The land illustrated above (Midmar Paddock on the eastern slopes of Blackford Hill, Edinburgh) is currently for sale via Strutt & Parker (sales brochure here – 925kb pdf).

The reason for publishing this blog is to ask “who owns this land? Does anyone know?

Strutt and Parker refuse to divulge the answer.

The land is not registered in the Land Register but deeds are probably recorded in the Register of Sasines but it will probably cost around £50 and 1-2 days work to find out the answer there. I have neither.

So I thought I might ask you. Can anyone help?

The map below shows the location.

Improving access to information on land forms part of the Scottish Government proposals for land reform. See Briefing (1.7Mb pdf).

 © OpenStreetMap contributors Data is available under the Open Database License

UPDATE 31 January 2015

I have now determined the ownership of the Midmar Paddock. The Register of Sasines Search Sheet can be found at the foot of this text for those who are interested to see how land transactions were recorded prior to the Land Register which has been in operation in Midlothian (the old county including Edinburgh) since 1 April 2001.

1923 John Gordon of Cluny sells 18.6 acres (Midmar Paddock and allotments to the north) to Alexander Grant.

In 1938 the land is transferred to the Trustees of Sir Alexander Grant, 15 Hermitage Drive, Managing Director of McVitie & Price, Biscuit Manufacturers, Edinburgh & London.

1954 Allotments area conveyed by Trustees to Graeme Ellizabeth Laing. Midmar Paddock remains with Trustees.

1958 Midmar Paddock conveyed to beneficiaries of Trust – Hector Laing, Alexander Grant Laing and Robert Douglas Grant Laing.

1973 Hector conveys his ⅓ interest to Trustees for Anthony Rupert Laing

1973 Alexander conveys his ⅓ share to Trustees of Alexander Grant Laing.

1973 Allotments area conveyed by Graeme E Laing to Trustees of Alexander Grant Laing.

1983 Trustees of Anthony convey their ⅓ share to Anthony.

1993 Robert conveys his ⅓ share to Nettling Properties Ltd.

1999 Nettling Properties conveys its ⅓ share to Flagstaff Properties Ltd (Turks and Caicos Islands).

2011 Flagstaff Properties Ltd. conveys its ⅓ share to Midmar Properties Ltd.

28 November 2014 Trustees of Alexander G Laing conveys allotments site to Blackford Hill Ltd.

This means that:-

The allotments site to the north is owned by Blackford Hill Ltd.

Midmar Paddock (the site currently for sale) is owned by :-

Anthony Rupert Laing, Coulmony House, Morayshire
Trustees of Alexander Grant Laing
Midmar Properties Ltd.

Blackford Hill Ltd. is a company registered in Scotland No. SC466028 with its registered office at Logie Estate Office, Logie, Forres, IV36 2QN (see here for details of shareholders).

Midmar Properties Ltd. is not a registered company in the UK and is probably incorporated in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Interestingly, what this reveals is that the 2003 Tree Preservation Order referred to by Robin in comments names only one of the three joint owners. Additionally, the link to the Local Development Plan response provided by Dave Leslie in comments reflects the views of only one of the three co-owners (Trustees of AG Laing). It also contains a useful map showing the two separate ownerships (though not the up to date owners) and interesting insights into why the owners are wishing to sell the land.

Search Sheet

Midlothian Search Sheet 18364 page 1
Midlothian Search Sheet 18364 page 2
Midlothian Search Sheet 18364 page 3
Midlothian Search Sheet 18364 page 4
Midlothian Search Sheet 18364 page 5
Midlothian Search Sheet 18364 page 6
Midlothian Search Sheet 18364 page 7
Midlothian Search Sheet 18364 page 8
Midlothian Search Sheet 18364 computerised search sheet



  1. Luise Valentiner

    According to The Friends of the Hermitage of Braid & Blackford Hill’s Facebook page: The sale will only complete if and when planning permission is gained by the prospective purchaser. It is understood to be offered for sale by the long term owners, the Laing Family Trust, although they recently transferred it to their own company Blackford Hill Ltd as the actual name of the seller.

  2. I seem to remember proposals for a housing development on this site back in the 1980s.

  3. From memory, the latest (second) round of consultations on the Local Development Plan for Edinburgh (going back to the Planning Committee on 26 Feb) had an inordinate number of comments regarding this greenspace. I can’t now find the second round representations, but the first round representations are online, and this one may be of some interest:'s%201962%20Settlement%200430.pdf

  4. In a report on a TPO dated 2003 the owner is stated as:

    Flagstaff Properties Limited
    Town Centre
    PO Box 125
    Turks & Caicos islands
    British West lndies

    and the occupier:

    Mr Laing

  5. It was probably a commonty 200 yrs ago.

  6. There is a disposition of the Hermitage of Braid by the Cluny Trustees with consent of John McDougal to the Lord Prov, Mags & Council of Edinburgh recored GRS Midlothian [? Edinburgh] 25 May 1937 which could give you a clue to the relevant search sheet.

    According to Wikipedia the gift of the land of the Hermitage of Braid in 1937 was for use as a Public Park. At the various maps since 1890s shows Blackford Hill as a Public Park but not the surrounding vacant land.

  8. This OS map of the 1890s shows a building closer to the site than Hermitage of Braid and known as Rubislaw. Whose was that?

  9. The plan linked in Dave Leslie’s note above suggests the planning permission sought is for development of 5 houses in the SW corner of the paddock. Almost half of that area, green line boundary, is in fact already occupied by a single property (hatched area), built in 2013/14 and known locally as The Sphincter for its clear architectural feature. Not sure whether 4 more houses can be crammed into the remaining half and keep equally “high quality”.

    • The new house Allan Forrest refers to is not built on the Paddock green belt land but on the side feu of 26 Hermitage Drive.

  10. Are the paths across it public rights of way?

  11. Thanks everyone. Plenty there to allow me to get into Register of Sasines and confirm current ownership.

  12. In the1870s, there was a shooting range for the Volunteers, from roughly the new house to the edge of the hill.
    I’d hate there to be lead pollution in the ground or anything ….

  13. How did a public park become private property?…Is that legal, even?…..deeded land donated to the public good?…..this seems to happen a lot to public land. Especialy in the Glasgow area, where Councillors and officials have their fingers in the pie all the time.

    • Graham, the piece of land being offered for sale (Midmar Paddock) is not the same as the Hermitage of Braid which was indeed gifted to the City of Edinburgh as a public park in the 1930s. However, before then, I believe they both formed part of the same property and the relevance of the conveyance of the HofB I mentioned is that it might have given Andy a clue to tracking down the present day deeds to Midmar Paddock in the Register of Sasines.

  14. A friend just sent me this: “Michael Huw Grant Laing is the director of the limited company that owns the land. There is also a Michael Laing at Strutt Parker.” Coincidence?

  15. Thank you all. I have found the search sheet in the Register of Sasines (the history of ownership of the site) and will write up and publish here as soon as I get time – hopefully later today.

  16. Michael Huw Grant Laing is the director of the limited company that owns the land. Coincidentally there is a Michael Laing at Strutt Parker.

    The secretary of the company that owns the land is Alexander William Grant Laing.

    Alexander Grant is the founder of McVities (United Biscuits) whose daughter married Hector Laing. The Laing family still controls McVities and has various land holdings, of which this is likely one.

  17. I don’t know its precise boundaries but the Braids were once the property of the Gordon’s of Cluny, Aberdeenshire, also the owners of notoriety of Benbecula, South Uist and Barra. Hence the mention of Cluny Trustees. One of them was also active in the ‘Volunteers’ hence the other ref to a rifle range. A singularly pertinent connection to the present com modification and sale of land issue.
    Good luck with your researches.

  18. The Council should give you this information if you ask for it also check the planning history for the land as it should show who owns the land if there has ever been applications made. But the council should give you that information at no cost put an FOI request in or speak to your local councillor to find out who owns it.

    Seems the Laings and Grants are intermarried

  20. I have posted an update revealing the ownership of the Midmar Paddock and the allotment site to the north.

  21. Hamish McKenzie

    You might like to know I have just been told by Strutt and Parker that the land is UNDER OFFER and they therefore would not send me the requested details of it!
    Speed is therefore of the essence

  22. There are no Rights of Way in or across the Paddock, only a Core Path eastwards to the metal gate from the car park at the junction of Midmar Drive and Hermitage Drive.