Guest Blog
  Guest Blog


Life as the Learner of the Year

Today’s guest blog is from Megan Rowland, Assistant Land Manager on Gordonbush estate. Brought up in a farming and crofting community, Megan relocated to the Highlands in 2012 to work within the conservation sector. After becoming increasingly interested in integrated land management and fieldsports, Megan chose to pursue a career within the industry. The last couple
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Land use is now the big question – a guest blog from John Mackenzie

A few weeks have now passed since the transmission of BBC Scotland’s documentary The Battle for Scotland’s Countryside, and the intervening period has allowed a chance to ponder on what the programme explained – and some of the points it didn’t manage to reflect. Before I go any further, I would recommend anyone with a
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How much do we really know about rural youth?

Businesses often list “the next generation” or “youth” as a priority within their plans but how much do we really know about this audience, and how many businesses spend the time to find out what their real challenges and aspirations are? The research to date amongst rural young people, both nationally and internationally, has been
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Let’s give angling the support it deserves

This weeks blog has been guest written by Hughie Campbell Adamson. Hughie has run Stracathro Estates, in the North Angus, for twenty-five years. He has served as Chairman of the Association of Salmon Fisheries Boards, and Chairman of Salmon and Trout Conservation Scotland. For the thousands of anglers who enjoy salmon fishing, the turn of the
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Agriculture meets instaculture at Oxford

Part two of our guest blog from Clive Phillips, Head of Land and Rural Business at Brodies LLP, on his thoughts from the 2018 Oxford Farming Conference.  This years’ Oxford Farming Conference gave some powerful political and commercial signals as to what lies ahead for the future of the rural sector. The market is changing in
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Powerful signals for farm policy and trade from Oxford

This weeks guest blog is by Clive Phillips, Head of Land and Rural Business at Brodies LLP, on his thoughts on the 2018 Oxford Farming Conference.  In the round of key presentations at this year’s Oxford Farming Conference, Michael Gove’s much talked about announcement is arguably more fundamental than an extension of farm support to
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The Balmoral - Number One - Head Chef Brian Grigor

Brian Grigor’s Roast Grouse Recipe with Salt Baked Celeriac, Scottish Brambles and Roasted Nuts

Brian Grigor, head chef of Michelin starred Number One at The Balmoral Hotel, is supporting the efforts of the Gift of Grouse and Scotland’s regional moorland groups in highlighting the ‘hill-to-plate’ credentials of grouse to mark the start of Great British Game Week, 20th – 26th November 2017. Grouse has growing in popularity on the
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Rural reflections on World Mental Health Day

Today is World Mental Health Day, and this once taboo subject is now becoming a normal topic of conversation, as it should. We know that one in four Scots face mental health problems at some point in their life and recent research by Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) has shown that isolation and stigma can be
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Saving Scotland’s red squirrels through community action

It’s been a busy summer for Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels. Earlier this year it was announced that the project had been awarded a grant of £2.46 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund, for an exciting new endeavour called ‘Developing Community Action’. Alongside work to control grey squirrel numbers in strategic areas, and slow the impact
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Financing Peatland Restoration

(Photo: An eroding peatland: an unnatural process which is typical of many damaged upland sites ©Emma Goodyer) Scotland is a major player when it comes to peatlands. Covering 22% of its land mass, the country has moved to the forefront in driving restoration of this precious habitat, becoming a global leader. Despite this forward thinking,
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Feral pigs – an update

Over the last 15 years, free-ranging, breeding populations of feral pigs have become established in Scotland. Following escapes or deliberate releases from wild boar and domestic pig farms, or from collections, at least three breeding populations have become established; in Dumfriesshire, in central Perthshire and in Lochaber. One-off sightings have come from as far apart
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Photograph by: Jack Hughes and Lucy Eccles

New opportunities for hut culture in Scotland

(Picture by Jack Hughes and Lucy Eccles) 70 years ago Scotland had a thriving hutting culture. Hundreds of small wooden huts were dotted around the country. Families paid ground-rent to landowners in return for the opportunity to build a simple hut for recreational use. These charming low-impact buildings gave an opportunity for industrial workers on
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Making the Most of Our Land

This week’s guest blog has been written by Andrew Thin, chair of the new Scottish Land Commission. These are testing times for a small country on the fringes of Europe. Even without the potential ramifications of Brexit we will have our work cut out if we are to maintain our relative position in the world
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The grass is greener

After overcoming initial scepticism, a £10m anaerobic digestion plant is providing both eco-friendly power for local homes and a guaranteed source of income for nearby farmers When Charlesfield Farms wanted to diversify its business, the estate decided to join the green revolution. The result was a new £10 million anaerobic digestion (AD) plant that produces
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Hear the buzz from the Scottish Bee Company

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This week’s blog has been written by Iain & Suzie Millar of The Scottish Bee Company. It’s well known that bees are one of the world’s most important pollinating insects and play an integral role in food production and maintaining biodiversity. However, the dramatic decline in numbers has become a cause of national, if not
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Brexit: Five key areas for rural Scotland….

Today’s guest blog has been written by Fiona Cameron, Partner and Lois Newton, Associate at Gillespie Macandrew, on Brexit and looking at the possible impact on the rural sector. The dust may be settling following the Brexit Referendum, however there remains a great deal of uncertainty for the rural sector. Leaving the EU is likely
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The enemy of my enemy is my friend

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This week’s blog has been written by Professor Xavier Lambin of Aberdeen University. Professor Lambin is keen to explore in-situ in Scotland the impact of pine marten on Scotland’s squirrels, both red and grey. The hope, based on evidence from Ireland, is that pine marten – when in reasonable densities – act as a biological
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Nick Nairn – How to cook grouse

Today’s guest blog has been written by award-winning Scottish chef, Nick Nairn: Grouse remains for myself and many others, the king of game birds. I like grouse roasted on the bone for an all-round better taste and texture. Roast grouse is where traditional cooking and accompaniments can’t be beaten – bread sauce, game gravy, roast tatties.
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Food for thought on tenant farming

By Grierson Dunlop, an agricultural law solicitor, and member of Scottish Land & Estates’ Agricultural Holdings Group. The new Land Reform (Scotland) Act is taking root and as Ministers and civil servants grapple with the nuts and bolts of the legislation, many eyes will be focused on the implementation of Section 10 of the Act
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Some more thoughts on Brexit

Following on from our first “Some thoughts on Brexit” blog last week from Anne Gray, we now hear from Chris Savage, Factor for Cassillis Estate, on what Brexit means to rural Scotland and the questions that need to be answered: I think we can all agree that we live in a modern, progressive, democratic society?
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It’s not what you do, it’s the way that you do it

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Our guest writer for this week’s blog is Andrew Thin, Scotland’s Independent Advisor on Tenant Farming. The role of independent advisor on tenant farming is a short-term one, and Andrew– who was a member of the Agricultural Holdings Legislation Review Group – has been tasked by the Scottish Government with working with the three main
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The Future of Scottish Agriculture Part 2

The Scottish Government has begun a ‘National Discussion’ on the future of Scottish agriculture, and has published a vision document that they hope will stimulate discussion, which can be found on the Scottish Government website. As part of this debate, we will be posting a series of  thoughts from our members. To continue this discussion Johnnie Balfour,
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How do we connect urban youth with their rural heritage?

The Wilderness Foundation recognises that our youth face some of the greatest challenges of any generation through history, due in part to increasing urbanisation, economic crises and over population.  This includes their loss of a vital connection to the natural world thus impacting on wellbeing and sustainable futures. Therefore in 2013 they launched Imbewu Scotland,
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Downfield Farm location view

Practical implications to the proposed changes to succession

The laws on succession, while highly complex and technical, are not merely of academic interest but have significant practical implications, especially for farming families – both owners and tenants.  Much work has been undertaken by the Scottish Law Commission in relation to reviewing the law on succession and the issue is now to the fore
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Wildfires: Prevention Better than Cure – by Michael Bruce

Large, intense wildfires pose a threat to people, property, and conservation interests.  They need a lot of resources to extinguish and are therefore also expensive to put out. We have had a run of bad fire seasons, with multiple landscape scale fires in 2011, 2012 and 2013, especially in the spring period. Questions are being
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West Agri and Rural Affairs Group

Landowners are the key to a prosperous farming future

Well here we are, it’s August, and there’s only 19 Fridays left until Christmas – what a cheery thought for the day! Santa will soon be starting to compile his naughty or nice list, and ponder which presents he will leave for each under the tree. For Scottish landowners, it may seem that the decision
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Sporting Rates implications for farmers

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The Land Reform Bill is a beast of many heads and one must be careful not to focus on the biggest while a smaller one unexpectedly bites. The focus of the Bill for many farmers will likely be the agricultural holdings section. However, anyone who owns or occupies land should not overlook section six which
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Being a laird doesn’t make me a villain

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As someone who owns a 13,000 acre Highland estate, there is no shortage of people who will regard me as one of the ‘too few who own too much’ of Scotland. Critics may dismiss me as an out of touch ‘laird’, detached from the local community indulging myself in my own private playground. It is
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European adventures in biodiversity

My father always contended that Britain’s best entry into Europe was on the 6th June 1944.  His opinion was somewhat influenced by the fact that he fought through the Normandy campaign, so perhaps he had a point. Quite what he would have made of my presence at EU Green Week, held in Brussels between 3rd
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Why Scotland must not dance with wolves – by Magnus Linklater

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Bringing back the lost predators would be a disaster for a truly endangered species — our embattled farmers. It is 300 years since the last wolf was killed in Scotland, shot by a gamekeeper in Sutherland after a government-backed campaign to eradicate them. No one regretted their passing. In the Highlands, they were regarded as
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Fisheries Management Demonstration Day – Delegate Blog

2014 has been an especially tough year for Scottish anglers in pursuit of Atlantic Salmon, it is now more imperative than ever for fisheries to have strong management plans, alongside fishery trusts to ensure our beloved sport is protected for the future. Scottish Land and Estates has set out to provide demonstration days on fisheries
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