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Beinn Ratha Court
The Pugwash Lane Campaign
Campaign to retain right of access to a small lane in the village of Reay

The Pugwash Lane Story
For almost 4 years now, there has been an ongoing dispute over a 200ft lane, now known as Pugwash Lane, in the village of Reay. The lane runs along the northwest boundary of Beinn Ratha Court and can be accessed from both ends and from the rear of several houses.

Brief History of Pugwash Lane
Historically, the route, which the lane follows was part of a drove road from the west and also, prior to the houses being built, was the access to what was known as The Market Stance. Some of the older members of the community can remember tinkers setting up camp there to trade their wares and also going to see circus events on The Market Stance. After the houses were built, some of the residents built garages at the west end of the lane. For almost 20 years the lane was used for vehicle access from the street to the garages. The residents of Beinn Ratha Court also used it as a footpath.

22 August 05
Raffle Prize Draw

The draw for the Pugwash Lane Action Group Buggy raffle took place on Saturday 20th at the Round Table Summer Fayre at the High School in Thurso. The draw was made by Michael Dunnet, chairman of Thurso & District Round Table. The first ticket drawn out for the Buggy was bought by David Dunnet of Wick, who is now the proud owner of a Tiger Ninja offroad buggy.

The Lane With The Bollards

Around 1987, a new play park was constructed in Beinn Ratha Court along with a new access road to the garage site from the south side. The council then installed bollards at the west end of Pugwash Lane to prevent vehicles form using it whilst still allowing pedestrian access.

Dispute Over Pugwash Lane
Until 2001, many, not only Beinn Ratha Court residents, but also people coming to use the play park and visit friends in the Court, used this lane. Around the end of 2001, a resident whose house adjoins the lane began telling people that they were not to use the lane as it belonged to them. Over the previous 35 years, the resident in question had gradually improved the lane but had never tried to prevent anyone using the lane and in fact couldnít as it was widely considered to be a Right of Way. The requests to stop using the lane were further compounded by the resident parking their cars in such a way that made the use of the lane very difficult. It was at Halloween 2001 that a prankster put up signs christening the lane Pugwash Lane, a name, which has stuck. Several public meetings were called to try and resolve the issues but unfortunately, the resident causing the difficulties did not attend so the Beinn Ratha Court residents then turned to the Highland Regional Council for help. Initially, they offered to mark out a foot path along the lane but when they were asked to make the Right of Way status official, they maintained that they could not do this on the grounds of cost and because there was an alternative route available. The council solicitor told the residents that if they felt strongly enough, they should pursue a Right of Way action through the Sheriff Court themselves.

Pugwash Lane Action Group
In March 2003, The Pugwash Lane Action Group was formed. The aim of this constituted group is to have Pug wash Lane officially recognised as a Right of Way. An action was lodged at Wick Sheriff Court in mid 2003 and this was promptly objected to by the resident trying to prevent use of the lane. The action has had several dates where everyone was looking forward to a conclusion but for various reasons, these have been postponed and the hearing is now due in September. Through out this time the group has been busy raising money to fund the case in various ways. They have had many generous donations from supporters of the group and they have held a kids disco and two raffles, the last of which, was for a quad bike prior to Christmas and was very successful.

First Prize In Raffle

They are currently running a summer raffle in which the first prize is an off-road, two-seat buggy worth around £1700. The tickets are available at various places around the county and will be available at the County Show as well as other events around the Highlands. All proceeds raised will go towards the groupís primary objective of having Pugwash Lane officially declared a Right of Way. Any surplus funds will be equally divided and donated to the Reay Primary School and the Reay Village Hall.

Contacting Pugwash Lane Action Group
The group would like to hear from any Reay residents, both present and past, who can remember using Pugwash Lane or have any old photos of the area. Anyone wishing to find out more or wishing to buy tickets for the summer raffle can e-mail the group on pugwashlane@hotmail.co.uk