Prestigious rural awards heading home to Argyll

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Four Argyll businesses are celebrating success at the recent Scottish Rural Awards.

Oban-based biotechnology company Xanthella was overall winner in the Rural Enterprise and Innovation category, with judges praising their work to create renewable electricity from algae.

Other Argyll wins included Ninth Wave Restaurant in Fionnphort, which took the runner-up spot in the Rural Hospitality category, and Luss Estates which received a highly commended award in the Business Diversification category. There was also good news for relative newcomer Wild Thyme Spirits based on Colonsay, as it landed a highly commended award in the Business Start Up category.

Finalists from Argyll included Campbeltown distillers Beinn an Tuirc (Artisan Drink category); Inverawe Smokehouse in Taynuilt (Artisan Food); Food From Argyll at the Pier (Business Start Up); Oban-based Back of Beyond Broadband (Rural Enterprise and Innovation); and The Crinan Hotel (Rural Hospitality).

Douglas Watson, winner of the Lifetime Achievement accolade
Douglas Watson, winner of the Lifetime Achievement award.

The Scottish Rural Awards are the ultimate benchmark of success in Scotland’s countryside, highlighting the enterprise, skill and innovation of those who live and work in rural areas.

The awards ceremony, held at Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh, is the culmination of a fourth year of partnership between Scottish Field magazine and the Scottish Countryside Alliance to host the awards, in association with the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland. The awards are backed by category sponsors including Barclays, Chiene + Tait and HW Energy.

Those who have made special contributions to the Scottish countryside were honoured with two separate accolades – the Rural Hero Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award.

The Rural Hero award was collectively presented to the team behind ‘Are Ewe Okay?’, a mental health campaign aimed at young farmers, while the Lifetime Achievement accolade was awarded to Douglas Watson, senior project manager with the Scottish Agricultural Organisation Society.


Fin and Eileen Geekie of Wild Thyme Spirits Ltd landed a highly commended award in the Business Start Up category. no_a14_Wild-Thyme-Spirits01