A Clan chief has declared victory after Highland Council dropped a long-running legal case against him over access to a beach.
Alexander Brodie of Brodie was taken to court after he put up a gate to stop cars using a track through his land to access a coastal car park at Kingsteps near Nairn.
At the Court of Session yesterday, lawyers for the local authority said it was dropping the proceedings.
Lord Uist lifted an interim interdict earlier granted by Inverness Sheriff Court, which forced Brodie to open up the gate.
In court yesterday, Mr Brodie said he had put up the gate after a rave was held at beach which disturbed the birds at a nearby RSPB reserve.
He added that residents had also separately complained about drug taking, noise, overnight stays and dog fouling in the area.
Last night, the clan chief welcomed the Court of Session result, which means the local authority will now pay his legal costs.
He also said the case had been a “waste of taxpayers’ money.”
Mr Brodie said: “This in my view is a great victory for walkers, riders, cyclists and bird watchers.
“They can now continue to enjoy the beach without endless drivers arriving causing antisocial behaviour, dog fouling and shooting.
“I think it was ridiculous that the council took it to court, a waste of taxpayers’ money.
“I was always open to negotiation and we could have come to a deal.”
Graham Dunlop, counsel for Highland Council, said the local authority did not want to pursue the action further – but added that fresh proceedings could be brought against Mr Brodie in the future.
Lord Uist gave two months to Mr Brodie to lodge an account of expenses.
The action can only be formally dismissed when the costs have been paid.
Mr Brodie’s late grandfather, Ninian, the 25th Brodie of Brodie, was the former laid of Brodie Castle, which was later taken over by National Trust for Scotland.
A spokeswoman for Highland Council said: “Counsel’s opinion obtained by the council suggests that, while the council’s prospects of success are good, the duration of proceedings in the Court of Session is likely to be protracted and therefore very expensive.
“It is not considered appropriate to incur the expense of having the Court of Session determine the action, there are more cost effective options open to the council.”