Welcome back to Travel Non-Essentials, where T+L editors Mark Orwoll and Nikki Ekstein sound off on a different breed of travel product—sometimes ingenious, sometimes just plain odd. Today: Buying a Scottish Lord or Lady title. Sort of.
What It Does: Highland Titles, a registered charity, sells small plots of land ($47.99) to support a nature preserve. At the same time, it conveys the title of Lord or Lady to each new owner. Orwoll and Ekstein check it out to decide if it’s a must-have, or just a nice-to-have.
MO: This is less of a travel-related product and more of a travelish-related product. Highland Titles is a charitable trust that will make you a Lord or a Lady of a Scottish estate called Glencoe Wood. It’s in the Western Highlands of Scotland. So here you go, Nikki, I’m presenting you with your own certificate as a Lady of Glencoe.
NE: Do I get to be knighted? I’d like to be knighted.
MO: No, but you’re being Ladied. Wait, that didn’t sound right.
NE: Lady of Glencoe! (Nikki holds an ID card and reads it.) “This card identifies Lady Nikki Ekstein as the owner of land in Glencoe Wood.” It actually gives you a plot number.
MO: Not only does it give you a plot number, but it also gives you the GPS coordinates. This morning I looked up my plot of land and found it on Google maps. It’s in a nature preserve that is partially supported by the sale of the Lord and Lady titles. Of course, my property is only one square foot. Not every much.
NE: Is it a square foot or a square meter?
MO: A square foot.
NE: That doesn’t seem very Scottish.
MO: I think they still use feet for measurements. Anyway, when you buy your title the money goes to the charitable trust of Glencoe Wood, so you’re doing good by getting this.
NE: So this program helps them preserve that land.
MO: And if you ever get to Glencoe, you can use your ID card for discounts on local Segway tours, golf, hotels, and “fast” boat tours. I’m not even sure what a fast boat tour is. But this is the best part: If you go there, it gives you the right to plant a tree on your square foot or you can scatter ashes.
NE: That’s interesting. A little morbid, but very interesting. Can I also hire a bagpiper to play for me in my square foot of land?
MO: I don’t know about that, but they do have a meet-and-greet program so that if you tell them in advance you’re coming, they’ll have a volunteer meet you and take you to your little corner of the estate so you can stand on it and pose for a selfie.
NE: It’s a fun gift.
MO: That’s exactly right. It’s gift material, like having a star named after someone in the International Star Registry. It’s especially good for someone who has a Scottish background, like I do.
NE: Or who’s obsessed by royalty, as many people are. I’m going to start calling myself royalty. Now the only thing I need is my own signature tartan pattern.
MO: Funny you should mention that. Glencoe Wood already has its own tartan. You can buy things made with that pattern—ties, lambs-wool scarves, cufflinks with the Glencoe crest.
NE: And it looks like gorgeous land. I wouldn’t mind visiting it myself, especially knowing that I own a little piece of it!
MO: They even give you a sticker that you can put on your window. Mine says, “I’m a Lord.”
NE: And mine says, “I’m a Lady.”
MO: And you are.
VERDICT: A nice-to-have.
[Editor’s Note: Highland Titles operates under the Highland Titles Charitable Trust for Scotland, registered as a charity in Guernsey, Channel Islands, registry no: CH444). The documents you receive make clear you can “style yourself” a Lord or Lady, but you should consider the plot and title to be a souvenir purchase for entertainment purposes only.]