Monday, 13 February 2017

Highland Titles - Scottish Woodland Alliance - 10 Year Tree Planting Pledge Farce

We intended to publish this for #HighlandTitlesDay on 10th Feb 2017, we didn't quite make it, but think a few days late isn't going to change the facts or relevance.

Back in 2007 on their website at lairdswood.org.uk (now defunct), the Scottish Woodland Alliance made the following pledge.

"A major funding pledge from Lochaber Highland Estates (CI) Ltd will enable up to 1,000 hectares of new woodland to be created in Scotland over the next ten years.."


A December 2012 archived copy of the page can be seen HERE.

October 2007 version HERE, so we can date the pledge to this date or before.

So who are The Scottish Woodland Alliance? At last update on 22/06/2016 they were. Peter Bevis, his wife Helen McGregor, their daughter Laura Bevis, and son in law Douglas Wilson. The usual Highland Titles suspects,  this is a distinctly family affair.


This can be verified HERE

And we can date control of SWA in 2007 to Peter Bevis, via a Scotsman article HERE

"He (Peter Bevis) shrugs off any suggestion that he avoids British tax - "the business is registered in the Channel Islands because that's where the family's from" - and defends his organisation, the Scottish Woodland Alliance, whose website is linked to Lochaber Highland Estates and encourages its readers to invest in trees at Laird's Wood. He intends to register the alliance as a charity, he explains, to help fund even more tree-planting in Scotland."

This is a very considerable tree planting undertaking (1000 hectares is just short of 2500 acres). Given the same planting density as their own (we believe unfinished) Jubilee Wood project of 500 trees per acre, (lets say around 1,000 trees/hectare), that comes to around 1,000,000 trees. Creating "1000 hectares of new woodland" would have meant planting one million trees in the ten years since 2007.

Eight years on (in 2015), Highland Titles were giving figures of 8,000 trees planted. For example on a Facebook post dated 17th Sept 2015, it was claimed, "Highland Titles have planted around 8000 trees at the Reserve in Duror". That's around than a rather miserly 1000 trees per year. At that rate it's going to take them somewhere around 30 years just to plant the previously mentioned Jubilee Wood.

We think it unlikely that in the final 2 years they planted the outstanding 992,000.

Note the word ‘pledge’. This isn’t a dream or an aspiration. Customers are likely to understand that from the funds they contributed to the novel conservation enterprise that is Highland Titles (then known as Lochaber Highland Estates), money would be be set aside to plant up to 1,000,000 trees over the following ten years.

A common definition of pledge is a solemn promise.

We think this a quite startling example of the Highland Titles mob not coming close to fulfilling one of their promises. But then, this is a Highland Titles pledge.




Saturday, 6 August 2016

Highland Titles Cannot Make You A Laird Lord or Lady It's Official

An article about fake Laird Lord and Lady titles was published in The Times on Friday. It appears that some people have been so taken in by the advertising of con merchants like Highland Titles claiming you can become a Laird Lord or Lady by owning a souvenir plot of land, that they've been applying for a coat of arms from Lord Lyon.

The headline reads "Buying piece of Scotland doesn’t make you a laird or lady"

The start of The Times article can be seen HERE, and a full copy of an open access version is archived HERE.

The Guardian also picked up on the story HERE

We have to chuckle at the protestations of Highland Titles, their quotation from the article reads "In Scotland anyone can, subject to requirements of good faith, call themselves whatever they like, including ‘laird’, ‘lord’ or ‘lady’".

We have no argument with the above, unfortunately that is not what Highland Titles have been telling  and selling to their customers.

Here are two clips from a scan of the "Landowner Handbook" section of the document pack sent out to Highland Titles' customers, taken in Spring 2015.



We can see quite clearly that Highland Titles claim that "As the owner of Scottish land you can legitimately style yourself as a Laird Lord or Lady, and, "The title of Lord or Lady depends on owning Scottish land". Both of these statements are bare faced lies designed to con their customers into believing they own a plot of land and that in so doing they gain a genuine title, it's nonsense.

As we have seen previously ad nauseum, and as pointed out in The Times article, it is not possible to become the owner of a souvenir plot of land in Scotland, whatever Highland Titles or anyone else may tell you.

The other tiny issue is, even if you did actually own the plot, as pointed out in The Times article by Lord Lyon, you still would not gain the rights to any titles at all.
"The Court of the Lord Lyon reiterated that the titles awarded had no legal worth." 
“It is a description rather than a title and is not appropriate for the owner of a normal residential property, far less the owner of a small souvenir plot of land."
Yes in Scotland you can call yourself anything you want, but doing so does not make you become the thing you've called yourself.

Giving yourself a title using descriptive words does not make you become the thing the words describe.

Lets make it simple, giving yourself the title of  'Doctor' doesn't make you a doctor does it? Obviously not. In the same way giving yourself the title of Laird Lord or Lady doesn't make you one, does it?

If you really must call yourself Laird Lord or Lady and have that on your passport you can, but be aware this will become your fist name not your title. Just fill in a free deed poll document available here http://freedeedpoll.org.uk/ fill out the form, follow the instructions, and off you go. There is no need to give a bunch of scammers £29.99 for the privilege, it makes it no more valid.

If you think calling yourself "Lord of Whatever" might get you better seats in restaurants or something, just call yourself that. Banks and credit card companies will change the name on cards if you send a simple free deed poll document, they don't care what you want to be called and do want to keep your custom. Paying good money for a plot of land you can't own makes no difference at all to this.

But Highland Titles have a trademark on Laird of Glencoe and that's what I want to call myself. This makes no difference at all, you are not using it for commercial purposes so you are entirely at liberty to call yourself that, it does not contravene their trademark in any way.

You don't get a title by owning land in Scotland, you don't get a meaningful title by calling yourself a descriptive name. To top it all, you can't own a souvenir plot of land in Scotland. Anybody claiming otherwise and offering to sell you any of the mentioned, is operating a scam.

In our opinion it is a national disgrace that this business has been allowed to carry on for so long without the intervention of regulators. We can see no reason why the law has not been applied to those who peddle this nonsense, and benefit financially from their clear deception.

What others have to say about Highland Titles might interest you

Andy Wightman (now an MSP) asks "Who Owns Lord Glencoe's Plot" HERE

Malcolm Combe Lecturer in Law at Aberdeen University discusses Highland Titles HERE

Craig Anderson Lecturer in law Robert Gordon University letter to the Scotsman HERE

#loveandgarbage discusses Scots land law and Highland Title's claims that their customers become land owners and get a title HERE and HERE

Previous cons operated by the Bevis mob

The website applyehic.org fooling consumers into paying for otherwise free European Health Insurance Cards and other matters is discussed HERE

The Mirror newspaper reveals that Peter Bevis of Highland Titles was behind the Telephone Preference Register website, www.telephonepreference.org.uk which was found by the Advertising Standards Agency to  be "leading users to infer it was a Government service" HERE

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

#HighlandTitlesDay on Twitter 10th February

Today marks the anniversary of when @loveandgarbage replied to a promoted tweet from Highland Titles. The story of the original ensuing Twitter storm is related HERE.

The festivities fairly took off, and we were surprised by how many took part. There were many contributions from regular commentators @trewloy, @MalcolmCombe @NearlyLegal @htscam @andywightman  @stevieg1241 and many others.

We don't have time at the moment to go into blow by blow details, but Malcolm Combe has commented on the day in his blog HERE

You can see some of the highlights here http://twitter.com/hashtag/HighlandTitlesDay

One interesting item which came up was mention of a book by Belgian journalist Julien Oeuillet titled Les Business Des Vanit├ęs. In the book there is mention of Highland Titles and let's just say it is very much less than complimentary. The book is available from Amazon in Kindle and paperback form, and is in French.


Someone had even gone to the trouble of printing up anniversary t-shirts, we liked the t-shirts!





Enough for now, we are quite sure there will be more revelations to come this year, Highland Titles have certainly not given up their conning ways, and we will continue to point them out.

Until then, we wish you a happy Highland Titles Day.



Sunday, 7 February 2016

It All Falls Down For Highland Titles, Again!

In response to our piece last weekend on the ASA ruling against Tulloch Farm Enterprises Ltd, a reader wrote in concerning the legal opinion Tulloch Farm submitted to the ASA. Their analysis forms the basis of this post.

First let’s deal with the “Tulloch Farm” smokescreen. (1) The offending website was lochaberhighlandestates.com. This was Highland Titles’ first website, domain registered 20th May 2006 by “Peter Bevis” of “Lochaber Highland Estates”. Lochaber Highland Estates officially changed their name to Highland Titles in 2012. (2) As we recorded, at the time of the complaint the contact address on the website was for Highland Titles, as was the contact email (support@highlandtitles.com). (3) The directors of Tulloch Farm Enterprises Ltd are Peter Bevis and Helen McGregor of Highland Titles.

Highland Titles’ old legal advice letter was roundly demolished by lawyers and legal academics about this time last year. The purpose of the new legal advice is not to establish the law, as the law is known:

Professor George L Gretton, Lord President Reid Professor of Law at the University of Edinburgh (principal architect of the Land Registration etc. (Scotland) Act 2012, and co-author of the standard work on conveyancing)

“So if a company sells a souvenir plot, the sale cannot be completed. The buyer of the plot does not become owner of the plot. Ownership of such plots remains with the company.”

(Full letter reproduced HERE.)

Scott Wortley of the University of Edinburgh (co-author of “Scottish Land Law, 3rd ed.”, and member of the Joint Consultative Committee between the Registers of Scotland and Law Society of Scotland)

“The legal position is very clear. A sale of land involves a transfer of ownership from seller to buyer. In Scotland a transfer of ownership of land requires registration of the conveyance. … Where there is a souvenir plot the Land Registration (Scotland) Act 2012, following the approach of the 1979 Act, provides that registration cannot take place. And if registration cannot take place there is no transfer of ownership. And consequently no sale of land takes place. This is not difficult. It is not a grey area. It is perfectly clear and is an application of the statutory rules.”

(Comment HERE.)

Correction - Scott Wortley is not a current member of the joint consultative committee. He has not been a member for a few years. See his comment.

Malcolm Combe of the University of Aberdeen and Dr Jill Robbie of the University of Glasgow, writing in the Edinburgh Law Review, “A Square Foot of Old Scotland: Ownership of Souvenir Plots”

(Open access version HERE.)

And more informally, Professor James Chalmers, Regius Professor of Law at the University of Glasgow, put the position concisely on Twitter:


So the purpose of the new advice is not to establish the law. It’s to cover Highland Titles’ arse (“We have legal advice that…”). So how does it fare?
  
We haven’t seen it, but the ASA report the argument as hinging on the notion of “beneficial ownership”: 

“They said that in his report their barrister had confirmed that the purchase of a souvenir plot created beneficial ownership although not a “real right”.”  

“beneficial ownership”. Interesting.

Here’s Professor Martin Hogg, Deputy Head of the School of Law at the University of Edinburgh, writing in 2004

“It has always been a basic principle of the Scots legal system that one either is, or isn’t, the owner of something. There is nothing in between. In particular there is no concept of “beneficial ownership” in Scots law – this is a Common Law concept wholly alien to Scots Law.”


Our correspondent queried this with the obliging Professor Hogg:


So Highland Titles have pinned the legitimacy of their sales on a concept that does not exist in Scots law – that is, in fact, “wholly alien” to Scots law.  

Oh dear.

Based on what we know from the ASA’s account, this horse hasn’t even made it out of the starting gate.  

We would also stress Professor Hogg’s “… one either is, or isn’t, the owner of something. There is nothing in between.” So Highland Titles does not sell land, and its customers are positively not landowners.  

So what went wrong?

The use of the term “barrister QC” (as opposed to “advocate”) has surprised more than one Scots law commentator. In obtaining legal advice, has Highland Titles made the age-old error of mixing up “barrister QC” and “barista (quick coffee)”?  

We include a helpful illustration of the difference.




In a surely ill-advised attempt to outdo the already impressive contribution of their legal advisors, Highland Titles put forward in their defence an explanation of how legal ownership would be possible if the law were other than what it is (“… and would have the right to register as a ‘real’ owner if and when the law changed”). It’s hard to say whether this is the dumbest attempt to defend a broken business model we’ve ever seen, but it’s certainly up there. 

Does all of this matter?

Firstly, to the legally inclined, it lies somewhere between disrespectful and ridiculous. Some might go further – their use of terms like “landowner” clearly suggests the customer is getting something they are not (“How to become a Lord or Lady and help preserve Scotland: Highland Titles offers everyone the chance to become a landowner and self-styled Laird, Lord or Lady for as little as £29.99.”, highlandtitles.com About page, archived HERE).

Secondly, there’s more to Highland Titles than meets the eye. And it’s not good.

Right, we're off to get a coffee. The bloke down the road in the horsehair wig makes a killer latte, even if he does bill £500/hour.

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Highland Titles Mob More Misleading Adverts Say Advertising Standards

Some may have missed this, we didn't! Amongst the rulings published on 20th January by the Advertising Standards Authority was one upheld against Tulloch Farm Enterprises Ltd t/a Lochaber Highland Estates, seen on the ASA website HERE

So who are Tulloch Farm Enterprises Ltd? Yes that's right, those familiar purveyors of the convincing con, part of the Highland Titles mob, Peter Bevis and his wife Helen McGregor, the founders of Highland Titles. The website complained about was www.lochaberhighlandestates.com, although apparently operated by Tulloch Farm Enterprises Ltd, the customer support address given on the website is, Highland Titles, York House, 52, Victoria Street, Alderney.

So what have the Bevis & McGregor dastardly duo been up to now? Well, they've been telling their customers that when they paid for a souvenir plot of land from them, they gained "full rights of ownership" (of the land). Something that they have been entirely aware for a very long time, is simply not true, and their unwitting customers therefore didn't get what they paid for.

We're not going into the Tulloch Farm reply, it seems they've found a lawyer and a barrister to give opinion that buyers get "beneficial ownership" (whatever that actually is), here. Interesting that non of the legal experts wheeled out by the Highland Titles mob, ever seem to point out exactly where in Scots law this mysterious concept of beneficial ownership is actually described, or what rights are gained if it even exists.

We will however point you to others, qualified lawyers, who are much more authoritative on matters of Scottish land law than we are, for their views on the matter. These views tend to differ markedly from the opinions of the legal experts presumably paid for by the Highland Titles mob.

Malcolm Combe, lecturer in law at The University of Aberdeen School Of Law, and an advisor to the Land Reform Review Group, gives his opinion on souvenir plot sales and Highland Titles in general, in this piece titled Highland Titles Scam.

Malcolm Combe again, with an article on ownership of souvenir plots in Scotland HERE

Giles Peaker a partner at Anthony Gold solicitors, gives his opinion of the Highland Titles mob claim that plot buyers end up owning any land HERE

Halliday Campbell, Scottish solicitors give their opinion of Scottish souvenir plot ownership HERE

We may hope that Bevis and McGregor might contact all the customers duped by their website during the time this claim appeared, and offer a full refund as the product has clearly been seriously incorrectly described. Unfortunately, experience tells us, this is extremely unlikely. 

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Highland Titles, Wildcat Haven Is NOT a Charity, Yet You Claim It Is

Back in June 2015 (we pointed it out last October) on Facebook, we found Highland Titles claiming that Wildcat Haven, an organisation which they support, is a charity. " The Wildcat Haven as one of the key charities we support financially". Archived HERE.


Now again in January this year we find them doing it again "A good summary for our newer followers on why this charity ...". Archived HERE


Andy Wightman shares his thoughts on Wildcat Haven on his blog HERE

Wildcat Haven is not a charity. The full name of the company is, Wildcat Haven Community Interest Company, under the category Private Limited Company with Share Capital, with a registered address in Cornwall England. Company details HERE

Highland Titles surely must be aware that Wildcat Haven is not a charity. Firstly, they claim to have been supporting them for years, and you'd think they'd have found that out by now. Secondly, Douglas Wilson, a director of Highland Titles, is also a director of the WH commercial arm called Wildcat Haven Enterprises CIC, as seen HERE

Douglas Wilson was also by his own admission, involved in the rip-off website applyehic.org, a website supplying paid for "form checking" services for otherwise free European Health Insurance Cards. It was reported in the Guardian newspaper that "This week Google removed one of the worst offenders from its ads – Applyehic.org – after we pointed out it appeared to be breaking the rules"

Screen Capture From This Archive


There is an excellent blog detailing the involvement of the Highland Titles mob in the applyehic.org scam HERE

The fact that Highland Titles are claiming that Wildcat Haven is a charity when it is not, was mentioned to Wildcat Haven on twitter on 7th Jan by user Sir Lord Glencoe KBE.

To date there has been no reply from Wildcat Haven, and the Highland Titles Facebook post remains unchanged. Archived today.

So here we have two questionable organisations, Highland Titles and Wildcat Haven, lending credibility and support to one another, with a shared involvement of director Douglas Wilson, where one is claiming the other is a charity when that is not true. Where I came from, some certainly might consider that as deception.

Instead of supporting the above decidedly shady lot, if you are considering lending support for Scottish Wildcats, why not consider supporting Scottish Wildcat Action, which is supported by the Scottish Government.and other official bodies It surely must be a better bet.

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Earl Of Bradford Fake Restaurant Reviews Smear Campaign, And Yes, Highland Titles

A recent story in the Daily Telegraph reveals that restaurants belonging to the Earl Of Bradford have for many years been suffering from a smear campaign of fake reviews aimed at destroying his business. And .also that "The Earl believes the campaign is orchestrated by the owner of one of the fake title companies he exposed".

So what has this got to do with Highland Titles you ask? Well, Bradford blamed Peter Bevis of Highland Titles for some attacks quite some time ago, in writing, on his own website. Having closely reviewed the evidence, we would say, with good reason.

"Peter Bevis, the man behind Highland Titles, has responded to my explanation of why Highland Titles is a scam, by maliciously attacking my two restaurants on the Internet on online review sites, even going so far as to create a fake Daily Telegraph website review of Porters English Restaurant"
Bradford further informs there was an investigation, but the Crown Prosecution Service declined to prosecute. He also claims that Peter Bevis's wife (Helen McGregor) did at one time work for the Crown Prosecution Service.

What we do know for sure, is that Highland Titles have in the past used fake newspaper articles to bolster their image and misquote critics, a technique used in these attacks, This was the subject of an Advertising Standards Authority complaint, and reported in Private Eye magazine issue number 1339 page 11.

We also know that Highland Titles have a history of cyber bullying critics. They attacked Robin Cunninghame Graham, John Duncan, and Stephen Mosley (who complained about HT to the ASA), on the "trolls" page of their website at lairdreviews,com. They used fake identities Susan Friend and John Dixon of Simply Reviews as the supposed operators of that website. The website is not now live.

The Highland Titles mob are not the nice cuddly people they'd have you believe, they have harassed and bullied people who have expressed perfectly legitimate concerns about their operation. What respectable company would stoop to that level?

A far as we are aware, and we are very sure about this, no legal action has to date been taken against Bradford for his allegation.

Food for thought we'd say.

Oh, others have also suffered some quite horrendous cyber bullying attacks after expressing concern about "fake titles" vendors. That may well be the subject of a future post.

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Highland Titles Whining About The Independent Press Standards Organisation

Today we take a look at Highland Titles whining that an apology from the Press & Journal wasn’t prominent enough, while cranking out wholly fake newspaper stories to harass their critics.

Well here's a thing... Douglas Wilson, of Highland Titles and applyehic fame, is one of the signatories to a letter in the Guardian to Sir Alan Moses complaining about their treatment at the hands of IPSO.

Wilson's grievance is described as ‘Complained about an obviously inaccurate article in a Scottish newspaper. Upheld, but the correction was tiny compared to the damaging article.

This refers to a story in the Press & Journal that reported criticism of Highland Titles by the operator of the 'Clan Donald Worldwide' Facebook page as coming from Clan Donald. The P&J published an apology but Highland Titles felt it wasn't prominent enough. Erroneous though the attribution was, the article could hardly have been said to misrepresent clan sentiment – the Convenor of the Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs, Sir Malcolm McGregor, wrote the following earlier this year
"The lawyers have clarified that purchasing a souvenir plot of land in Scotland does not mean the purchaser owns the plot. It is still owned, in this case, by Highland Titles. 
The lawyers have also confirmed that purchasers of souvenir plots are emphatically not landowners. 
Separately, though connected, the titles aspect of this saga also lacks authenticity. 
First, only the Lyon Court can confer genuine titles in Scotland. No one else, and certainly not Highland Titles. 
Second, there can only be one laird or title per geographical location. Highland Titles uses Glencoe. The genuine laird, or chieftain, MacIain of Glencoe (Clan Donald), was murdered on this day in 1692, the day of the infamous massacre. The title belongs to him and his descendants, and no one else. To suggest, as Highland Titles does, that there can be thousands of lairds or Lords of Glencoe is false. 
Third, the actual place from which the title ‘of Glencoe’ is taken is in fact woodland at Duror, 10 miles away and has nothing to do with Glencoe geographically. 
Fourth, the title of ‘laird’ or indeed Lord/Lady is not, and never has been, associated with a souvenir plot of land. Neither Lyon Court nor anyone else would recognise such a claim in respect of souvenir plots. Lyon has said as much in correspondence. 
Highland Titles tend to work overseas where there is less knowledge of these matters. They rarely, if ever, operate in Scotland where they would be laughed out of court. Which is exactly what has happened. 
Malcolm MacGregor of MacGregor
Convenor
Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs"
Additionally, the notion expressed in the P&J article quotations that taking ‘Glencoe’ – known to history for the massacre of 1692 – as a title might be seen as insensitive is well-established. From the Dictionary of Canadian Biography entry for Lord Strathcona, who built Glencoe House:
"When news leaked out that he had chosen the title Lord Glencoe, after a glen where Scottish chieftains had been slaughtered in 1692, a glen he had only recently acquired, colleagues prevailed on him to reconsider. He created the name Strathcona, a Gaelic variant on Glencoe."
Having got the P&J article taken down and an apology printed, an organisation so concerned with setting the record straight will no doubt be keen to apologise to the Earl of Bradford over the fake Daily Telegraph and Evening Standard stories reporting an outbreak of food poisoning at his restaurant, for which the Earl believes Highland Titles was responsible (with very good reason, we would say, having closely reviewed the evidence. It further goes without saying that if the Earl’s allegations were false, Highland Titles would certainly have taken legal action).

Highland Titles also owes an apology to Rob Gibson MSP, the Scottish Parliament's Rural Affairs spokesman, having fabricated a bunch of quotes from him in support of square-foot lairdship schemes for a fake Daily Record article they created. The quotes inverted Gibson's actual statements. The ASA and Private Eye exposed Highland Titles' fake newspaper story server, newsfeed.ws, nearly 3 years ago now (although not specifically reporting the Daily Record/Rob Gibson fake – both the Record and Rob Gibson are, however, aware), so the apology is a little overdue.

The victims of Highland Titles’ dirty tricks and their applyehic operation must be staggered at the hypocrisy of them now crying foul. And over what – an unintended confusion (the P&J withdrew the article as soon as it was pointed out) for which Highland Titles received a printed apology. This from a company that cranks out wholly fake Daily Telegraph/Evening Standard/Daily Record stories to harass and bully their critics.

And the less said about Wilson's second IPSO complaint, this time against the Daily Record, the better. There are many points of interest in the complaint and we examine it in more detail in another post. Among the supposed inaccuracies which Douglas Wilson of Highland Titles complained of, to pick one example: ‘The complainant [Wilson] said that the CEO of the company, Dr Peter Bevis, does not live in Spean Bridge, as reported, but in Alderney. He had not lived in the Highlands since 2006.’

We have no doubt that for tax purposes Dr Bevis is domiciled in Alderney, but when a recent puff piece for Dr Bevis's bellringing centre begins, "A LOCHABER couple [Bevis and his wife] will be ringing in the New Year in style with the help of the 20 bells in the bell towers at their home [the bell towers are in their home near Spean Bridge, where Wilson says Bevis does not live and has not lived since 2006]." the accusation of inaccuracy Wilson levelled at the Record stretches credulity more than a little.

The Record offered an apology for this ;error'.

Highland Titles, on the other hand, remain wholly unapologetic about their own behaviour.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Highland Titles - Peter Bevis Caught Lying About Conservtion Work

Back in the day, Highland Titles MD Peter Bevis would from time to time weigh in personally to defend his dodgy enterprise. Nowadays these efforts are continued by the ‘anonymous’ site highlandtitlesscam.com, which affords a fig leaf of deniability if things are said that shouldn’t have been.

We are grateful to a reader who turned up the following on archive.org. Even if Peter Bevis had not published the blog in his own name (scroll to the end of the blog - Posted 17th August 2012 by Peter Bevis), the superior, patronising, unpleasant tone is quite unmistakable to connoisseurs.

An archive of the blog can be seen HERE, and there is a pdf file copy HERE.

There are a number of aspects of this piece that perhaps merit comment, but for the moment we’ll focus on just one.

We were impressed that in a relatively short blog the word ‘lie’ or ‘lying’ is used no less than 14 times (count them) in dismissing the concerns raised by Robin Cunninghame Graham. Could there perhaps be some message the author is trying to get across? (Other than that the author is hell-bent on fuelling a defamation suit.)

This typically pungent paragraph caught our eye: “Another naughty lie, Robin. … They [our customers] see for themselves the 10,000 trees that we planted last year and the thousands of trees planted in previous years. … You can tell lies on your web site. Everyone who reads your lies and subsequently visits Keil Hill will immediately have proof of your lies.”

Just to let us know that wasn’t a typo, Peter Bevis repeats essentially the same claim in different wording further on: “What you meant to write was “I have absolutely no idea about the 10,000 trees planted at Keil Hill last winter because I live in Spain. …””

Note, The article was posted 17th August 2012.

Which creates a problem, since in their 5 Year Plan published in 2014, Highland Titles wrote of 5,000 trees planted over the first 5 years.

This year, according to Highland Titles' local representative Stewart Borland, the figure has reached around 8,000 trees.


This figure of around 8000 trees planted is confirmed on a Highland Titles Facebook post from 17 September 2015. Archived HERE




All very commendable, except it means Bevis’s rebuttal of Cunninghame Graham’s concerns in 2012 was a perfectly shameless lie. After 8 years at Keil Hill, Highland Titles’ plantings haven’t totalled the number Bevis claimed were planted just in winter 2011/12. From Highland Titles’ own later figures, the actual rate of planting over the first 5 years was on average 1,000 trees/year. Bevis inflated this by a factor of 10, likely reasoning that no one was in a position to count the plantings and contradict him. At that time Bevis was in all likelihood making more money from his EHIC operation than from Highland Titles and didn’t give much thought to how his lie would hold up in the future.

This should serve as a cautionary tale to anyone tempted to take the word of Peter Bevis seriously. Sadly we know from past experience that it won’t – his advocates will continue to find excuses for him or otherwise turn a blind eye.



Thursday, 12 November 2015

More Highland Titles Fake Sock Puppet Support

In our last post we found that a sock puppet had used the name of famous author Val McDermid to post nice comments about Highland Titles, when in the opinion of the real Val McDermid they are "charlatans and scammers", a view we fully support.

Now on the pro Highland Titles website highlandtitlesscam.com (does anyone actually really believe HT are not in control of this website?), we find another sock puppet posting flattering comments in support of Highland Titles, while pretending to be "Nature of Scotland Awards". This is an award scheme run by the Royal Society For The Protection of Birds (RSPB).

The page with the comment is archived here - https://archive.is/rp9x1#selection-1691.0-1723.123

The Fake Sock Puppet Comment

When asked on Twitter, the RSPB who run the awards scheme immediately confirmed that they did not post that comment.
RSPB  Twitter Question And Answer



That makes two recent comments showing support for Highland Titles, positively confirmed as being fakes made by sock puppets. One might wonder how many of the other nice comments about Highland Titles plastered all over the internet, are in fact also fakes?

There are other suspicious comments, who for instance would believe that the National Trust would take the time to post a comment (June 21, 2015 at 12:45 am) on that same page giving mountaineering advice? That really does not seem very likely does it?


Or the coincidence that someone calling themselves Chas Mac Donald would post such nice comments when there is also a Chas MacDonald, owner of the Clan MacDonald Worldwide Facebook page who has criticised Highland Titles heavily on several occasions.



Or that someone calling themselves Amanda would post scathing, possibly libelous comments, about Rob Gibson MSP, when there is an Amanda Moffet of Scotclans who is a known fierce critic of Highland Titles? Rob Gibson has noted his dislike of schemes like that run by Highland Titles, and Highland Titles have used a fake newspaper article using fake quotations from Mr Gibson to falsely bolster their image.


There are comments supporting Highland Titles which have been made using sock puppets, that is proven, and there are many other highly suspicious favorable comments.

Did Highland Titles post any of them? In my own opinion, taking into account my knowledge of how they operate and their past behaviour, there is little doubt, but as there obviously cannot be absolute proof, you'll have to make up your own mind.