Scotland's Finest Woods Awards

26/06/2017

Doune Community Woodland Group is delighted to announce that Doune Ponds is this year’s winner of the Small Community Woodland Award. The award, which includes a wooden plaque and a £1000 cash prize, was made on 23 June at the Royal Highland Show, is a huge achievement for the volunteer Group, which took over the management of the site less than three years ago. Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards celebrate the contribution that woodlands can make to the people, environment and economic prosperity of Scotland. There are various categories: ours is for community or urban run woodlands or other projects which focus on involving communities with their woodland environment, thereby enhancing the lives of local people. Our award followed visits to the site by judges who also looked at various documents, including our management and woodland plans, and details of our objectives and our interaction with the community. The awards were presented by Fergus Ewing MSP, Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy who quoted the judges as saying “they were very impressed by the achievements and also by the structured approach taken to improving the site. All work undertaken is of a very high quality. There is real partnership working, the project has strong, volunteer support and a group of people contributing to management and fundraising. The Judges especially valued the sustainability of this project.”

Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards are supported by the Forestry Commission and many other businesses and organisations; you can find out more about them on www.SFWA.co.uk. DCWG would like to thank all the volunteers who have carried out so many tasks in regenerating the Ponds and all those who have supported our various activities and fund raising events.  

Doune Ponds are owned by Moray Estates and managed in Partnership with the Doune Community Woodlands Group

Update on Doune Ponds

26/04/2017

Lady Moray was delighted to open the new footbridge at Doune Ponds, last Saturday 22nd April.  The new bridge, which replaces one which was a risk of becoming unsafe through wear and tear, was designed and built entirely through  the volunteer efforts of the Doune Community Woodland Group.  The new bridge is a great advertisement for the developing skills of the volunteers, who now have the confidence to tackle large projects such as this. Funded help to purchase materials was provided by the Postcode Local Trust and Stirling Council’s Community Pride scheme, and was very gratefully received. The new bridge will make the western area of the ponds more easily accessible by all kinds of users.

 

Doune Ponds, which is a former sand and gravel quarry next to the village of Doune, is owned by Moray Estates and is managed by a partnership between the estate and the Doune Community Woodland Group. Over the past three years, great improvements have been made to access provision in the Ponds, as well as restoring picnic and other public areas. The next task for the Woodland Group is to develop a management plan for the woodland resource within the Ponds.

 

World Orienteering Championships 2015 - Update

12/10/2016

Following on from the enormous success of the event, which was held at Darnaway in 2015, the World Orienteering Championships event received a commendation in the "Sports Event of the Year" category at the Drum Event Awards, which took place on the 5th of October in Glasgow.  The event then also went onto win one of the biggest awards of the evening, taking the "Event of the Year" award, the Scotland People's Choice.  The Orienteering event was up against the Tiree Music Festival, Turner Prize, Edinburgh Christmas Lights, Longines Eventing Championships at Blair Castle, Enchanted Forest amongst many others and Colin Matheson, Events Manager at the Scottish Orienteering Association was delighted that the Highland 2015 World Orienteering Championships and Scottish 6 days took the title.

The efforts from EventScotland, Highland & Moray Councils and all the landowners and land managers, volunteers and helpers have been amply rewarded with this accolade.  

Findhorn Bay Festival

15/09/2016

Moray Estates is sponsoring  the Findhorn Bay Arts & Culture Festival 2016. For further details of the events taking place throughout the course of the Festival, download this pdf.

Farms & Estates lead the charge on Wildlife Conservation

11/07/2016

Click on the link to see the latest News on Moray Estates' Doune WES accreditation

http://www.scottishlandandestates.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=5114:farms-and-estates-lead-the-charge-on-wildlife-conservation&catid=71:national&Itemid=107

Lothian Car Club Report 2016

28/06/2016

Lothian Car Club Report – June 2016  

Another full entry for the June event meant that we had a couple of reserves for the first time in a few years, the British Championship was not very well represented but those that did make the journey north put on a great display for everyone.  

Between April and this weekend we replaced barriers at the first corner, all the way from Oak Tree to Garden Gate and the first part of the tunnel approach on the right hand side of the track, it is amazing how much smarter it all looked.

We were also fortunate to have the Ferrari Owners Club visit, their Chairman making a special journey from Oxfordshire to enjoy the delights that Doune has to offer.  

With Saturdays practice witnessing some runs pretty close to their records it was obvious if the weather held on Sunday some records would tumble, Saturday evening the sun came out and we spent a pleasant evening at the club barbeque in the barns.  

Sunday wasn’t as sunny and heavy rain was forecast for 4pm so we ran without a lunch break to ensure at least the first runs would be dry which was the case.  

The heavens opened at an hour earlier than forecast which meant the fastest times were done in the morning and little was left to fight for however as mentioned some records did fall.  

The day was won by the current leader of the British Championship Scott Moran with a very respectable sub 36 second run, the last runs of the day held in the pouring rain were a different story altogether with the first runners in the dry they took the spoils despite being the slower of the cars to qualify.  

We did have one incident which saw a driver taken to hospital as a cautionary measure having hit the new barrier at post one, no further news at this time but I am assured it is purely cautionary due to a previous injury. 

Next weekend we see the Jaguar Drivers attending for their annual get together after a run up the Trossachs, let’s hope the weather stays fine for them after all it is mid summer! 

Tim Thomson

 

Doune Ponds 2016

10/05/2016

Crowds flocked to Doune Ponds last Saturday morning for the official opening of the new junction and footpath around the back of the main pond.  The opening ceremony was conducted by Lady Moray, who expressed her pleasure and admiration for all the work that the volunteers from the Doune Community Woodland Group had put into upgrading the footpaths in Doune Ponds.  The footpath project has seen some 500 metres of new footpath installed, and the refurbishment of many existing paths, all undertaken by volunteer labour, with financial assistance provided by the Community Pride Fund, the Windfarm Trust and the Kilmadock Community Council.  Doune Ponds, which are owned by Moray Estates, are managed in partnership with the local community through the Doune Woodland Community Group.

Wildlife Estates Scotland accreditation

04/05/2016

WILDLIFE ESTATES ACCREDITATION

Doune Estate has managed to achieve Level 2 Accreditation in the Wildlife Estates Scotland initiative. This initiative, which is promoted and sponsored by Scottish Land and Estates, the umbrella organisation for landowners and managers in Scotland has three fundamental aims:

  1. Promote best practice in game and wildlife management
  2. Build information on species and their habitats, wildlife management, conservation projects and integration with other land uses to monitor continuous improvement
  3. Use information to engage public and private stakeholders in encouraging best practice management for further maintenance of Scotland’s biodiversity

Moray Estates as a whole is already accredited at Level 1, which requires estates to sign up to the 10 fundamental principles of estate management:

            1. Identification of the landowner or nominated representative for the estate concerned.

2. Undertaking active wildlife management2 following a long-term integrated wildlife management plan.

3. Maintaining records and monitoring delivery of the wildlife management plan.

4. Undertaking sustainable shooting, stalking and/or fishing.

5. Managing for a sustainable balance of game, deer and other species and their shared habitats.

6. Maintaining best practice standards of animal welfare.

7. Compliance with all legal requirements and relevant Scottish codes of practice.

8. Adhering to the requirements of the Agreement between Birdlife International and FACE on Directive 79/409/EEC, the European Charter on Hunting and Biodiversity and the EU Commission’s Guide on Hunting under the Birds Directive.

9. Maintaining active engagement with local communities and undertaking education/awareness raising activities.

10. To apply for the Level 2 Accreditation process.

To reach level 2 accreditation you have to produce evidence of practical steps that an estate has taken to comply with these priniciples.  At Doune, where there is no commercial shooting activities, it actually was quite difficult to produce the kind of evidence that would have been required, because in many way the WES accreditation is primarily aimed at sporting estates.  However, we were able to produce plenty of evidence of the way in which we manage the estate in a sustainable way that enhances biodiversity, through the activities we undertake on the estate such as renewable energy, forestry and farming and also our close working relationship with the local community in the management of Doune Ponds.

The next stage for Moray Estates is to achieve level 2 status for Darnaway and we will be working towards that this year.

 for more information on Wildlife Estates Scotland, follow the link: http://www.wildlife-estates.co.uk/

Moray Estates Newsletter - April 2016

04/05/2016

Download our latest newsletter here

Doune Ponds Fun Day

03/09/2015

The crowds were out last Saturday for the inaugural “Fun Day” at Doune Ponds. The event, aimed at raising the profile of the community management of Doune Ponds amongst local residents, proved to be a great success.  Activities included a 2km fun run, a special appearance of the Doune Pipe Band, a barbecue, welly whanging and more informative material about the correct way to feed the burgeoning duck population.  The highlight for a number of Doune residents was perhaps having the opportunity to throw sponges at the current and one former estate manager, who had been fastened into the former estate manager's own stocks! 

The Fun Day is one of a number of events and activities that have been arranged by the Doune Community Woodland, who are managing Doune Ponds in partnership with Moray Estates.

 

Full Steam Ahead for Annat Hydro Scheme

14/08/2015

The Annat Hydro Scheme is getting near to completion.  This 500kW scheme on the Annat Burn at Doune, has a Feed-in-Tariff deadline of December 2015 and, thanks the sterling efforts of contractors TSL Limited from Mull, we are very hopeful of meeting that deadline.  At the time of writing the intake dam is all but complete, 75% of the mile-long pipe has been laid and work has started to the powerhouse.  The Gilkes turbine is due to arrive on site on the 13th October and is currently being manufactured in Gilkes’ factory in Kendal.  The final piece of the jigsaw is the grid connection and Scottish and Southern Electricity have made a start on that part of the project, which has been reliant on the imminent completion of the Beauly-Denny powerline. 

For further information please contact – Rory McLeod, Doune Estate Manager.

Kids Woodland Workshops at Doune Ponds

11/08/2015

KIDS WOODLAND WORKSHOPS AT DOUNE PONDS 

Over the last two weeks 6 environmental workshops for local children have been held at the Doune Ponds. The workshops were organised by Kirsty Cathrine of Caledonian Conservation, who is also a board member of the Doune Woodland Community Group, through funding made available by the Forestry Commission’s Community Fund. The topics of the workshops were stories and environmental art for toddlers, birds, pond dipping, a teddy bear hunt for toddlers, an insect hunt and, finally, environmental art for children.

The workshops were generally oversubscribed, but with so many opportunities we think most children who wanted to, were able to attend at least one workshop. On the back of this success plans for future workshops will be made. More details (and photos) can be found on the Doune Community Woodland Group Facebook page (www.facebook.com/dounecommunitywoodlandgroup)

Doune Ponds, at 10 acre former sand and gravel quarry site near the centre of Doune, are managed through a Partnership between Moray Estates and the Doune Community Woodland Group. 

Moray Estates Newsletter - May 2015

12/05/2015

Download our latest newsletter here

Doune Community Woodland Group

29/04/2015

Easter Eggs Spotted at the Ponds

On a glorious Easter Sunday an amazing turnout of kids and families from Doune and beyond took part in the inaugural Doune Ponds Easter Egg Hunt. Over 100 people took part with 60 eggs being distributed to those lucky enough to be able to decipher the cryptic clues and work out the Puzzle of the Ponds. Very well done to Kirsty Cathrine and her team of helpers for organising the event and well done to everyone who took part.  It’s wonderful to see the Ponds being put to a great community use – exactly what was intended when the Doune Community Woodland Group took over the management of the Ponds from Stirling Council in 2014. Watch out for more family fun activities over the summer.

Those who attended the Easter Egg Hunt can’t have failed to notice the considerable improvements that have been made to the Ponds over the past few months. The most recent improvement is to the entrance where the transformative effect has been incredible. The memory of a muddy obstacle course is well and truly consigned to the dustbin of the past, and we now have an entrance, complete with new gate, that really welcomes visitors rather than putting them off. Most of the hard work at the entrance was undertaken by the Wednesday morning club, who applied themselves extremely diligently to the task. The long debate over the exact line of the timber edging was obviously extremely worthwhile as the line of the path now blends perfectly into the rest of the Ponds.

Another volunteer day was held on Easter Monday, with tasks ranging from clearing another viewpoint on the edge of the main pond to bringing some order to the mass of fallen trees just past the main entrance.  In addition the information board inside the bird hide at the south-western end of the main pond has been renovated and reinstalled.    

DOUNE HILL CLIMB REPORT - 18/19 APRIL 2015

23/04/2015

The weather played a great part in a very busy weekend at the Carse Hill for the opening rounds of the Scottish Hillclimb Championship. The sun shone all weekend and, whilst a chilly wind prevailed at times, the spirit of the competition was not blown away.

The club has spent a lot of time and money over the winter erecting new barriers as required by the sports governing body, (the MSA), helping to further improve our great safety measures on the hill, These things never stand still and constant updating is all part of the plan.

We were particularly pleased with the look of the new barriers and feel an enhancement of the area which has removed the necessity for the many hay bales dotted around the site - some will still have to be used until the club can purchase more Recticel barriers - but these are expensive and in short supply at the moment.

For the first time in many years for the April meeting we had a capacity entry of 110 cars , ranging from road cars all the way through to the top class hillclimb single seaters, it is the latter that has pushed for the improvement of barriers as some top speeds are well in excess of 100 mph.

We also held a cavalcade of classic vehicles, some of which the younger spectators had never seen before, but were everyday cars back in the 50, 60, 70’s such as Morris Marina, Ford Consul and Austin A35 - or was it an A40 the argument still rumbles on.

We look forward to similar weather in June when the British Championship contenders join the Scottish for a traditional battle of national versus local talent.

Tim Thomson

 

 

 

 

Annat Burn Hydro Scheme, Doune

07/04/2015

Work has now started on the Annat Burn Hydro Scheme at Doune.  This 500kW scheme will produce electricity to be exported to the national grid and will be completed by December 2015.  The main job initially is to create access to the intake site, approximately opposite the Camp Stone on the Annat Burn, and also to the Powerhouse site, which will be located below the big agricultural sheds at Milton of Cambus, some 1.5 km below the intake. Once these access tracks have been created, the concrete intake and the powerhouse will be built simultaneously.  After building work is complete, a penstock pipe will be laid between the intake and the powerhouse.  The work is being carried out by TSL Ltd. of Mull, with project management by babyHydro from Dunfermline and design engineering by Campbell of Doune. Deadlines for completion of the work are extremely tight, and we expect the turbine to be delivered in September for commissioning by the end of November. Please contact Rory McLeod, Estate Manager at Doune on 01786 842347 for further details.

Partnership between Medco and the local community to look after the management of Doune Ponds

13/11/2014

Following on from 3 successful volunteer days in the summer, the "Doune Community Woodland Group" have been formally constituted to allow a management agreement to be reached for the Ponds.  Medco, through Rory McLeod, sit on the newly formed committee and the next job will be to complete both the management agreement and a 5 year management plan for the ponds.  The volunteer days have included a lot of scrub and weed clearance that have really opened up the picnic area at the ponds, considerable cleaning of the very attractive carved wooden benches and some necessary repairs to bridges.  Earlier in the summer a group of volunteers, led by Jimmy Innes of the Community Council made an excellent job of repairing the steps between the ponds and the Lundie road.  Future works will include footpath improvements, educational visits and more scrub clearance. 

Three-year conservation project begins at nature spot

13/11/2014

To view the article relating to this which appeared in the Forres Gazette on the 12th of November 2014 click here.

"Landowner's Commitment"

07/11/2014

Moray Estates is a member of the landowner's representative organisation Scottish Land & Estates. SL&E recently launched a Landowner's Commitment setting out how members are expected to manage their land.  The Commitment, which we fully endorse, can be found here.

Moray Estates Newsletter - August 2014

02/09/2014

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NEW STEPS AT DOUNE PONDS

29/08/2014

On Saturday 9 August, Lady Moray was invited to open the newly re-furbished steps at the north end of Doune Ponds.  The steps, which connect the Ponds to the Lundie road and then on to the Commonty Walk, had been in a state of poor repair for a number of years. At the initiative of Kilmadock Community Council sufficient funds were raised to provide all the necessary materials. In itself, the fundraising was an excellent achievement, however the efforts of local volunteers, led by Jimmy Innes and John Blackwood, were such that the steps were complete within two weeks.

This initiative is part of a wider scheme for Doune Ponds. The Ponds were managed by Stirling Council, through a management agreement, which they relinquished at the end of 2013. The local community expressed a wish to be involved in the management of the Ponds in the future, and at present work is proceeding in partnership between Medco and the local community to update the Doune Ponds Management Plan and produce a new management agreement between Medco and the Community.

The “official” opening of the steps was attended by approximately 30 people, most of whom had volunteered over the previous two weeks to get the steps finished in time. 

Cluny Wind Turbine

08/08/2014

The Estate's new wind turbine became operational recently. The Enercon E33 turbine generates 300 kw and is situated at Cluny Farm near Rafford in Moray. The project has been arranged by Guy Spurway of Caber Energy.

As we will shortly have real time access to the turbine's output on our computer screens, I can see us being glued to them hoping for the wind to pick up a little.

Charity Cycle Ride

31/07/2014

Moray Estates' Managing Director Andrew Howard last week completed a 500 miles in 5 days cycle from Perth to Stowe raising funds for the Childrens Hospices Association Scotland (CHAS). Andrew rode with cycling friends from Bidwells who were celebrating their 175 anniversary at Stowe School. The four cyclists have raised about £5000 for CHAS so far from the ride.

Harvest 2014

31/07/2014

The 2014 harvest got off to a warm and sunny start last week with winter barley soon gobbled up and a good start has now been made on oil seed rape. Yields and quality are generally pretty good. However the clouds have started to gather and rain looks to be on the way. Normal service resumes?!

The Secret History of our Streets

31/07/2014

Lord Moray last week featured in the BBC2 television programme The Secret History of our Streets featuring Moray Place in Edinburgh, which had been the vision of the 10th Earl of Moray. The programme also touched on the Estate's plans for Tornagrain and the link back to Moray Place. The programme is still available on BBC iPlayer http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b04bx5r1/the-secret-history-of-our-streets-series-2-1-the-moray-estate-edinburgh

Doune Estate Hydropower Schemes

08/05/2014

Hydro-power on the Doune Estate took a couple of steps towards becoming a reality this week.  Engineering consultants, Campbell of Doune, have been appointed to design our 500kW scheme on the Annat Burn, together with consultants babyHydro who will oversee the project management of the whole scheme.  Construction work will start later this summer with completion due by November 2015. Applications for planning consent and a water abstraction licence were also made this week for our proposed scheme at Milton of Callander.  This scheme is located in the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park, so a full Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was required to accompany the planning application. The EIA was produced for us by babyHydro and is a very significant piece of work, covering ecological, landscape, archaeological and construction issues, amongst others.  We hope to have a decision on the Milton scheme by August this year, with construction anticipated in 2015/2016.    

Cluny Wind Turbine

07/05/2014

The Estate's investment in renewables has started to feel more real with the erection of 330 kw Enercon turbine at Cluny Farm. The turbine is due to be energised in mid-May. We hope that this project will shortly be followed by two hydro electric schemes.

Moray Estates Newsletter - March 2014

21/03/2014

Download our latest newsletter here

Wood of Doune

20/03/2014

The intense gales that occurred in December of 2013 produced extremely strong gusts (locally up to 100mph), saturated soil compounded the power of the wind and as a result well rooted trees were snapped and overturned, punching holes into an area of mature conifer woodland (planted in 1948) that was retained along Stirling Road.

 

It had been the intention and part of the approved Woodland Plan that this 2 hectare section of mixed conifer woodland (Norway spruce and Scots pine) be retained for at least 10yrs providing a valuable habitat for wildlife and a visual screen from the road.  However, such was the damage close to houses, the A84 trunk road and an electrical substation it was agreed with the Forestry Commission that the remaining trees needed to be cleared as the stability of the stand was severely compromised.

 

The storms in December had led to windblown trees seriously damaging the perimeter wall, garden and outbuilding of a neighbouring property and this alone took several weeks to clear using local tree surgeons and Moray Estates forestry team.  The presence of the busy A84 and the Stirling Road substation complicated matters further and the felling operation needed to be completed in a short space of time to reduce disruption to road users and the electrical supply of Doune.  The decision was made to bring in a specialist harvesting machine that was approved to work close to high voltage electrical equipment and crucially was also able to cut and move large diameter trees in a vertical position before placing them down for processing – greatly speeding up the roadside felling.  This machine (more likely seen on TV’s Axemen) is the only one currently in Europe and was booked in to start felling in the last week of February.  Neighbours were consulted over operations, traffic control was put in place for 4 days and numerous lookouts were used to ensure the safety of the operations within a complex worksite.  The felling was completed in just over a week.

 

At time of writing the extraction of cut timber is just underway, this phase of work is due to be completed by the end of April.  Because of the lack of timber lorry access the timber will be forwarded to the Pistol Makers Row Entrance, a distance of 1.3km.  There is unfortunately no other way to get the timber out and such are the ground conditions we are expecting heavy rutting along the route of the machines which will impact on sections of the unofficial path network used by local residents.  Once the extraction is competed we aim to restore the routes for walking when ground conditions allow.  The Core Path (the estate forest road) will be largely unaffected.  Looking further ahead (over the next 5-10years) it is sensible to consider extending the forest road/track network from Pistol Makers Row further into the wood to allow for regular thinning of other crop trees without ground damage.  We aim to consult with the Community Council over any emerging proposals in due course, particularly as these routes will of course have a dual purpose and will provide well surfaced recreational tracks.

 

Although commercial timber production is still an objective within the Wood of Doune, forest management is more often than not multi-functional and within the most recently felled area there will be with a strong focus on landscaping and wildlife habitat.  The plan is to replant this section of the woodland with mixed woodland species, focussing lower growing species next to the road and close to back gardens so as to maintain light levels and limit future problems with roadside trees.  As recently as 2011 we would have been considering the planting of Ash as a component of this woodland, but given the rapid movement of Ash dieback (Chalara fraxinea) this option is not available.  Instead we will be replanting and also encouraging regeneration of native broadleaved trees and shrubs (birch, oak, hazel, holly, alder and blackthorn) with perhaps a small component of conifers in the centre of the felled area.  Planting is scheduled for this this coming autumn. The young woodland will develop into a visual screen in 5-10yrs time and will hopefully present less tree management issues over the next 50yrs.

Darnaway Castle Visit

20/03/2014

Lord and Lady Moray welcomed classes P1/2 and P2/3/4 from Dyke Primary to Darnaway Castle on Tuesday 11th March. John Moray gave the children a tour of both the outside and inside the castle which included swords, skulls and secret passages. The children were very enthusiastic and their verdict on the portrait of the dead Bonny Earl O' Moray was that it was "pretty cool"!


Lower Home Catch

19/02/2014

Michael Gough caught this Spring run approx. seventeen pounder on the Lower Home beat on Friday 14th February 2014

2015 World Orienteering Championships come to Moray Estates

08/10/2013

Darnaway Castle, home to Lord Moray, will be one of the venues at the heart of the World Orienteering Championships in 2015.  The event, which will bring thousands of competitors and specators from around the world, is at Darnaway for the second time.  The first World Championships to be held in the UK were held at Darnaway in 1976.

Lord Moray is the patron of the WOC 2015.

Moray Estates Newsletter - September 2013

25/09/2013

To download the latest Newsletter Click Here.

Lothian Car Club - September Event

19/09/2013

The penultimate round of the British Championship took place at Doune this September as part of the Scottish Hillclimb Championship.  Despite the title being already decided by this September event, the day attracted 101 entrants with many travelling up from the south.  Scott Moran achieved a 3rd place which guaranteed him the British Championship as he only needed a 5th or better place to take the title. 

The rain on the Sunday of the 2 day event provided a challenge for the drivers but certainly gave the opportunity for those with nimble, smaller cars to give the big engine machines a real run for their money!

Doune Allotments off to an explosive start

16/09/2013

The Kilmadock Community Allotment Group got a bit more than they bargained for when they were granted the use of one of Medco's fields next to the old railway at Doune.  Since being granted a peppercorn lease last year, three "live" grenades, believed to have their origins in the Second World War, have been found, each of which have required the services of bomb squad to be safely disposed of.  It is believed that much of that area was used as a rifle range during the war and it's suspect that these grenades were left over from ammunition dumps.  It transpires that there were a number of these dumps throughout the Trossachs area and we understand that a number have been re-discovered over the years.  Other than the grenades, the allotments have been a great success and it has been interesting to see the many and varied uses that the group have found for their allotments.  The grenades, of course, do put a slightly ironic twist on Digging for Victory.  

Woodlands' Staff Changes

04/09/2013

At the end of August we had a change in faces with Justin Adamson leaving to go back to his studies and Rhys Thomas, (pictured), arriving to fill the middle year post in the Woodlands Department.

Justin had been with us for just over a year and is returning to the Scottish School of Foresty, part of the UHI in Inverness to continue his towards a BSc in Forestry.  With a background in engineering Justin brought some useful skills to the forestry team and has done well especially in developing safe systems of work in the estate sawmilling and firewood processing enterprises.  As with the farming business it is important that future managers have a solid background in the practical elements of the industry and Justin has been involved in hardwood thinning operations, (gaining his chainsaw certificates), timber measurement, tree health monitoring and planting operations.

With the college not too far away Justin plans to continue to stay on the Estate, living at Whitemire, Darnaway with his partner Justina and their growing family.

Rhys has moved up from West Wales to start his year-long placement.  The son of a forester, Rhys is continuing the family tradition by studying at the same college that his father attended, the National School of Forestry, Cumbria, England.

Connage Highland Dairy

04/09/2013

Try a visit to Connage Highland Dairy next time you go to Inverness.  Just outside the village of Ardersier, the Clark family make their own fabulous organic cheese and have a quite remarkable cheese shop.  You can also get great coffee and cakes.  You won't be disappointed.  www.connage.co.uk.

The Clarks let two farms from the Estate and are currently installing robotic milkers as part of a modernisation of the farm, which includes investment from the Estate.  21st century milking to artisan cheese making on one farm!

1st Forres Scouts' Summer Camp

30/08/2013

1st Forres Scout Group recently enjoyed a camp at the Aitnoch Stone Tent on Moray Estates' Braemoray Estate.  The Stone Tent, (a bothy), proved a great place for adventure including canoeing on hill lochs on the estate and, during the course of the camp, a number of the Scouts achieved their Land & Water Scout Activity Badges

Scottish Open 2013

30/08/2013

At the recently hugely successful Scottish Open at Castle Stuart Golf Links on Moray Estates' Castle Stuart, it was announced that the event would be returning in either 2015 or 2016.  Well done to the team there for three years of really putting Highlands' golf on the map.

Rory McLeod - Doune Estate Manager

21/08/2013

Rory McLeod MRICS joined the Company in May 2013.  He is a Chartered Surveyor, who previously worked for Bidwells in their Fort William and Perth offices.  Having studied Land Economy at Aberdeen and Ecological Design at Robert Gordon's he took a ten year "sabbatical" from land agency to work in conservation, primarily leading teams building upland footpaths for the National Trust for Scotland.  Rory is responsible for the management of the Company's Doune Estate and lives at Doune.

Piping Hot Forres

15/08/2013

Moray Estates were delighted to be associated with the Piping Hot, European Pipe Band Championships in Forres for 2013.  The event, which took place on  Saturday, 29th of June in beautiful sunshine, was hailed a huge success by all.  120 bands competed in the Championship in Grant Park with an estimated attending crowd of 15,000, proving a marvellous draw for the town.

The Championship will be held in Forres in June 2014 and June 2015 with the potential for the venue also to be Forres beyond 2015.

2012 Staff Changes

13/07/2012

2012 has seen a number of changes in staff including the retirement of George McCulloch, the Estate's Engineer, who had been with the Company since 1976.

Also George Traill, Doune Head Forester, retired following 33 years of service on the Doune Estate. 

We have also recently been joined by Justin Adamson who, as a Trainee Forester on his Middle Year Placement, will be with us until July 2013.

Gareth Gets On His Bike

13/07/2012

Gareth Whymant retired as Woodlands Manager on the 20th of April this year after 21 years with the Company. Joining us from Ardverikie near Newtonmore as Head Forester, Gareth very quickly moved to the position of Woodlands Manager. 

A keen and accomplished cyclist Gareth will remain on the Estate enjoying his retirement with his wife, Dee. Gareth's helpful nature and generosity will be missed around the office environs and we send him our best wishes for a long and happy retirement.

Lenny's Big Catch

23/04/2012

Congratulations to Lenny Nicol for catching this 27lb salmon, (Lenny's biggest ever catch), on Moray Estates' Meads Beat on the River Findhorn. Lenny, normally the shy, retiring type, never one to court publicity, (what with those waistcoats??!!), wanted us to let everyone bear witness to his fishing prowess. He caught this absolute beauty with a black and red devon lure on the 18th of April.

Moray Estates Newsletter - March 2012

21/03/2012

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