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03 Feb

Visitors to Queen's View in Glen Avon, where Queen Victoria used to look out on her Royal fiefdom, now look down on land owned by the mysterious businessman behind the Kuala Lumpur-based Andras conglomerate.That showed that land ownership patterns could change.Since then we have had controversies over the Knoydart estate and other Highland wilderness areas.While far-sighted landowners are welcome, they say new measures should be introduced to limit the size of their holdings and to remove those who neglect their land.Later this year, the Scottish National Party, which has set up an independent land commission, will unveil new proposals.

HALF of Scotland is owned by just 500 people, few of whom are actually Scots.

As Britain's great land-owning aristocratic families decline, a new breed of foreign laird is exploiting Scotland's arcane land laws to buy up tracts of the Highlands and islands - Europe's last great wilderness.

He bought the 40,000-acre estate, once owned by the Wills family, for pounds 6m last year.

Some ancient aristocratic families have hit the buffers in spectacular fashion.

Their old money is still good and some of their estates have expanded.

But other families have fallen on hard times and a new group of landowners has stepped in swiftly to take their place.