Scottish businesses who do their bit for conservation and the environment, as well as education, have been honoured at the Scottish Rural Awards.
The awards are the ultimate benchmark of success in Scotland’s countryside, highlighting the enterprise, skill and innovation of those who live and work in rural areas.
Last night’s event, held at Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh, is the culmination of a fourth year of partnership between Scottish Field and the Scottish Countryside Alliance to host the awards, in association with the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS).
The awards are backed by category sponsors including Barclays, Chiene + Tait and HW Energy.
The Angus Glens Moorland Group, a collection of rural estates throughout Angus, won the Conservation and Environment category, with judges praising the group’s conservation of rare heather moorland.
Runners-up were the Loch Ryan Oyster Fishery, based in Cairnryan. While a commercially viable fishery, the Loch Ryan team are absolutely determined by their approach to conservation, sustainable management of the oyster bed and the safeguarding of this precious and unique resource.
Highly commended were CH & AK Walker from Duns, in the Scottish Borders. The 625 acre upland farm is home to 700 wool shedding ewes and 90 Welsh Black cows. These are run on a low input, grass fed, organic farming system that is successfully integrated with a commitment to rural stewardship.
The Royal Northern Countryside Initiative, based in Aberdeen, won first prize in the Education category with Laurencekirk-based Ringlink landing runner-up spot in the same category.
The judges felt that the Royal Northern Countryside Initiative was an important Scottish business, offering a multitude of free services without any aid from national level financial backing.
They were also impressed by the growth of runner-up Ringlink, which has progressed from a company focusing entirely on agriculture into a diverse business which now includes innovative training services.
Breadalbane Academy in Aberfeldy picked up a highly commended award – the judging panel were impressed by their Rural Skills course, which helps children learn a variety of outdoor activities.
Veteran broadcaster Dougie Vipond took to the stage as compere for the evening, hosting over 400 guests and presenting three awards in each of the 13 open categories.