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Scottish Rural Awards celebrate the countryside’s entrepreneurs

Scone Palace, Thistly Cross Cider and Highland Game Ltd were among the businesses honoured at the inaugural Scottish Rural Awards Gala Dinner.

The new awards and their gala awards dinner are the first major event of a five-year partnership between Scottish Field magazine and the Scottish Countryside Alliance to celebrate the entrepreneurship of rural businesses. 

The awards were announced on Thursday 26 March at Our Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh.

More than 200 public nominations were received, for businesses and people from as far afield as the Outer Hebrides and the Borders. Judging took place at the end of January to select a winner, runner-up and highly commended in each of the ten award categories, encompassing every aspect of rural enterprise, from aquaculture to artisan food producers.

Two special awards, for those who have made a significant contribution to rural life, were also presented. Brothers Brian and Duncan Swinbanks, from the Isle of Mull, jointly won the Rural Hero award for a level of community involvement which means one or other of the brothers is involved in almost every activity on the island; whilst the Lifetime Achievement accolade was presented to former Duke of Buccleuch’s hunt joint master Trevor Adams.

Richard Bath, editor of Scottish Field, said: "Showing our readers the joys of the Scottish countryside is one of the main aims of Scottish Field, so our sponsorship of the Rural Tourism award is a perfect fit. I was amazed by the quality and attention to detail showed by the nominees across each hard-fought category."

And Charlie Shentall, development manager at the Scottish Countryside Alliance, added: "The dinner was also a great chance to promote the Scottish Countryside Alliance's Routes to Rural Employment (R2RE) initiative - a government-backed scheme which builds employment links for young people in rural communities.”

The winners in each category are:

Agriculture and aquaculture
Winner: Gigha Halibut
Runner-up: Angus Soft Fruits
Highly commended: Scot-Hatch

Artisan Food
Winner: Highland Game
Runner-up: Great Glen Charcuterie
Highly commended: The Store Company

Artisan Drink
Winner: Thistly Cross Cider
Runner-up: Summerhouse Drinks
Highly commended: Shetland Reel Gin

Winner: The Arran Butcher Ltd
Runner-up: Macbeth's
Highly Commended: Castletown butchers

Conservation and the Environment
Winner: The Ethical Shellfish Company
Runner-up: Allargue Estate
Highly commended: Lochbroom Woodfuels

Winner: Ardnamurchan Estate
Runner-up: Craigatin House & Courtyard
Highly commended: The Buccleuch & Queensberry Arms Hotel

Winner: Connect Berwickshire Youth Project
Runner-up: Ballet West
Highly commended: Lochaber Rural Education Trust

Rural Tourism
Winner: Scone Palace
Runner-up: Cairnie Fruit Farm
Highly commended: The Scottish Crannog Centre

Business Start Up
Winner: Tweed Valley Fruit Trees
Runner-up: Stable Life
Joint highly commended: Fresh Food Express and Shetland Reel Gin

Business Diversification:
Winner: Kezie Foods
Runner-up: Ogilvy Vodka
Joint highly commended: Arbikie Highland Estate and The Brochs of Coigach

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