Making Tracks: Technologies of Access on the Highland Estate
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This thesis is about getting into the Cairngorms. Specifically, it is about getting up a mountain on a highland estate for the purposes of hunting deer. The study asks the question “how is wilderness made accessible on the Highland Estate?” Drawing on the methodology of Actor-Network Theory, I examine the bulldozed estate tracks which, since the early 1960s, served as the primary technical means of entering the landscape for deer stalking. I argue that the estate track – a combination of people, animals, things, management strategies and the capabilities of the sporting enthusiast’s body – ‘aligned’ (Latour, 2005b) unruly hillside agencies to enable vehicular access to the high tops. I follow the story of a track on Beinn A’Bhuird from the earliest stalking on foot, through the use of Land Rovers, to the eventual restoration and wider changes that affected it. I demonstrate that access; the rendering of places such that they can be got to by particular means of travel, is a contingent and embodied characteristic of space, formed in the assembling of actors.