Finlay Shand (22) received the prestigious Young Gamekeeper of the Year Award 2023 from Alex Hogg, MBE, Chairman of organisers, The Scottish Gamekeepers Association (SGA), at the GWCT Scottish Game Fair in the grounds of Scone Palace.
The award recognises externally nominated professionals in the early stages of a career on land or river who are adjudged to stand apart as ambassadors for gamekeeping, deer stalking or ghillie-ing.
Finlay, who works at Invermark Estate in Glenesk, impressed judges with his passion, maturity and management experience and his willingness to help educate others about the values of good stewardship of Scotland’s countryside.
His prowess on the clay shooting circuit, during his rare spare time away from grouse, deer and pheasants, was also commended by judges who praised his all-round commitment to his ‘calling’ and way of life.
By virtue of achieving qualification scores, Finlay will travel to Ireland to represent the Scots in the DTL discipline at the European and British championships as well as the Home Internationals.
Competing previously for the Scottish junior team, he secured a team Gold in the British Open and a 4th in the Euros as well as topping his previous highest scores.
Finlay said: “My father actually encouraged me to learn a trade and said that I could always come back to gamekeeping, later. In all honesty, I was having none of it. Gamekeeping was always something I wanted to do. As soon as I was off the school bus, it was always a case of going straight back home to help dad.
“Since then, I have learned so much from a lot of good people. I enjoy the great variety of the work, meeting sporting clients from all over the world and all walks of life.
“It is also good to get involved in the education side, helping people to learn more about what gamekeeping is and the benefits it creates in our landscape.”
“Every year, it is a real task for the judges to select only one winner but that is to the credit of our young people and to the benefit of our future as a sector,” said SGA Chairman Alex Hogg, when presenting the prize.
“Finlay is one-of-a-kind and it is due to his dedication that he has gone out, as a young man, and gained such a depth of experience for his 22 years. He is thoroughly deserving of the 2023 award.”