BASC Gamekeepers’ Day celebrates the best of the profession


BASC held its annual Gamekeepers’ Day at Blair Castle, Perthshire on Monday 28 March.

Led by Mike Holliday, Chair of BASC Scotland Gamekeeping & Wildlife Management Working Group, more than 80 gamekeepers attended the day, including gamekeeping students from Elmwood and Borders colleges.

Throughout the morning, a variety of speakers gave informative and enlightening contributions. 

First up was Helen Benson of the Gamekeepers’ Welfare Trust (GWT), who spoke about the fantastic services that the charity offers for gamekeepers. 

As part of a drive to raise awareness around gamekeepers’ health, the charity had GWT nurses on hand throughout the day to offer free health checks. Their work is vital in ensuring early intervention on a wide variety of health conditions.

Also speaking on the day was Matt Balfour of St David’s Vets, who discussed on the impact of avian influenza. Jamie Stewart from Police Scotland attended the day too, promoting awareness preventing and tackling rural crime. Ross MacLeod of the GWCT then gave a presentation on snaring in Scotland.

Rounding off the morning, Scotland Director Dr Colin Shedden presented an informative summary of the Wildlife Management and Muirburn (Scotland) Bill.

As part of BASC’s political engagement, MSPs Edward Mountain, Murdo Fraser and Rural Affairs Committee Convenor, Finlay Carson all joined the MSP panel, with a lively discussion on the impact of the Hunting with Dogs (Scotland) Act 2023, the new grouse shoot licensing proposals, and the value of shooting. 

Perth & Kinross Liberal Democrat councillor, Claire McLaren, later joined to discuss rural mental health and access to rural services.

With the results of the SNP leadership vote being announced simultaneously in Edinburgh, South Perthshire MSP Jim Fairlie sent his apologies and will meet BASC at a later date to discuss pertinent issues.

The sun shone brilliantly during the afternoon session, which featured a clay pigeon shooting competition, prizegiving and raffle. Congratulations go to Rian Waugh of Borders College, who won the student high gun trophy and to Craig Brown, who won the High Gun trophy.

BASC Scotland would like to thank all speakers, sponsors, attendees for their contributions and their hard work to make it a fantastic and informative day at Blair Castle.

Read more from BASC Scotland on our dedicated pages here.