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Rural businesses honoured at Scottish Countryside Alliance Awards reception

The Scottish Countryside Alliance held its annual ‘Rural Oscars’ awards ceremony on Wednesday 13 March at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh, where we celebrated rural businesses and crowned our Scottish champions.

Thousands of nominations from around the country were whittled down via a public vote, with the final few being honoured on Wednesday night. The winner of each category will go on to represent Scotland in the national champions reception at the House of Lords in June, competing against other finalists from Wales, Northern Ireland, and England.

Jake Swindells, Director of the Countryside Alliance Scotland, said on the night:

"Running a business in a rural community isn’t easy, particularly in recent times. The evening was all about celebrating the valued role these rural enterprises have in their communities. The Countryside Alliance is proud to be honouring a group of people so clearly passionate about the goods and services they provide throughout our incredible countryside.”

Meet our Scottish winners and highly commended businesses.


Local Food and Drink - This award celebrates those who are playing an integral role in supporting the rural economy. It commends those who champion local produce and help to enhance their local community.

Winner – Black Bull Hotel, Lauder

The winner of this category is an enterprise which prides itself on greeting old and new customers with not only top quality produce and food but lively banter and a warm welcome. They are passionate about ensuring only the best produce reaches their kitchens which means they showcase the finest local Scottish produce such as quality beef, lamb, fish and seasonal game, all prepared to order. Local produce is as central to this enterprise as bees are to honey.

Highly Commended - Tufted Duck Eatery, Rait

This enterprise has captured the hearts of locals and tourists alike. Situated in the Rait antiques centre this is a wonderful spot for a bite to eat where the hard-working team serve you outstanding local food with exceptional customer service, where the owner goes out of his to make sure every single customer is treated like an old friend. Not only will the Tufted Duck eatery leave you full and ready for your next adventure but you can even buy the table you are sat at.


Butcher - This award celebrates Butchers who are providing that key link between local people and the farms and fields that surround them. It commends those who have a high regard for animal welfare and puts their community on the map through the quality local produce they sell.

Winner – Fostons Fine Meats, Duns

This fantastic butcher’s shop has been serving the community for over 11 years and where they believe in the importance of supporting local farmers and promoting sustainable practices - working only with local suppliers who prioritise animal welfare and ethical farming methods. The butchers here are experts in their craft and are always ready to provide helpful hints to ensure every customer is satisfied. Greig Foston has over 30 years of experience and with his keen eye and steady hand, he transforms raw cuts of meat into works of culinary art.

Highly Commended – Martin Baird Butchers, Melrose

Martin Baird comes from a family who have farmed near Kelso for generations and fully understands the conditions required to produce high-quality meats. With a team of experienced traditional butchers, they pride themselves on offering premium quality meat produce at highly competitive prices all while giving good customer service and sharing their knowledge and passion for butchery with all who will listen.


Pub - This award celebrates pubs that are motivated by a sense of community and maintain that ‘classic’ pub feel. It commends those who are at the heart of the community and help to put the local area on the map by reflecting its specific county or region.

Winner – Gordon Arms, Gordon

This pub is the hub of this community where you are always guaranteed a warm welcome. From the most amazing afternoon tea to delicious food and drink from locally sourced suppliers not to mention the lovely smiling welcome and warm atmosphere, this pub has it all! Owner Tara contributes a lot to the community by being involved in the annual flower show, she helped fill the gap when the Gordon “wee shop” closed down and has even taken on the prescription drop-off service for residents. The pub also helped local sports clubs raise much needed funds to buy the nearby sports field and secure the future of sporting ventures in the area! This is the community hub for the village of Gordon, in the Scottish Borders. Don’t take our word for it! These are just a few of the lovely comments we received from members of the public at the nominations stage of the awards.

Highly Commended - The Black Bull, Gartmore

This pub is the heart of the community. As a former Drovers Inn, the local community bought the pub in 2019 to secure its future for generations to come. Sit by the cosy fire and order from the extensive list of Scottish ales and their in-house brewed lager or enjoy the scenery and local hospitality in the beer garden on a warm summer’s day. With 6 guest rooms, all impeccably furnished you will not want to leave. The pub is run by the community, for the community and they are very worthy recipients of our highly commended award.


Rural Enterprise Award - This award celebrates the imagination and ingenuity of individuals in the countryside supporting the rural economy. It commends those who have made a real contribution to the community through jobs and services and helped to enhance the local area.

WinnerScott Country International

This family run partnership which first opened its doors on the high street of Castle Douglas in 2001. In 2009 they decided to move the shop exclusively online, but still provide a bespoke in-person service to their customers, on request. The business has continued to grow as the most recognised specialist retailer of night vision and thermal imaging technology in the UK. They pride themselves in their platinum level of customer care and will always put the customer first, providing excellent after-care service ensuring every customer receives the level of care expected from the team at Scott Country. They are leading the way in innovation and services for wildlife surveillance and research, in the field of hunting and are also the official supplier to law enforcement agencies and emergency services.

Highly Commended- Ardnamurchan Distillery

This enterprise that has been supplying quality whiskey to customers worldwide, from the first whiskey produced in 2014 to today. Situated on the most westerly peninsula in Scotland, the company prides itself in employing a local workforce at its bottling plant in Fife and the distillery on the Ardnamurchan Peninsula. The distillery is very much part of the community by helping to fund educational opportunities in the area. Together with the Ardnamurchan Trust, the Distillery gifted a cask to local teenagers in an initiative where they can sell it back to the distillery to help raise funds for their education. The Distillery is run using renewable energy, and by-products are turned into animal feed for use by the local farming community.  The barley used to produce the whiskey is grown near the bottling plant in Fife, completing the circle of farm to bottle.


Best Village Shop and Post Office - This award celebrates the important role village shops play in rural communities. It commends those who go above and beyond the call of duty and are the hub of the community.

Winner Muasdale Stores, Tarbert

This award goes to a village shop where serving their community is the heart of the enterprise. This was taken directly from the nomination comments for this worthy winner:

“In our very remote location on the Kintyre Peninsula, west Scotland, Muasdale Stores is the heartbeat for our combined communities. A superb, well-stocked shop with essentials, local produce, gifts and freshly served hot food. The shop, which is open 7 days a week, is a lifeline to the local community when the alternative is an hour round trip to a supermarket!  The owner, Will Anderson and his husband Steve are also farmers!!! Working long hours in the shop and the farm it’s amazing how he always has a warm welcome and lovely smile to greet everyone. He really deserves some recognition”.

Highly Commended - Carfrae Farm Shop

This business which only opened its doors in 2022, you can find this shop tucked away in a lovely, converted barn that used to house Clydesdale horses back in the 1950’s. The farm shop is filled to the brim with local and Scottish produce, and it has an amazing selection of East Lothian products that showcase a huge variety of amazing treats and gifts from the local area. Owners Trudi and Eric have developed this farm shop in such a short space of time to what it is today! What a fantastic achievement.

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