was at the forefront of Highland Titles’ dreams for growth – and one that Wilson knew would take years to make a reality.  “Conservation is frustratingly long-term,” he says.

Access paths had to be built into the reserves, fences built and native plants and wildlife reintroduced. It was, by no means, something achieved overnight and without the help of many volunteers.

Yet, since its founding, Highland Titles has managed to re-establish populations of  osprey, squirrels and hedgehogs within its reserves. It even runs a hospital for injured hedgehogs, that is assisting in their repopulation efforts. 

Trail cameras regularly catch deer, foxes, squirrels and other mammals and bird life making the nature reserves their home, and the company continuously consults its property owners – that is to say, the Lairds and Ladies of Glencoe – on what species should be prioritized next in their conservation efforts.

A red squirrel enjoys a snack in the Highland Titles Nature Reserve. Video: Highland Titles


“I genuinely believe we sell the most engaging gift in the world.”

An ongoing investment

Engagement with their community of landowners is at the core of Highland Titles’ every day operations.

“I genuinely believe we sell the most engaging gift in the world,” says Wilson of its land ownership offerings.

“There’s not another company like us that converses so often and so well with our customers.

“We meet thousands of people every year at the nature reserve, and we hold the Highland Gathering, a two-day event.

“We get people who can’t believe what we’re doing. A few year ago we showed two people up to their plot and gave them a tour. 

“They were dumbfounded and asked us ‘How can you do this? We gave you £30 ten years ago!’”

Lords, Lairds or Ladies can visit the Highland Titles Nature Reserve at Duror, near Glencoe and be shown their plot at any time. Volunteers will help them find their plot, and show them the progress made possible by their support.

For those Lords and Ladies that decide to visit their plot, a number of local accommodation and service providers offer discounts to Highland Titles customers.

A gift that will last a lifetime

Becoming a Laird or Lady is easy on the Highland Titles website. Customers can choose to receive a luxury physical gift pack, or an eco-friendly digital gift pack that is proving to be an extremely popular option with last-minute shoppers and the environmentally conscious, as the digital pack is instantly available. With Christmas coming up, they make an ideal gift.

Whatever you choose, you can be sure the gift of land will last forever!

TRAVEL

You might soon need a ticket to visit one of Italy’s most beautiful beaches

A town in Sardinia is considering selling entry tickets to the famed La Pelosa beach as a way to limit visitor numbers and raise funds.

You might soon need a ticket to visit one of Italy's most beautiful beaches
Holidaymakers on La Pelosa beach, one of Sardinia's most famous. Photo: DepositPhotos

Fine white sand and turquoise waters have made La Pelosa, in the town of Stintino on the north-west tip of Sardinia, one of the island's most popular beaches – but authorities have long struggled to protect its natural charms from the thousands of holidaymakers who flock to it each day in summertime.

Now local mayor Antonio Diana is planning the most radical measure yet: a limit on visitors, enforced by means of a paid entry ticket.

After environmental impact studies warned of the potential damage overcrowding could do to La Pelosa, authorities will try capping visitor numbers at around 1,500 per day in summer 2020, Diana told a meeting of the local council last weekend.

READ ALSO:

“It will be an experiment,” according to the mayor, who said that the entry fee would help pay for the supervision and maintenance of the beach.

“The ticket will allow us to cover costs at La Pelosa and put the rest of the proceeds towards cleaning and maintaining other beaches. I'm convinced we'll get a good result,” said councillor for tourism Francesca Demontis.

The council has previously tried banning towels and beach bags as a means to stop beachgoers picking up La Pelosa's pristine sand – accidentally or otherwise – and taking it home with them. It also plans to remove the paved road that leads to the beach to make it harder to access by car. 

While some locals have criticized the restrictions on what remains a public beach, the mayor insists that protecting the fragile coastline must come first.


La Pelosa attracts thousands of beachgoers each day at the height of summer. Photo: DepositPhotos

Sardinia sees several tonnes of sand, shells and stones disappear from its picture-perfect beaches every year, whether caught in damp towels or deliberately stolen as a souvenir. Stealing the island's protected natural resources is punishable by a fine of up to €3,000 and even prison time, and customs agents systematically search departing travellers' luggage for smuggled sand.

Stintino isn't the only tourist hotspot in Italy seeking to regulate the crowds. Venice has announced plans to introduce an entry fee for day-trippers from July, while authorities in the Cinque Terre are pushing train companies to help them limit the number of people who can pack into the coastal villages at once.

READ ALSO: 

SHOW COMMENTS