Individuals, businesses, and organisations from across rural Scotland have been recognised at a glittering ceremony in Edinburgh.

The Helping it Happen awards are organised by Scottish Land and Estates and sponsored by NatureScot to recognise outstanding work supporting the economy, jobs and education, wildlife, and the environment.

Winners include Arbikie Highland Estate who scooped the Innovation in Farming Award following the opening of their distillery nearly a decade ago and their pioneering model of growing, harvesting, and distilling everything on-site.

The Scottish Farmer: Innovation in Farming Award - Sheryl Macaulay from sponsors Douglas Home & Co and Nicholas Stirling from Arbikie Highland EstateInnovation in Farming Award - Sheryl Macaulay from sponsors Douglas Home & Co and Nicholas Stirling from Arbikie Highland Estate

Speaking to the Scottish Farmer, Iain Stirling of Angus-based Arbikie said: “Our family has been farming for over 400 years so it is very special for Arbikie to win the Innovation in Farming award.

“Innovation is at the heart of all we do and our combination of growing and distilling gives us a unique field-to-bottle approach and we work to towards being one of the world’s most sustainable distilleries.”

Leys Estate won the Rural Business Award after providing land and buildings for a diverse range of more than 150 independent local businesses, community organisations, and charitable organisations, while Balbirnie Home Farms won the Iver Salvesen Award for Combatting Climate Change thanks to their work with AHDB over the last three years as its Strategic Cereal Farm in Scotland and an approach that has prioritised plant and soil nutrition to save money and reliance on chemical inputs.

Also recognised was Henry Graham, who won the Award for Outstanding Contribution to Rural Scotland.

A farmer and key figure in land management, Henry was also an advisor to the Scottish Agricultural College before becoming a senior figure in agricultural banking and then holding non-executive positions with SRUC, Forestry & Land Scotland, and Lantra as Chairman for Scotland.

The Rural Rising Star Award went to Claire Taylor, a specialist in communications within agriculture, food, and the rural environment, and a Nuffield Scholar.

Sarah-Jane Laing, chief executive of Scottish Land and Estates, said: “Huge congratulations go to our Helping It Happen awards winners who exemplify everything that is great about rural Scotland.

“The independent judging panel took their time to deliberate over the awards after some hugely impressive shortlists were drawn up.

“All the winners and nominees make a considerable contribution to Scotland’s rural communities, economies, and environment, often spending their own time and resources to be able to do so.

“The Helping It Happen awards are designed to publicly recognise these often unsung heroes in rural Scotland and it enables us to share positive real-life examples of action on climate change, education about the outdoors, and work on promoting affordable rural housing.

“Their help and influence is vital in sustaining flourishing rural communities and motivating and encouraging others to follow their lead.”

The full list of winners:

The Award for Outstanding Contribution to Rural Scotland – Henry Graham

The Conservation Award sponsored by Anderson Strathern - East Neuk Corn Bunting Project

The Education Award sponsored by SRUC - The Cairngorms National Park Junior Ranger Project

The Enhancing Our Environment through Land Management Award sponsored by NatureScot - Scottish Invasive Species Initiative

The Innovation in Farming Award sponsored by Douglas Home & Co - Arbikie Highland Estate

The Iver Salvesen Award for Combatting Climate Change sponsored by Murray Beith Murray - Balbirnie Home Farms

The Rural Business Award sponsored by Shepherd + Wedderburn - Leys Estate

The Rural Property Award sponsored by Bidwells - Active Kids Adventure Park

The Tourism & Visitor Management Award sponsored by GLM - Duncan McConchie, Laggan

The Working with Communities Award sponsored by Hampden & Co - Communities Housing Trust

Two commendations were also awarded by the independent judging panel:

Highland Cinema in Fort William, and Pick-ups For Peace which sends vital aid to Ukraine.