Lord it over others with a land title

The Highland Titles nature reserve of Glencoe Wood.
The Highland Titles nature reserve of Glencoe Wood. PHOTO: HIGHLAND TITLES

(THE NEW PAPER) - For some people, the most challenging part of gift-giving is figuring out the perfect present, especially for a person who seems to have everything or is difficult to buy for.

Now, your loved one can be conferred the title of Lord, Lady or Laird of Glencoe - or Lochaber - and become a proud owner of a slice of the Scottish Highlands.

British company Highland Titles allows interested parties to purchase a souvenir plot of land from its website.

These range from about $60 for 1 sq ft to $970 for 1,000 sq ft on the Highland Titles' two nature reserves in Glencoe Wood and Mountain View.

Proceeds go towards conservation work, to help preserve Scotland's wilderness, thus saving the country "one square foot at a time".

Scotland's official tourism board, Visit Scotland, recently awarded the Highland Titles' nature reserve at Glencoe Wood four out of five stars as a tourist attraction.

The area is protected by a warden and land owners can use the Highland Titles smartphone app to direct them to their plot, should they find themselves at the estate.

Lord Stephen Rossiter, global spokesman for Highland Titles who was in town recently to promote the environmental project, said: "Singapore has the world's highest concentration of millionaires per capita, but most of them cannot call themselves Lord or Lady."

Traditionally, the title of Laird is given to a Scottish land owner, which translates to Lord or Lady in English, and can replace salutations such as Mr or Mrs.

Lord Rossiter, 51, added: "We have people who buy it because they love the conservation aspect, (they are) going to Scotland for a holiday and (there are)those who buy it for others."

Singaporeans sign up

Since the first Highland Titles nature reserve opened a decade ago, the international community of Lords, Ladies and Lairds of Glencoe and Lochaber has around 200,000 members, including about 36 Singaporeans.

Some famous names include American pop star Lady Gaga and English singer and TV personality Cheryl Cole, who was gifted land by English reality TV judge Simon Cowell, her former colleague on the reality TV show, The X Factor UK.

The French are Highland Titles' largest market, but that could change when its Chinese website is officially launched this month.

"At the moment, we don't have a lot of business in the Asian market, but we feel this is a wonderful gift Asians can embrace and enjoy," said Lord Rossiter.

Boasting walkways, paths and reception counters in shepherd huts, the Highland Titles nature reserve has also boosted tourism in Glencoe, which is two hours north of Glasgow. The area is open to the public, but cannot be used to erect buildings or as a hunting ground.

Some people even scatter the ashes of their loved ones there or pass down the ownership of the land to family members.

Lord Rossiter said: "While they used to just pass through Glencoe, tourists are now staying in the local hotels and bed and breakfasts, and going to see the land in Glencoe Wood, so we have put a lot of money into the local economy."