Garrogie is a mixed Highland estate with a wind farm, four hydro schemes, sheep farming and also offers grouse shooting and deer stalking, but only when there is a shootable surplus.
Garrogie Estate provides permanent full-time jobs, which are particularly valuable in this remote part of Highland Scotland.
Charlie Connell, owner of Garrogie, said:
“Our focus is very much on long-term employment. We have four full-time employees, four part-time employees and seven contractors. Many of our staff stay with us for three or four decades.
“Usually we would employ an additional 40 staff on every driven grouse day. In a good year we can have 15 days of shooting but grouse numbers are cyclical and over the past 40 years we have only had a shootable surplus of grouse in 18 of those years.”
An analysis conducted in 2017 by the Loch Ness Rural Communities group showed that local businesses including hotels, shops and car mechanics also benefit significantly from sporting estates. Each estate in the region spends on average £564,451 per year with local businesses.
Charlie Connell continued:
“We have a long-term view which is not about short-term profit but rather to ensure continuity of the various commercial enterprises and to maintain and improve habitats for a variety of vulnerable species. We have golden eagles, peregrines, red and black grouse, mountain hares, curlew and golden plover. We also ensure that every deer and grouse shot on the estate is eaten.”
The blanket bog at Garrogie Estate covers 2,000 acres and is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest. Peatland restoration projects have been ongoing for a number of years, rewetting land that was drained for agriculture in the 1960s.
The members of the Loch Ness Rural Communities group have landholdings extending over 52,000 hectares. The entirety of this land is managed in accordance with the Agri-Environment Climate Scheme Scotland, in order to protect waders and rare black grouse.
Sporting shooting offers an ideal balance of conservation, economic and social benefits.