The substantial Auch Estate, sprawling over 28,000 odd acres from Argyll to Perth, is for sale, through Knight Frank.
Puffed as offering salmon fishing in a west highland river, the Orchy and an east highland one, the Lyon, the estate indeed has a smell of fish rather than roses.
Tom McKellar, a farmer from the estate was recently fined at Oban Sheriff Court under section 15A of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. He had been found guilty of possession of the illegal toxic pesticide, Carbofuran.
His crime dated from 2009 when, on 7th June, a party of hillwalkers descending Beinn Udlaidh in north Argyll, came across the body of a eagle, lying face down in the grass on a remote hillside near Bridge of Orchy.
A post mortem by Scottish Government laboratories confirmed the bird had been poisoned with Carbofuran, a substance banned since 2001.
A search of McKellar ‘s property by police on 17th June 2009 found quantities of Carbofuran in three separate containers – and traces of it within a syringe.
McKellar had previously pled guilty at the High Court in Glasgow on 5th November 2010 to four charges relating to the illegal possession of a Webley revolver and a Browning pistol, recovered during police enquiries on 17th June 2009. On 3rd December 2010 he was sentenced to a Community Service Order of 300 hours.
This matter is a taint on the Auch Estate itself, reflecting on its management culture.
Whether or not its sale has been promoted by the public recoil from such activities, it is reasonable to hope that a new owner will introduce a new regime where such crimes will not be tolerated.
Carbofuran is a highly toxic pesticide. A single grain the size of a poppy seed can kill a bird.
A quarter of a teaspoonful can be fatal to humans.