Rural Employer Finalists 2018

Mackie’s of Scotland

Rothienorman, Aberdeenshire

Mackie’s is a pioneering fourth generation family, vertically integrated food and farming business – making dairy ice cream and chocolate on the farm in Aberdeenshire. The family have been farming there since 1912 and making ice cream in a ‘sky to scoop design chain’ since 1986. They started making ice cream with surplus cream – left over when people began to drink more semi-skimmed milk.


Forestry Commission Scotland

Galloway Forest Park

Forestry Commission Scotland was formed as part of the Forestry Commission UK in 1919. Galloway Forest Park was created in 1947 and is the UK’s largest at over 97,000 hectares and is one central part of the larger Galloway Forest which stretches to 113,000 hectares in size. The work force is around 100 direct employees with the tourism team comprising of 14 staff. Our prime goal is to make the forest park the place to visit and the corner stone to tourism in the south west of Scotland.


Loch Duart Ltd.

Scourie, Sutherland

Established in 1999, Loch Duart is an independent Scottish salmon farming business. It was founded on the principle of farming in a sustainable manner and making no compromise in its aim to produce the best tasting salmon available. Producing around 5,200 tonnes of exceptionally high quality salmon per year, Loch Duart employs 115 people in the Hebrides and Sutherland in the far North West of Scotland. This whole, fresh salmon is sold to leading hotels, restaurants and retailers in the UK and worldwide.


Jerba Campervans

North Berwick, East Lothian

Jerba Campervans is Scotland’s only Volkswagen registered campervan conversion business, and one of only four Volkswagen certified bodybuilders in the UK. Jerba designed and patented a unique detachable roof unit, and offers bespoke caravans with customisation (within limits) of colours and shapes of units. Jerba offers high-quality engineering jobs in a rural setting. Jerba is an anchor- business within a rural setting – being the first to locate to its current area – to which other other high-end rural lifestyle businesses soon followed, creating an oasis of high quality rural employment opportunities.


Heaven Scent and Victus Consultancy

Milnathort, Kinross-shire

Starting with a few waiting staff in the original coffee shop, the company has evolved and expanded over the past 14 years, and now comprises Heaven Scent Kitchen outside catering and vending, Heavens Above unique dining and events space, The Secret Garden, Kinnairds at Knockhill and most recently Heaven Scent Café at Dunfermline Carnegie Library and Galleries.


Gordon Castle Scotland

Fochabers, Moray

Gordon Castle Estate, Walled Garden and the Gordon Castle Scotland brand are the results of eight years hard work by Angus and Zara Gordon Lennox since they took over the running of Gordon Castle Estate, Fochabers in 2008. Today, the Estate offers exclusive use accommodation in the Castle, self-catering holiday cottages, world-class salmon fishing, Walled Garden visitor attraction, natural children’s play area and a cafe serving delicious fresh food from the garden and local suppliers.


Fraser C Robb

Drymen, Glasgow

Fraser C Robb, sell and service all types of ground and garden care equipment. The business is well respected by its wide range of customers. From domestic users, putting a lawnmower in for a service, to a council and its entire collection of ground care equipment. The family business has endured by evolving with technology and an ever-changing marketplace.


Forest Holidays Limited

Strathyre Callander Callander, Perthshire

The concept that became Forest Holidays was started by the Forestry Commission in the 1960s. Since then they’ve grown across nine locations, with 571 cabins and approximately 600 employees. Their luxury self-catering cabins set in the heart of Britain’s beautiful forests, including Ardgartan Argyll and Strathyre in Scotland. The forest and its long term future is at the heart of their ethos as a company. Even as they expand, Forest Holidays remains true to their roots. They contribute £2m each year to the Forestry Commission which supports them in their vision of managing the forests for recreation, conservation and commercial sustainability and they help to ensure that their publicly owned forests remain publicly owned.


CalMac Ferries Ltd (Caledonian MacBrayne)

Inverclyde, Glasgow

Award-winning Caledonian MacBrayne (CalMac) operates the UK’s largest ferry network, carrying some five million passengers, 1.3 million cars and 79,000 commercial vehicles on 145,000 sailings in 2016. The company sails 33 vessels on 49 routes destinations. With routes dating back 166 years, CalMac provides lifeline services under contract to the Scottish Government. The £1 billion Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Services (CHFS) contract for 2016-2024 was won by CalMac in 2016, in the face of stiff competition from international service company Serco.


Cairnie Fruit Farm & Mega Maze

Cupar, Fife

Cairnie Fruit Farm & Mega Maze is a family-run farming enterprise established in 1970 specialising in Grade 1 soft fruit production for the commercial market as well as being one of the original Pick Your Own farms in all of Scotland. Over the decades the business has evolved into ‘Agritainment’ with the addition of a purpose built farm shop and  indoor/outdoor cafe, a six-acre Maize Maze and large outdoor Funyard. The Pick Your Own has also evolved with over 20 plus acres of strawberries, raspberries, tayberries, brambles, gooseberries, red and blackcurrants, cherries, pumpkins and sunflowers too. Collectively they employ over 40 people to run the shop and cafe and outdoor area, and another 60 plus seasonal staff to harvest the commercial fruit.