A HEAD gamekeeper from Sutherland’s role in encouraging future generations into rural occupations has been recognised with a major award at the Moy Highland Field Sports Fair.

Brian Lyall started out at Badanloch Estate as a seasonal ghillie in 1976 before graduating to head gamekeeper, a position he holds to this day. As well as looking after stalking and fishing guests, he has carried on the 'rich tradition of rural education' which was developed by former owner, the late Lord Leverhulme.

Viscount Leverhulme believed in the duty to instruct future generations and Badanloch Estate became the first in Scotland to accept students from North Highland College UHI, as part of their training, in 1986.

For continuing that tradition, Mr Lyall received the Ronnie Rose Award, a trophy created in memory of late author and forester Ronnie Rose MBE, which is presented annually ‘for lasting contributions to conservation or education’.

“When we received the nomination for Brian, it was not a difficult decision,” said Scottish Gamekeepers Association chairman Alex Hogg. “His knowledge of wildlife makes him special. There are few who know more than him and he continues to pass that knowledge on. This is deserved recognition for a true countryman and I am very proud to present it, on behalf of the Rose family.”