Marhofn 212.12 - May 2010

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Bad Company

Alan Dawson

There were no dogs and no guns involved, but the worst GOML encounter I have ever had was in trying to gain access to Bioda Mor on Dun. A diplomatic delegation of four was selected to negotiate with the warden on Hirta, who remained hostile throughout the discussion, even though we were so deferential it felt like boot-licking. We had advance permission from senior NTS staff and we had a senior RSPB expert in our party, but it was clear that the warden did not want any of us on the island, which he seemed to regard as his personal property. He followed the classic GOML tactic of changing the grounds for objection. We offered to walk in line, following in each other's footsteps. He didn't like that. We offered to spread out. He didn't want that either. We offered to record plant species. He liked that idea but then had to spite himself and retract when it transpired that the botanist was Rob, who had been on Dun before and therefore had been barred from stepping ashore again. The warden's negative and hostile attitude spoiled what should have been a brilliant experience and in my opinion was a disgrace to the NTS, an organisation whose motto is 'a place for everyone'.

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