Meet Alison Wilson, she has two busy jobs - a nurse in the NHS and wife of a head gamekeeper. She has had a varied involvement within the industry as most rural women in her position do. “In the early days, I was out on the beating line (which may I add on a Scottish grouse moor is no easy feat and should never be underestimated!!) I would go flanking, I would help the cooks, I would be the cook, I would help the housekeepers, I would be the housekeeper, I would be a dog trainer, be a dog breeder, I would help the shepherds, I would work in the estate office if required. Basically I helped out wherever I was needed. These days however I can be found picking up with my pack of gun dogs (while trying my hardest to make them look like they have had really good training!). Being a keepers wife is quite a busy job in itself and I take my hat off to all my fellow wags for the juggling we do!”
When Covid hit Alison helped to set up a rural community group offering help to those who needed it. This proved successful and is still running today. She has also been heavily involved in this local moorland group, advocating the rural workers projects and helping our rural community have a voice. She is passionate about fighting misinformation about our industry portrayed by the media.
Another goal of Alison’s is to continue advocating youngsters on the reality of conservation and the benefits of moorland management. “We lived in Yorkshire for 9 years where my husband Paul ran a successful commercial shoot. It was here that we staged educational days for the local children, teaching them the reality of the shooting industry. This is something we would like to help our local moorland group achieve locally at Cawdor Estate and surrounding schools. There are dates in the diary for these events and I am very much looking forward to being part of them. Our son Ross grew up beating on the moor and I feel this has greatly contributed to who he is as a person. Our daughter Katie began grouse beating on the moor 2 years ago and is a firm fixture on the line. She has begun going to neighbouring estates pheasant and partridge beating. I believe this to be a valuable part of their growing up, providing them with confidence, life skills and some cash for their pockets! It is really important we carry on educating youngsters on the benefits of rural working and living”