Royal Dornoch asked to pay £2m for grazing rights

Emma Williams
By Emma Williams October 10, 2016 12:41

The historic Royal Dornoch Golf Club has been asked to pay £2 million to a crofter in exchange for him giving up his right to graze sheep and cattle on its land.

Part of the exclusive golf course lies within the ancient common grazings of Hilton of Embo, near Dornoch, which has existed under crofting law since the 19th century.

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And this means that crofter Kenneth Hassall has shares in land on five holes of Royal Dornoch’s golf course, meaning he has the right to graze livestock on it.

Unsurprisingly, the golf club wants to reach a deal in which the grazing is stopped, but it values the 93 acres of land at just less than £33,000.

The crofter, who says he has 150 sheep and 20 cattle, has told herald scotland that he and other local crofters are “short of land”.

Mr Hassall said: “We would be entitled to exercise our rights on the common grazing and we are short of land.

“We got our valuation from a reputable firm, Strutt and Parker.”

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The affected land was sold by the Sutherland Estate to the club in 1972, but the common grazing rights did not come as part of the deal.

Mr Hassall received his valuation of the land in December 2014, with it being said to be worth £1,974,962.50.

However, the club only valued the land at £32,965.

In the time since, the club has agreed financial settlements with other crofters who have grazing rights on its land, leaving just Mr Hassall to settle.

Some locals are unimpressed by Mr Hassall’s stand, stated the paper.

Jim McGillivray, a local councillor who lives in Embo, said: “I find it deeply regrettable that anyone would think to interfere with the operation of what is Dornoch’s fundamental economic driver.”

The golf club was established 139 years ago in 1877, and was awarded its royal status in 1906. The design of the championship course is attributed to Old Tom Morris.

Former Ryder Cup captain and Open winner Tom Watson is an honorary member.

 

Emma Williams
By Emma Williams October 10, 2016 12:41
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