Sir, – Having been a ‘country boy’, born and bred, managed a Highland deer forest and estate for more than 25years, I feel that Scotland’s landscapes and our outlook to enhancing our countryside, are still in the dark ages.

Too many tracts of land are being held captive by a minority and we have to find a vehicle to enforce more landowners to do a better job with our countryside habitat.

I’ve worked mainly as a deerstalker trying to keep a healthy population of deer, but in balance with nature, food supplies and proper densities.

I live on Knoydart and have done for 30-plus years. Across time, I’ve worked predominantly on farms, hunting establishments, estates with pheasant shoots, grouse, Highland cattle, etc (I have experienced the full gamut).

Now, after hanging up the hill Tweed jacket, I find myself helping out one of my ex-apprentices, top Borders College student and former ghillie, in establishing new forestry projects within Scotland.

My perception of our countryside has changed through my experience. We haven’t been doing enough, we haven’t been careful of our planet and we have to do more ... and do it now!

Less beating around the bush, we can all be too politically correct. We humans have ‘buggered’ around with nature too much but we also care for nature and a lot of instances, through sporting estates, we’ve actually thrown ‘this balance’ off of kilter.

I’m enjoying seeing and working with farmers that have vision and being able to encompass new challenges and changes within their farms and land.

They are doing this by including trees and, most of all, improving habitats for shelter, creating small floods for the likes of our waders, whaups, peewit, curlews and lapwing, which have decreasing populations.

I know there are a lot of farmers, keepers and keepering connections will disagree with me but I personally think we definitely need more trees and ASAP. I’ve worked with amazing forestry managers over the past three seasons and I see forestry practice daily, and how it’s changed.

I see forest managers that are passionate in how they layout their vision for the next generation by including trees that are more beneficial to nature (the birds and bees). I see woodlands being laid out with open flushes to keep hold of blackcock lecks and I see food source being planted for future deer etc.

What we have to do is not be scared of change! Change can be good but us humans usually go into protective mode first and become panicky and fearful to protect what’s here and what we have.

You have to change this attitude and think out of the box. At the end of the day, let’s all work together to create a new beginning?

Drew Harris