Gamekeeper among top three young country sports people in Scotland

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A BORDERS gamekeeper is in line to win a Scotland-wide competition for young country sports people.

Borders College Higher National Certificate Gamekeeping and Wildlife student Finlay Girdwood is one of just three finalists in the Scottish Countryside Alliance Education Trust’s Tam Tod Trophy.

Finlay said: “I’m both surprised and honoured to be nominated for this award. I’m looking forward to attending the awards ceremony.”

The apprentice gamekeeper at Bowhill, Selkirk, completed a National Certificate in Gamekeeping before starting work towards his HNC in Gamekeeping with Wildlife Management.

Finlay attends Borders College on three-week blocks and is set to complete his HNC next June.

He commented: “I’ve always been involved with gamekeeping, living on an estate where my Dad was head keeper and now my brother has taken over this role. It’s what I’ve always wanted to do and it’s good to get the qualifications as well as the experience on another estate.”

His gamekeeping course tutor, Garry Dickson said: “Finlay has made an excellent impression, both in college and within the estate. His manners, dedication and work ethic are exemplary for one so young.

“Finlay has completed his Deer Management Qualification level 1 as well as the British Association for Shooting and Conservation ‘Safe Shot’ course and has proven to be a safe, responsible and accurate shot with both shotgun and rifle.

“I have witnessed Finlay perform shoot-day tasks such as beating and flanking on both pheasant and grouse days and he is always alert, smart in appearance and courteous to all shoot-day staff.

“Finlay also completed a three-week placement on a sporting estate in Sweden where he received excellent reports from the head keeper. When I look at Finlay I feel satisfied the future of our keepering way of life is in safe hands.”

The prize recognises excellence in young country sports people.

The finalists have been invited to the Scottish Countryside Alliance Awards at Holyrood on March 4, when the winner will be announced.