The Scottish Rural Awards, the ultimate benchmark of excellence in the Scottish countryside, celebrated the culmination of nine months of nominations, deliberations and judging at our gala dinner and awards ceremony at Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh on 31st March 2016, where nearly 400 guests held their breath as the winners were announced across all 10 categories open for nominations. Toby and Mary Fichtner-Irvine were awarded the Rural Hero award, sponsored by Chiene & Tait, for their work developing the Isle of Muck, whilst Skye chef and businesswoman Shirley Spear was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award – sponsored by Scotland’s Rural College – for her work with The Three Chimneys, and her enthusiasm and dedication in improving Scottish cuisine and tourism.
The Scottish Rural Awards have gained such a huge following and respect that over 20,000 people watched our Facebook page as the nominations came in, along with their fascinating stories charting a truly inspirational journey of achievement.
The Scottish Rural Awards really do show the true industry, innovation, dedication and aspiration of those who live and work in rural areas, highlighting their triumphs and the difficulties they have had to overcome in order to thrive. As with last year, each category gave businesses, organisations and individuals the opportunity to be recognised for their often herculean efforts in creating the beautiful fabric that is Scotland’s countryside.
Judged by an esteemed panel of industry leaders and experts, the awards is a rigorous multi-stage process, including pre-scoring by the awards administration team, where entries are discussed and evaluated in detail to decide a shortlist of six finalists in each category. Judges may then visit finalists before further reviewing and evaluating to decide the winning entries.
Our sponsors comments were amazing; their delight at being able to commit to the 2016 Awards shows just how important and valuable it is to tell the world about Scotland’s real industry – the Scottish countryside.
Just some of our sponsors comments:
“We are proud and honoured to have the opportunity to sponsor the Education category, with so many outstanding and dedicated nominees. We wanted to be part of something that inspires and supports young people’s lives, which fits so well into everything we truly believe in at Strathallan. We have been inspired and motivated by all those who have been nominated, and Strathallan hopes to continue to make a difference in the educational world.”
“Showing our readers the joys of the Scottish countryside is one of the main aims of Scottish Field, so our sponsorship of the Rural Tourism award is a perfect fit. Everyone at Scottish Field was amazed at the quality and attention to detail showed by the nominees in this hard-fought category.” – Richard Bath, editor, Scottish Field
“The Scottish Countryside Alliance was thrilled to be part of the judging team in the only awards to truly recognise the innovation and dedication of those who live and work in rural Scotland. The process was both informative and rewarding. The level of commitment from many of the nominees filled us with great pride and admiration, and we wish them all the very best of luck on the night.” – Jamie Stewart
“HWEnergy has been installing and servicing biomass boilers for the Scottish hotel and hospitality industry since 2003 and are proud to work with so many leading businesses in the sector. Although our installation team and service engineers work nationwide, we remain proud of our rural roots. That’s why we are delighted to be working the Scottish Countryside Alliance and Scottish Field to sponsor this very special category.”
“At Bank of Scotland we view business success as a journey. We want to provide combined support that adds real value, and secures long-term growth. Scotland is home to a vibrant business landscape, where agriculture meets the entrepreneurial spirit providing the finest food and drink to both domestic and international markets.”
“Clarendon is delighted to be part of the Scottish Rural Awards. We take pride in sponsoring the Business Diversification category and in having the opportunity to support rural businesses to invest in their future.”
“Scotland’s Rural College is delighted to sponsor the Lifetime Achievement Award as it celebrates an individual who has had a long-term impact on the rural sector. That is very much something we endeavour to do, supporting the land-based industries right through from training young people to advising farmers to carrying out cutting-edge applied research.”
“We are very proud to be taking part in our first Scottish Rural Awards. At Kilgraston, we offer many opportunities for our pupils to develop their enterprise and entrepreneurial skills to prepare them for the business world. We are delighted to be sponsoring the Rural Enterprise award as it acknowledges the hard work, effort and risk-taking from an individual, business or organisation in an extremely competitive sector.”
“Gillespie Macandrew are proud to be part of the Scottish Rural Awards 2016 and are pleased to sponsor the Business Start Up Award. This Award recognises the fantastic efforts of recently established businesses in Scotland focusing on their innovation, application and inspirational products and services.”
“Any initiative that supports and encourages the best of rural Scotland and agriculture gets our support. The Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland is delighted to be sponsoring the Artisan Food category and look forward to see the shortlist, which we’re sure will be packed with fine, Scottish producers.”
“We are delighted to be sponsoring the Artisan Drinks category at this year’s Scottish Rural Awards. Scotland continues to produce a plethora of high quality innovative products within the drinks industry and the list of entries for this year’s award epitomises this. At Aldi we are delighted to have had the opportunity to work with a large number of Scottish drinks suppliers and have invested heavily in this area over the years. Through the likes of our Scottish Beer Festival we have offered a platform for emerging Scottish drinks suppliers to showpiece their products on a national scale and greatly improve their future business growth opportunities. We wish all the entrants in this year’s awards every success and look forward to continuing our investment in the Scottish drinks industry in the future. – Michael Whiteford, Buying Director at Aldi”
Stirling Management School is proud to sponsor the category of Conservation and the Environment. At the heart of everything we do is a focus on sustainability – in other words, people, planet and profit. A company that cares about conservation and the environment is a company that has carefully integrated strategic priorities that should be recognised and celebrated.