LANDWARD presenter Euan McIlwraith is bowing out from the popular rural series after three decades of service.

He joined BBC Scotland’s farming and countryside magazine series in 1991 and in his time has focussed on major rural stories such as the foot-and-mouth outbreak of 2001, as well more light-hearted items such snail and ostrich farming and buffalo rearing – as he racked up thousands of miles exploring every inch of Scotland's countryside.

He is also a welcome voice to many on an early Saturday morning when he presents the Out of Doors programme alongside co-host Mark Stephen.

In the past year on Landward, he has also been delighting viewers with his poetry and his verbal serenades to wildlife, the seasons and landscapes of Scotland. During an autumn special, he regaled viewers with his poem Autumn Gold which began:

"As northern winds chase summer days,

and skeins of geese arrive to graze,

To clear a path for autumn’s gift,

that grabs the soul, and spirits lift.

As leaves they fall and apples blush,

I stand in awe at nature’s brush…

Commenting on stepping back from the presenting role he said: “This has been an amazing journey. Folk love Landward and to be a part of that team has been incredible. Home bakes from Foula to the Falklands. Drams from Musselburgh to Moscow!

“We’ve had a welcome wherever we went. More of a family than a production unit. I’ll really miss the buzz but grandchildren, sailing and writing are demanding attention and new challenges.”

Presenter Dougie Vipond will pay tribute to Euan’s years on the series in the final episode of the spring run of Landward on BBC Scotland tonight (Thursday, July 1) at 8.30pm.

Mr Vipond said: “After an incredible thirty years on Landward our very own Euan McIlwraith has decided to hang up his wellies and call it a day. Clocking up hundreds of thousands of miles, he’s covered every part of the Scottish countryside and beyond, bringing us every story possible… and always in his own unique way.

“We are going to miss him and so will the viewers but we wish him all the best.”

Series producer Laura Mitchell added: “Euan has been a constant presence on the programme for thirty years. His strong journalistic instincts have come to the fore covering some challenging countryside stories like the foot-and-mouth outbreak, hare coursing and raptor persecution.

“Euan’s natural storytelling abilities and warm style have brought hundreds of stories to life over the years. His knowledge of wildlife was put to great use, as was his passion for rural history and culture. It’s impossible to count how many stories Euan’s covered over the years, there are thousands, but at the heart of each story was his deep love of the Scottish countryside.”