A VISITOR to the Hopes Estate has told the Courier how her car was damaged after she parked it in a “considerate and thoughtful manner” on the road to Hopes Reservoir.

The car park is temporarily closed to the public to allow for construction work.

Sue Murray, who, with her husband, visited the estate on November 7, said she was concerned that access “to one of East Lothian’s beautiful walking areas” was now restricted, and that “under the present Covid-19 circumstances, the ability to walk in the outdoors is essential to individuals’ physical and mental wellbeing”.

She said that she and her husband had driven towards the reservoir but saw a sign stating the car park’s closure. They parked on the verge, clear of the road and gateways, but were met by, according to Ms Murray, the estate owner.

She said: “He repeatedly stated that he did not wish an argument, but that he was extremely unhappy about our parking.

“We clarified that we had parked thoughtfully, away from passing places, the grass verge, and gateways.

“We reflected empathy with the negative impact of inconsiderate visitors to the Hopes Estate. Unfortunately, this did not appease the individual concerned and he consistently stated he did ‘not want an argument’, that we were ‘parked on his land’, and that although he would not insist on us returning to remove our car, we were not to park on the approaches to his estate in the future.”

When the Murrays returned to their car following their walk, they found a notice stuck on the window with “thick-spray glue”.

Ms Murray said: “We were unable to remove the notice, so were required to drive home with the window open.

“It took a considerable effort to clear the adhesive and paper from the window.”

Robert Douglas-Miller, Hopes Estate owner, said: “I don’t know that particular instance. But if you’re trying to get a tractor and a trailer through a gateway off a single-track road, leaving one inch either side of a gateway... we’re not trying to take a bicycle through that.

“I don’t know that particular couple; I speak to dozens of people here every week.

“The problem is that one person parks and then somebody else comes along, they think it’s OK, so they’ll park behind them. Before you know it, there sre five cars.

“[The poster] might [have been done by] somebody who’s just so frustrated. Because it is immensely frustrating if you’re trying to get about the place to do stuff and simply can’t get even through our own gateways.

“If they’re upset, I’m really sorry. But it wouldn’t have been without good reason.”