Scottish Woodlands Regional Manager honoured in ‘Tree Oscars’
One of Scottish Woodlands regional managers has been rewarded for his efforts to integrate farming and forestry in Scotland’s ‘Tree Oscars’.
Andy Maclachlan, Regional Manager for South West Scotland, was honoured in Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards for his work with farmer John MacGregor at Allanfauld, Kilsyth, North Lanarkshire.
Independent judges praised the mutual respect and trust that Andy and fourth generation farmer John have built up while planting trees over almost a decade at Allanfauld.
The 623-hectare farm was a double winner in the Awards, which were presented in person at the Royal Highland Show at Ingliston for the first time since 2019.
Andy and John won the Young People’s Farm Woodland Award (for farmers and foresters aged 40 and under) and the family farm owners A MacGregor (Allanfauld) Ltd were highly commended in the overall Farm Woodland award.
The judges said: “Andy is primarily a forester with some limited knowledge of farming but a recognition of the importance of working closely with farmer clients and respecting their needs and interests.
“John is a farmer through and through with little interest in the details of forestry per se but with a very strong interest in knowing how new plantings can be designed to ensure they integrate well with his livestock interests. Andy and he have worked closely on all aspects of design, planting and follow-up management.”
The judges described John MacGregor and his father Archie as forward-thinking, adding: “Historically, this has been reflected in their focus on the improvement and marketing of their premium livestock enterprises. But, they also recognise the importance of diversification for improving the overall farm viability and have shown a willingness to incorporate new approaches.”
Scottish Woodlands Ltd is a strong supporter of Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards, and joint sponsor of the Farm Woodland Awards with SAC Consulting.
The ‘all age’ Farm Woodland Award was shared between Williamwood, Lockerbie and Knockbain Farm, Dingwall in Ross-shire. Williamwood, judges said, was “striving to improve woodland habitats in complete fusion with food production and taking these mission statements to the public via their holiday accommodation”.
Without the woodland, the owners Michael and Shirley Clarke said, “the farm would be exposed to the strong winds which blow from the Solway, the grass would not grow as well and we, our livestock and the wildlife would shiver.”
Joint winner Knockbain Farm was praised for the shelter provided by trees, which “undoubtedly increased the farm’s capital value”. Firewood provides heating through a biomass boiler for the farmhouse and income is generated through timber sales. It was described as “an outstanding example of what can be achieved in environmental, social and business terms by expanding woodland connectivity’.
The winner of the overall award receives the beautiful Lilburn Trophy, a silver salver donated to the Awards by the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland.
The Young People’s Award receives a striking trophy created by Scottish Woodlands Ltd when the award was introduced in 2019.