A Speyside teenager has been named Scotland’s young gamekeeper of the year.
Iain Coltart, from Carrbridge, collected the coveted prize after impressing judges from the Scottish Gamekeepers Association (SGA) with his skills, maturity, passion and his ability to communicate the role of the modern gamekeeper.
The 18-year-old tends grouse, pheasants and red deer at Glendoe Estate near Loch Ness, whilst also supporting a range of threatened moorland birds.
The extensive hydro scheme at Glendoe and the Stronelairg windfarm on a neighbouring estate means he is also in regular contact with many other hill users on a daily basis.
Mr Coltart, who completed a modern apprenticeship before studying at North Highland College UHI in Thurso, said: “I always wanted to work outdoors.
“Every single day is different. There is nothing like it, in my view. It is my passion.”
Highlands and Islands MSP Edward Mountain, convener of Holyrood’s rural economy and connectivity committee, handed the prize to Mr Coltart at the Scottish Game Fair yesterday.
He said: “I am delighted that Iain has been awarded this prize. His passion and drive, which has been developed not only by the North Highland College but by being an apprentice, is a credit to him.”
SGA Chairman Alex Hogg said: “The decision was a very difficult one, with a final shortlist of three – all of whom are a credit to their work.
“It is great to see youngsters such as Iain emerging and taking up positions of trust within our profession.”