Sunday 7 July 2019


A youngster earmarked as a potential future golfer was named Scotland’s Young Gamekeeper of the Year 2019 on Friday at the GWCT Scottish Game Fair in Scone Parklands.
Ciaran Woodman-Robinson (22) grew up in Worcestershire with no background in gamekeeping, spending hours caddying for his dad, PGA Golf Professional, Noel Woodman.
However, after becoming hooked on gamekeeping after helping a club greenkeeper with squirrel and deer control, Ciaran opted to follow his new vocation.
Yesterday, his determination and maturity was recognised as he was crowned Scotland’s best young gamekeeper, after narrowly missing out the year before.
The accolade is one of the most prestigious in the profession and is awarded by Scottish Gamekeepers Association (SGA) judges, in recognition of beneficial management and ambassadorial aptitude.
Ciaran was drafted in at Edradynate Estate, Perthshire, in 2017 as part of a completely new management approach and team, headed up by new Head Gamekeeper, Ian Smith.
Since then the gamekeeping staff have made significant positive changes, leading to the satisfaction of sporting customers and a much improved net benefit for wildlife.
“There has been a big and recognisable change at the estate,” said Ciaran, who was so determined to succeed in his new calling that he told a former Head Gamekeeper he would work for free.
“We have been planting trees, game cover and wild bird mixes and working closely with the farming side, improving things. We have a lot of songbirds here, there are a lot more lapwing and curlew in different areas and we are starting to do a little controlled burning now on the hill as well.
“With the game cover and wild bird mixes, we have much more birdlife in total.
“It is lovely to see them. The land management and predator control on the shooting side of the operation helps all the other things, too.”
According to his first Head Gamekeeper, Ciaran first arrived in Scotland on a voluntary 3 week placement with ‘2 or 3 sets of clothes, a clapped-out car and a couple of Pot Noodles’.
However, after proving himself, he refused to leave and has been in Scotland ever since.
“I think, because I did not come from a gamekeeping background, it made me determined to prove myself and to make an impression,” said the youngster, who has been given a high level of responsibility within the new approach at Edradynate.
Also receiving Long Service Awards from the SGA for 40 years or more of un-broken service to the profession were Ronnie Francis Grigor, who worked 50 years in the industry after leaving school at 15.
Gordon Mullen, who retired in 2016, Len Dey - who works at Stair Estates - and Bryan Burrows, who now has a role with the South of Scotland Golden Eagle project, were all recipients.
However, the biggest surprise of the day was for The SGA’s own Chairman, Alex Hogg, who was secretly nominated by his family for 45 years and counting as a gamekeeper.
He said: “It was a complete and utter shock but, like all the recipients, a real honour,” said the Borders gamekeeper, who started out at Kelburn Estate in 1974. “My wife Caroline and daughter Kirsty even made an excuse to come to the Fair without me knowing about it. It’s been a great day. Every one of these individuals should feel proud of what they have given back to Scotland’s countryside.”