During the season Aigas employs up to 22 people who work closely together to ensure the place runs to the high standards we expect. Everyone helps everyone else and there is a strong team spirit here.
Overseeing it all, our two directors:
Working tirelessly in the office:
The field staff team consists of:
Katie Hatton - Field Officer
Louise Hughes - Staff Naturalist
Ben Jones - Seasonal Ranger
Emilie Shuttlewood - Seasonal Ranger
Alison Tait - Seasonal Ranger
Daniel Myers - Seasonal Ranger
Nicola Hume - Seasonal Ranger
Kerri Milligan - Seasonal Ranger
Guest group leaders:
Providing all the firewood, mowing the lawns and keeping the whole ship afloat:
Sir John Lister-Kaye is one of Scotland's best-known naturalists and writers on wildlife and nature conservation. He is a Times columnist and the author of nine books on his work with wildlife. His best-selling non-fiction 'Song of the Rolling Earth' was published in March 2003, and it's sequel, 'Nature's Child' in 2004. 'At the Water's Edge' followed in 2010, and his latest book, 'Gods of the Morning' (2015) won the inaugural Richard Jefferies Prize for nature writing.
In a 40 year career, he was the first Chairman of Scottish Natural Heritage for the Highlands & Islands, President of the Scottish Wildlife Trust and Chairman of the government's Environmental Training Organisation and is currently a Vice President of RSPB. In 1986 he received the World Wilderness Foundation's gold medal for environmental education, has received honorary doctorates from St Andrew's and Stirling Universities, and, in 2003 he was awarded an OBE for services to nature conservation. In 2016, he was awarded the Royal Scottish Geographical Society's Geddes Medal for conservation, and made an honorary FRSGS.
He has lectured on wildlife and conservation on three continents: has led exciting expeditions to wilderness such as the Kalahari & Namib Deserts, the Atlas mountains, the Amazon basin, the Galapagos and followed the polar bear migration across the pack ice of the Barent's Sea. In the winter of 2008/9 he undertook a four month, 8,000 mile Land Rover expedition up Africa's Great Rift Valley.
Lucy is a local girl. Her mother was a Mackintosh of Balvraid and a close cousin to the chiefs of Clan Mackintosh at Moy. The Mackintoshes played a prominent role in the Jacobite uprising which culminated in the defeat of Gaeldom at Culloden in 1746. A square of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s plaid has been handed down to Lucy and is on display at Aigas.
Lucy runs the household at Aigas, master-minding the cooking and preparing (and publishing!) the menus - all covered in the food page. She somehow also finds time to bake cakes and supervise her domestic staff, as well as being matriarch to a large extended family!
In between times she is a JP for the Highlands and is very active in fundraising for the Highland Hospice. But her passion is the garden. She has created the Aigas gardens single-handed (with engineering support from John and the family) and continues to extend them year on year.
Aged nineteen he mustered sheep and cattle in Western Australia and The Northern Territory for a year before returning to Britain and starting a career as an Officer in the British Army. He served for six years with The Highlanders during which time he negotiated sensitive disarmament agreements with bands of militia in the hills of Kosovo, patrolled Northern Ireland before the ceasefire and trained hundreds of recruits.
He has travelled extensively and has led groups and lectured on cruise ships around South America, Antarctica, the Mediterranean and elsewhere. He ran his own South America based travel company for five years.
Warwick rejoined the family business in 2008 and spends his spare time exploring his passion for the wild mountainous terrain of the Highlands. He is also a professional photographer and keen paraglider.
Sheila's career path has covered many angles - originally trained in catering, she moved to a secretarial career while living in Edinburgh, culminating in a PA position with the National Trust for Scotland HQ. Moving north with her husband in 1970 meant another change to becoming a book-keeper when running two businesses - firstly a filling station, followed by a small country Hotel, where her catering expertise was rekindled.
While daughter Mhairi was at school, she worked part time as an outworker painting pewter miniatures, and helping run a Collector's Society for the company.
Sheila's hobbies include playing the accordion, walking, gardening, craft work and child-minding her young grand-daughter, Chloe. She also finds time to be involved with the local WRI, and Church social group, and works alongside Lucy Lister-Kaye, as Treasurer of the Scotland's Gardens local district.
Twenty four years ago she happily moved north, married and settled in nearby Kiltarlity. She has two daughters, one at University in Edinburgh and the other in Honduras working as a volunteer teacher with Project Trust.
When her children were young, Marjory held various part-time administration roles in Inverness. Marjory is an active member of various local organisations within Kiltarlity Village. Her hobbies include hill walking, ski-ing and craft work.
Katie joined us in the winter of 2014 and embarked upon the huge task of learning the complexities of Aigas, training the new rangers and brushing up on her own local knowledge. After enjoying a successful first season at Aigas, Katie is already looking forward to starting her second!
She completed a BSc in Biology and an MSc in Environmental Consultancy at Newcastle University. After a brief spell working in London, she escaped the city in 2011 to work on the Soay sheep project out on St Kilda. Katie completely fell in love with the island and its rich diversity, and returned several times to work on the project. In 2013, Katie was lucky enough to be selected to join a team on the ZSL Tsaobis baboon project in Namibia, researching wild chacma baboons. She then went on to spend 8 months volunteering for the National Trust on the North Cornwall coast where she learned a whole range of practical conservation skills.
Katie's role involves managing the Ranger team and assisting Warwick with the day to day management decisions and delivery of our programmes. Earlier this year Katie went toYellowstone to lead the Winter Wolves programme, which was a truly unforgettable experience. Katie is a passionate hill walker and adventurer and is never happier than when exploring the wild and lonely places throughout the Highlands, with a small tent and provisions for a couple of days.
After initially joining Aigas as a Seasonal Ranger last February, Louise moved into the fulltime role of Staff Naturalist in August. She has loved the opportunity to manage our Scottish Wildcat Breeding Project, monitor wildlife on site, communicate and interpret the local natural history to guests and social media followers as well as assisting with training Rangers.
Louise grew up in the heart of Devon, within a stone’s throw of Exmoor, where her love and interest in the natural world really began. In 2013, she graduated with a BSc in Environmental Resource Management from Plymouth University. She has since worked as a Ranger in Cape Verde on a loggerhead turtle conservation project, as a Wildlife Adviser for the RSPB and as an intern for their Migrant’s Programme in their International Department.
At the end of last season, Louise led our two Hungary: Cranes, Plains and Przewalski’s Horse programmes. The sheer number of cranes seen coming in to roost was incredible; a very moving and unforgettable experience.
Ben was born and raised on the South coast of England in Portsmouth. His fascination with the natural world came at a young age from encountering wildlife whilst camping in the New Forest and walking in the South Downs National Park. His close ties with the sea spurred him to study a Marine Biology Degree at Swansea University.
After graduating in 2012 wildlife guiding and environmental education have been his chief vocations.
In 2014 he spent 3 months working in Madagascar, conducting environmental education and biodiversity surveys of the coral reefs and forests. On his return he moved to the West coast of Scotland and took work as a wildlife guide, showing off the Inner Hebrides whilst working alongside film crews and scientists. The wildlife and scenery astonished Ben, leaving him with the urge to return to Scotland and again work alongside its iconic wildlife.
Ben has a passion for wildlife photography and relishes travelling with his camera and ukulele by his side.
Emilie’s keen interest in everything outdoors started from a young age. Frequent family visits to the Massif Central in France allowed her to pursue her love of mountain walking, whilst encountering wildlife such as marmots and red squirrels. She went on to study Ecology and Conservation at Manchester Metropolitan University and developed a special interest in birds. This passion evolved further after volunteering at Lista Bird Observatory in Norway during May 2015, where she helped with bird ringing and migratory seabird counts.
Emilie then wanted to concentrate on furthering her practical conservation skills and undertook a year as a Trainee Reserve Officer with the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust, where she obtained qualifications including chainsawing, dry stone walling and hedgelaying, whilst also organising public badger watches. Emilie has had the opportunity to work with the National Trust in Cumbria this winter and is looking forward to an exciting and inspirational time at Aigas.
Born and raised on the south-west coast of Scotland, Alison has always had a passion for Scottish wildlife and the Highlands. She earned a degree in Zoology from the University of Glasgow. In 2014, Alison spent a month in Madagascar assisting with ecological and biodiversity studies, where she discovered an interest in field work. In 2015, she spent 6 weeks on the Isle of Islay studying the local wildlife with other members of the University of Glasgow Exploration Society. In 2016, Alison went onto lead the Isle of Islay expedition, where she also carried out wildlife workshops with local children. She has also taken part in environmental education with primary school children in Glasgow.
Alison spends her spare time on photography, hill-walking and travelling.
As a boy Daniel walked and camped with his family throughout the UK making many a trip to the Lake District and venturing up Scotland’s Ben Nevis at the age of nine. From these adventures grew his wholehearted passion for nature and wildlife.
Daniel stayed at Aigas when he was thirteen learning about the wonders of Scottish wildlife and the importance of conservation and education. He volunteered for the Lancashire Wildlife Trust before moving to Scotland to study Ecology and Conservation at the University of St Andrews. Whilst there he volunteered for the Scottish Deer Centre in Cupar and for the Scottish National Trust at Culzean Castle.
After finishing his studies Daniel took the opportunity to travel and contribute to conservation projects around the world. On his journey he volunteered for a sperm whale research vessel in the Balearic Islands, an elephant sanctuary in Thailand and for conservation research teams in South Africa and Peru’s Amazon rainforest.
Spending much of his free time enjoying nature Daniel also pursues all manner of outdoor sports and has played competitive badminton for many years. He believes that becoming immersed in nature is the best way to appreciate and learn about it.
Travelling and working in remote places internationally such as the Amazon rainforest, The Andes, The Alps, Scandinavian forests, Lapland and much of Europe’s coastline has given Nicola a wider knowledge of the world’s ecosystems, organisms and the challenges they face.
Whist working in North Carolina she led groups of teenagers on camping trips in to the Blue Ridge Mountains, teaching outdoor skills and introducing them to the natural world, which many of them had not experienced before.
After working as a Product Designer for three years she felt that many aspects of the industry were unsustainable and so made the decision to embark on a career change in to wildlife and conservation. She has since been involved in voluntary work for the Marine Conservation Society, tree planting with Friends of the River Almond, rewilding work with Trees for Life in the Scottish Highlands and marine species monitoring in the Forth Estuary.
Kerri’s interest in nature was sparked at a very young age from the wildlife that she encountered on her regular family walks in London’s Epping Forest. This love of wildlife drove her to study Zoology at Leeds University.
In 2014 Kerri moved to South Africa in order to become a Nature Guide and was fortunate enough to gain work on a wildlife monitoring project, allowing her to spend two years in the country. During this time Kerri was exposed to a plethora of wildlife, ranging from tiny insects to huge land mammals and many creatures in between.
Since returning from South Africa, Kerri has worked for The Bushcraft Company, teaching children bushcraft skills and inspiring them to forget technology and embrace spending time getting covered in mud in the woods. Environmental education is a topic that Kerri is passionate about and believes should be accessible to people of all ages and from all backgrounds.
Liam has been involved in planning and delivering environmental education ever since graduating from Cardiff University in 2010, and has consequently taught and lived throughout Scotland, England, and Wales. He studied the environmental and socio-economic implications of small scale fisheries in the Eastern Aegean.
He is passionate about the environment and enjoys climbing, hill walking, wild camping, playing and producing music, and meeting new people. He believes that environmental education has the power to inspire people and is the main reason he loves coming to work each day.
Born and raised in Reading, Rachel always enjoyed being outdoors horse riding and going on countryside walks as a child. She studied Biological Sciences at Birmingham University with the highlight being a trip to Brazil to conduct field research on capybara behaviour. She went on to pursue a master’s in Wild Animal Biology, furthering her interest in wildlife and conservation.
Rachel is passionate about encouraging people to enjoy the outdoors and nature, raising awareness of the importance of protecting our environment. She spent the summer of 2015 volunteering with the Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife centre in Wales, educating children and the public about the amazing marine wildlife in the area. She is excited about continuing in this field of work in the beautiful Scottish highlands.
In her own time, Rachel enjoys playing the piano, going to the theatre and trying her hand at any kind of outdoor activity!
Charlotte (or Charlie, as we all call her) had a great childhood growing up surrounded by the Kent countryside, with her parents inspiring her to develop an appreciation for the natural world from an early age.
Throughout her undergraduate degree in archaeology, she enjoyed researching the relationship between people and their environment, particularly the interactions between people and animals throughout history. This led her to write her dissertation with an emphasis in zooarchaeology. From this point she made the decision to concentrate her career on contributing to environmental conservation.
After university she began volunteering with various wildlife education charities including a post at the Natural History Museum in London within the tropical butterfly and moth exhibition. Her association with the museum then continued from a volunteering position into a post within the Visitor Engagement team.
She was then lucky enough to work as an intern within Costa Rica’s Tortuguero National Park for a couple of months in the summer of 2016. Here she was involved with the jaguar, bird, sea turtle and jungle biodiversity projects – a highlight of which was seeing a jaguar chasing off black vultures from a kill in the wild! These experiences only further solidified her drive to continue in the field of wildlife education and conservation.
Sketching and painting would be amongst her favourite hobbies as well as going on adventures exploring Scotland’s gorgeous landscapes!
Robin’s Highland credentials are pretty good; his mother’s family came from Cawdor and Orkney, he has known the Highlands and Islands all his life, and has lived in Assynt, Orkney, Strathglass, Skye, and, once again, is resident in the inspirational Parish of Assynt.
His book, North and West, is a very readable introduction to these various aspects of the landscape about which he is so enthusiastic. His in-depth studies of ancient woodland in the Highlands have made him into an acknowledged expert in this field.
Artist, singer and hill-walker, Robin asks nothing better than to introduce other people to his beloved Highlands. Robin has recently published a new book Castles in the Mist.
Laurie is one of Scotland's most accomplished and well known nature photographers. We owe him an enormous debt of gratitude for the images he has furnished us with; not only for this website but in all of our marketing material and presentations.
He leads our two photography weeks and they are always the first weeks to fill - so book early to take advantage of Laurie's patient and generous teaching style and limitless knowledge on all things photography.
Details of Laurie's courses are available here.
His first job, in 1995, was as a Ranger at Aigas Field Centre. It was there he says that he became the avid naturalist he is now, through a combination of his enthusiasm, the location and the expertise and support of all the staff there. He has never been the same since!
After Aigas he worked as a Countryside Ranger, Environmental Education Officer and for the last 7 years a Local Authority Biodiversity Officer. These jobs took him on a 10 year lap of Scotland, with two detours to Africa. He returned to the Highlands in 2005 to become the job-share Highland Biodiversity Officer. To occupy and fund the rest of his time he is a freelance wildlife guide.
Though he is interested in all of nature, dragonflies are his favourites.
Hugh is a native Highlander living on the Black Isle. He is a proud parent and grand-parent married to Karen who is a kilt maker by profession.
Hugh has worked at Aigas for the past twelve years. Duties include maintenance of cabins and other property, upkeep of grounds round the house – grass cutting, fencing, tree felling and other jobs connected to estate work. Any spare time Hugh has he enjoys walking, cycling, reading, war films and especially westerns, and a good malt whisky.
Monika and Maciej (pronounced Magic) are from Eastern Poland and have worked with us on a seasonal basis for some years. From 2010 we are delighted to have them on board full time!
Monika assists Lucy in the kitchen and leads the other domestic staff in all their various vital tasks; a role that she performs with a ready smile and a steady unflapability.
Maciej is Hugh's right hand man around the grounds; maintaining properties and infrastructure, chopping and bringing in the firewood, mowing the lawns - he's a busy man. Hugh is teaching him a curious dialect of Highland English with some fascinating results!
Headed by our Housekeeper Monika our household team of Betty, Dominika and Marlena are now old hands at Aigas. Wieslawa is our cook who joined the team in 2014.
Our Polish girls are a wonderful asset to Aigas. Their enthusiasm, commitment and constant cheerfulness have delivered a high efficient service to all guests for many years. They are a constant delight to work with.