Image: Hilltrek Outdoors
Anyone who has read some of my past blogs will know I’m not a huge fan of the National Trust. I see them as an out of touch organisation that should stick to managing stately homes and gardens and keep well away from managing our wilder areas. Particularly mountain environments where their approach to access and conservation is lamentable. The NT in Wales has shown great skill in being ripped off by greedy landowners when purchasing estates-witness their purchase of part of Yr Wyddfa and a Nant Gwynant estate at vastly over the market value. Furthermore, on many NT owned estates, access and a right to roam is no more advanced since they took over than when these estates remained in private hands.
However, if the NT in Wales is failing in its duty of care to the natural environment, then its Scottish counterpart, the National Trust for Scotland (NTS) is making the English and Welsh branches look like Earth First! by comparison. Take a look at the letter it sent out to a private company-Hilltrek Outdoor Clothing of Aboyne, Aberdeenshire. In the letter posted by the NTS’s legal representatives-Shepherd Wedderburn of Edinburgh- the Trust is threatening legal action against the company for using the name ‘Glencoe’ for one of its products.
In this case, the ‘Glencoe DV Jacket’ which Hilltrek have been making for 30 years. The NTS is claiming that the name ‘Glencoe’- if you are outside of the UK is the name of a mountain district in the Scottish Highlands-as a registered trademark which can only be used in the manner of an appellation d'origine contrôlée .That is, the name can only be used by those within Glencoe and even then, it is within the gift of the NTS who own the naming rights.
Naturally, those for whom the mountains and wilderness areas are natural environments which should be above such base human matters as litigation and commerce, are overwhelmingly outraged by the crude and insensitive actions of the NTS, and furthermore, asking how on earth a place name can be owned by an organisation? A charitable organisation no less, which is resorting the legal threats and intimidation towards a small Scottish business.
The valley that dare not speak its name!
Once again the National Trust is exposed as an out of touch organisation, run by crusty relics with a 'Middle England’ mentality. Here’s hoping the Hilltrek company can face down this ill conceived legal challenge by the fossilised NTS and those who are currently members of the UK wide National Trust will consider their membership of such an out dated and ill equipped organisation.