BAKE OFF star Flora Shedden and Sir Ian Grant are among the judges for this year's Scottish Rural Awards.

The awards celebrate the 'enterprise, innovation and community spirit' of those who live and work in Scotland’s countryside, with this year's nominations due to be judged in January 2020 in Edinburgh and the results announced at awards ceremony at the Glasgow Hilton in April 2020.

The full judging panel is as follows:

  • Flora Shedden has been in the kitchen all her life. When she was ten she began making her own birthday cakes and at twelve she took full creative control over Christmas. She now runs ARAN Bakery. In 2015 she starred on The Great British Bake Off and finished as the youngest ever semi-finalist, becoming known for her style which was referred to as ‘florification’ and success in technical challenges. She now presents a variety of food programmes on BBC Radio Scotland and until recently wrote a weekly baking column for the Sunday Telegraph;
  • Sir Ian Grant CBE DL FRAgS has farmed arable, beef and sheep in Perthshire for 30 years. He is a past president of NFU Scotland, which resulted in engagement in agricultural and rural policy development in the UK, Europe and internationally. Subsequent appointments outside agriculture include chairmanship of Scottish Tourist Board, Crown Estate, and SECC, and Deputy Chairman of Scottish and Southern Energy, and NFU Mutual. Sir Ian was also winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Scottish Rural Awards 2019;
  • Richard Bath, editor of Scottish Field for the past nine years and formerly Scotland on Sunday’s restaurant reviewer for more than a decade. A former judge of Taste of Grampian and The Thistle Awards, he is widely travelled throughout Scotland and is a keen country sportsman;
  • Jamie Stewart, Countryside Alliance director for Scotland, who has worked within the wildlife and land management sector for over 20 years. Developing and delivering significant projects under the Rural Development Programme both in Scotland and England, Jamie brings a broad knowledge on issues and challenges affecting rural enterprise;
  • Alan Laidlaw, chief executive of the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland, a role he was appointed to in August 2016 after spending 11 years with the Crown Estate Scotland, latterly as its Head of Property. He is a trained chartered surveyor, a director of the Oxford Farming Conference and an Associate of the Royal Agricultural Societies;
  • Charlie Shentall, a hospitality consultant and director of The Lodge at Perth Racecourse, was also project manager for Routes to Rural Employment, and now sits on the Board of Management at The University of the Highlands and Islands at Perth College.

Mr Bath commented: "Our involvement with the Scottish Rural Awards has been an educational process – judging the awards each year has revealed the extraordinary levels of innovation and energy of the people who live in rural Scotland. In turn, the awards have given those dynamic custodians of Scotland’s rural economy the public recognition which they so richly deserve."

Mr Stewart added: "Land-based businesses contribute over £2 billion to the Scottish economy. Despite the multiple challenges they face, they are hugely valuable brand ambassadors for Scotland, and many provide vital support to their local communities. These awards give Scotland a chance to recognise the resilience, innovation and contribution that rurally-based people and businesses make to its success."