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
Jack Ward - Seasonal Ranger
Ruth Molloy - Seasonal Ranger
Jenny Armstrong - Seasonal Ranger
Jenna Berry - Seasonal Ranger
Ben Jones - Seasonal Ranger
George Clark - Seasonal Ranger
The education staff of our charitable arm - Naturedays - are:
Liam Ring - Education Manager
Josie Slade - Education Officer
Rachel Buckley - Seasonal Education Officer
Lucy Webber - Part-time Education Officer
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 eight books on his work with wildlife. His best-selling non-fiction ‘Song of the Rolling Earth’, was published in March 2003, At the Water's Edge in February 2010 and his latest - Gods of the Morning - will be published in early 2015.
In a 30 year nature conservation career he is an honorary Vice President of RSPB, was for seven years the Chairman of Scottish Natural Heritage for the Highlands & Islands, is a former President of the Scottish Wildlife Trust and Chairman of the government’s Environmental Training Organisation. In 1986 he won the World Wilderness Foundation’s gold award for environmental education; he has received honorary doctorates from St Andrew’s and Stirling Universities and in 2003 he was awarded the OBE for services to nature conservation.
He has lectured on conservation and environmental politics on three continents; has led exciting expeditions to wilderness areas like the Kalahari Desert, the Ecuadorian Amazon and the Atlas mountains. In March 2003 he took his wife, Lucy, and his daughters Hermione and Amelia to Svalbard to follow the polar bear migration across the pack ice, only 350 miles from the North Pole. He has recently returned from a four month expedition up the 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 has worked at Aigas since February 2003, as Book-Keeper/Secretary.
Sheila's career path demonstrates her multi-talents. Originally she trained in catering, but decided to make a career change, working her way up to PA with the National Trust for Scotland in Edinburgh. Later she developed her expertise in book keeping by running her own businesses; first a filling station, then a hotel in the Inverness area.
While Sheila's daughter (Mhairi) was at school she worked part time painting pewter miniatures and doing secretarial work from home.
Sheila has a particular interest in traditional Scottish music – she plays the accordion in a local Ceilidh Band (cnocciuil). Sheila also enjoys walking and gardening.
Twenty years ago she happily moved north, married and settled in nearby Kiltarlity. She has two teenage daughters. When her children were young, Marjory held various part-time administration roles in Inverness.
Family summer holidays are spent camping on the Mull of Kintyre with other families and friends, and winter ski holidays in France. 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.
Whilst completing a BSc Hons degree in Animal Behaviour & Welfare at the University of Chester, he also worked as a ranger for The Deer Study Centre and completed a ranger course in South Africa’s Kruger National Park.
Since graduating in 2011, Jack has worked as a Marine Biologist in Quebec and for the past three years has lived and worked in the Cairngorms National Park, as a Reindeer Herder, monitoring the herd in the Cairngorms and leading groups to see the mountains and surrounding wildlife. He has worked throughout the Scottish Highlands and Islands as an ecologist and wildlife filmmaker for the RSPB and Wildlife Trust. Jack continues to pursue a career in conservation as a qualified bird ringer and deer manager. He has a real love for the wildness of the mountains, and is a keen wildlife photographer. He is an avid hill walker and fell runner.
Ruth joined the Ranger team in 2015 and after an enjoyable season she's back for more! Last year Ruth particularly enjoyed getting to know the local wildlife around Aigas, running tree planting workshops and discovering the magical place that is Orkney.
Her love for nature and the environment began as a young girl after being inspired by summer holidays in the Highlands. After graduating with a degree in Zoology from Newcastle University Ruth moved to the Isle of Mull to start a job as a guide for a whale and wildlife watching operator. Five years later, after many unforgettable marine encounters and a masters in Marine Ecology from the University of Glasgow under her belt, Ruth moved to New Zealand for a year where she was lucky enough to work as a guide viewing dusky dolphins and albatross every day.
In her spare time Ruth enjoys hill walking, wild swimming, wildlife watching, reading and is a keen traveller.
Channelling a curiosity and passion for the natural world into a career in the natural sciences, Jenny has completed degrees at St Andrews and York, most recently acquiring a PhD from the University of Sheffield, where she conducted research into the breeding behaviour and genetics of great tits. Never happier than when outdoors, on foot or on horseback, Jenny takes every opportunity to explore wild places, camera in hand.
A keen conservationist and science communicator Jenny has volunteered on wildlife projects in Madagascar and Greece but fond memories of a childhood in Scotland have always seen her gravitate back to the Highlands. From an internship with Scottish Natural Heritage surrounded by seabirds on the Isle of May, to a Masters project studying dolphins along the Moray Firth coast, Jenny finds plenty wildlife to be inspired by in the British Isles and is excited to view more of the wonderful flora and fauna they have to offer.
She completed a degree in Animal Behaviour and Training at Bishop Burton College and quickly found a job working for the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust at her favourite local reserve, North Cave Wetlands. Following this she spent two consecutive seasons working on the beautiful Yorkshire coast at Bempton Cliffs, home to a quarter of a million seabirds and in 2014 Jenna was lucky enough to be selected to join the osprey team at Loch Garten. It was here that she developed her insuppressibly strong love of the Scottish Highlands and its unique wildlife.
Jenna enjoys spending time outdoors watching and photographing a variety of wildlife and creating wildlife portraits in pastel. She loves to meet new people, is always looking for the next adventure and enjoys travelling and experiencing different cultures.
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.
George developed a love of the outdoors and sense of adventure throughout his childhood in Berkshire and its surrounding woodlands. Pursuing his passion for the environment and interest in all things natural, he enjoyed volunteering in wildlife parks and studied Zoology at University of Birmingham. During this time, George led the UoB volunteers in conservation activities around the West Midlands, helping to maintain and restore natural environments and fuelling his drive to pursue a career in wildlife conservation.
George's passion for nature extends beyond the wilds of Britain: travelling to parts of Asia, South America and Australia in pursuit of adventure and animal life. He has learnt important lessons on conservation techniques in a huge range of environments from the coral reefs of Australia to the jungles of Borneo and is eager to expand and share his knowledge of Highland ecology.
In his spare time, George can be found battling it out on a sports field, exploring the ocean's depths in his dive gear or snapping flora and fauna on his camera.
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.
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.
Josie is originally from Lancashire where she volunteered with her local Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust reserve working both on the reserve and in the education department.
During her studies for a BSc (Hons) in Environmental Biology at the University of Nottingham, she was awarded the Society of Biology’s Travelling Fellowship to undertake an expedition to the tropical montane cloud forests of Honduras where she studied the effects of the spreading deforestation on key invertebrate taxa.
Since her expeditions to Honduras, Josie worked at an environmental education centre in Swanage, Dorset, teaching children about the amazing natural world around them and nurturing respect for planet Earth. She enjoys walking, writing poetry, photography and playing ukulele in her free time.
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!
Lucy joined the team in 2014. Early immersion in nature while growing up in the Solomon Islands and Tanzania has given her a lifelong love of wildlife and the outdoors which she feels passionate about sharing with others.
Lucy worked in various roles with the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust, East Dorset District Council and Sussex Wildlife Trust and has been a volunteer Field Teacher with the RSPB in Inverness. Lucy lives on the Black Isle. In her spare time she helps to run the Inverness Wildlife Explorers club for 8-12 year olds and enjoys time spent with the family exploring the countryside and wildlife gardening at home.
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.
After an exciting research career studying the bizarre organisms that live around deep-sea hydrothermal vents (which took him to the bottom of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans in a small submersible, and into the pages of National Geographic), David has now turned his attention to more accessible, but no less fascinating, creatures which inhabit the hills, glens, lochs and coastal waters of the Scottish Highlands and Islands.
An Aigas Guest Lecturer for the past 5 years, he has built up a reputation for covering a wide range of fascinating (and sometimes offbeat) topics, extending from ice ages to astronomy, via badgers, fossils and haggis, all presented in a friendly and unchallenging way.
David is a regular consultant (and presenter) for BBC television, most recently Autumnwatch, and is an occasional contributor to BBC Wildlife Magazine, plus Council member of the Zoological Society of London.
For a hobby, David keeps bees (although he confesses to not being that fond of honey!) and builds dry stone walls – an excellent wildlife habitat.
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.