Aigas Field Centre
Aigas Field Centre

Meet the Team

During the season Aigas employs up to 22 people, as well as a number of outside group leaders, 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.

Sir John Lister-Kaye – Director

Sir John Lister-Kaye founded Aigas Field Centre over 40 years ago. For more information click here.

Lady Lucy Lister-Kaye – Director

A local girl, Lucy’s mother was a Mackintosh of Moy. She runs the household at Aigas, as well as hosting and planning all menus for Aigas guests. In between times she is very active in fundraising for the Highland Hospice and acts as the organiser for Scotland’s Gardens in the Highlands. Her passion is the garden; she has created the Aigas gardens single-handed (with engineering support from John) and continues to extend them year on year.

Hermione Lister-Kaye – Programme Manager

Daughter of John and Lucy, Hermione returned home with her fiancé Greg four years ago. She spent an idyllic childhood at Aigas exploring the estate on her Highland pony. After studying History of Art at university, Hermione went straight to work as a journalist at the Telegraph Magazine in London and then Scottish Field in Edinburgh. She still writes freelance when she can find the time.

Greg Jackson – Estate Manager

Greg swapped the green and pleasant lands of East Sussex for a life in the Highlands. After leaving university Greg moved to London and joined Foxtons where he built up an extensive background in property, he now manages the Aigas estate and its infrastructure. Greg is an avid rugby fan, having played for Harlequins in his younger years.

Marjory Sandilands – Programme Assistant

Born and bred in Aberdeen, Marjory studied Hotel Management and has worked in various hotels in the UK, and one in Canada. 25 years ago she moved north, married and settled in nearby Kiltarlity. She has two daughters, one in her final year at university in Edinburgh and the other about to head to university in Aberdeen. Marjory is an active member of various local organisations within Kiltarlity Village. Her hobbies include hill walking, ski-ing and craft work.

Ben Jones – Staff Naturalist

Encounters with fox cubs and emerging spring bumblebees at a young age launched Ben’s curiosity with the natural world. His close ties with the sea spurred him into a Marine Biology B.Sc at Swansea University and onto roles working with marine mammals around the coasts of the UK and Europe. After working in Madagascar and Australia, Ben returned to Scotland where he feels an affinity with the wildlife. Ben is a keen conservationist, a quality which fuels his passion at work. In his spare time he explores the Highlands though wildlife photography and bird ringing.

Chloe Denerley – Education Manager

After a PhD in Ecology at the University of Aberdeen, a career in environmental education seemed like an excellent way of escaping the desk-bound world of academia. She hopes to encourage people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds to look at the world around them in more detail. Chloe manages the Education Team and provides as many people as possible with the opportunity to learn outdoors.

Rachel Buckley – Senior Education Officer

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 and then 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.

Milo Mole – Education Officer

Milo comes from a background in Marine Biology, having studied Bioscience and Zoology at university. He has worked with whale sharks in the Philippines and surveyed marine mammals living in a lighthouse on the West Coast of Scotland, where he fell in love with the Scottish Highlands. Milo delights in birdwatching and brings his enthusiasm for wildlife to people of all ages.

Emilie Shuttlewood – Senior Ranger

Emilie has a degree in Ecology and Conservation and this is her third season at Aigas. She grew up in Leicestershire and also spent a lot of time seeing her French family in the Auvergne where she spent a lot of time walking in the mountains. She has a background in practical conservation, having worked with the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust and the South Lakes National Trust. In 2015, Emilie volunteered at a bird observatory in Norway, heightening her knowledge and interest in birds. She enjoys travelling and loved discovering the wildlife of California and New Zealand in 2018.

Michelle Branson – Senior Ranger

Inspired by a childhood filled with walks and nature reserves, Michelle ventured down to Cornwall to study for a BSc in Zoology in 2012. Since graduating, her conservation work has taken her all over the UK, ranging from surveying great-crested newts in Cambridgeshire to counting dolphins and puffins on Scotland’s wonderful Handa Island. She is hugely passionate about engaging people with the natural world and enjoys doing so through her work, filmmaking and photography.

Richard Thompson – Senior Ranger

Being raised in rural Northumberland, Richard has constantly been surrounded by nature. After moving to Scotland to study in Glasgow and then Stirling, Richard fell in love with the country and is very keen to show others why Scotland is so fantastic. He is a keen birder, carried out a small mammal project on the Isle of Islay and has done a lot of volunteer work for his favourite mammal, the badger.

Emily Richens – Seasonal Ranger

With Cumbrian roots, Emily spent many family holidays exploring the Lake District National Park, visiting the Farne Islands and Scotland’s Isles of Arran and Mull where she saw her first Golden Eagle! After her Zoology degree at the University of Bristol, Emily studied dwarf mongooses in South Africa for her Masters by Research. At home she enjoys birdwatching, monitoring dormice and writing. She hopes to add to her bird-ringing experience on Alderney, learn more about wildcats and climb a few mountains!

Tay Davies – Seasonal Ranger

After completing an MSci in Ecology & Conservation at Lancaster University and a placement at Creag Meagaidh National Nature Reserve, Tay felt inspired to move up to the Highlands where he spent a year working for Scottish Natural Heritage, conducting research on the extremely rare dark bordered beauty moth, present at only three sites in Scotland. Alongside regular moth trapping, Tay plays ultimate frisbee, cycles, and enjoys woodworking.

Paige Petts – Seasonal Ranger

Paige is a keen birder, trainee ringer and amateur wildlife photographer who loves nothing more than spending time outside. Whilst studying Zoology, at the University of Exeter, she kept herself busy surveying dormice, monitoring tit nest boxes and volunteering for the British Divers Marine Life Rescue.

Lotti Budd-Thiemann – Academic Placement from the University of Exeter

Inspired by an upbringing in the beautiful Devon countryside and exploring Dartmoor, Lotti pursued her love of the natural world through an internship at the National Marine Aquarium and dormouse surveying before studying Zoology at the University of Exeter. She is fascinated by rewilding and human-wildlife coexistence, and during this placement hopes gain knowledge of Scottish ecology and conservation.

Louis Schopp – Academic Placement from the University of Exeter

Currently studying Zoology at the University of Exeter, his love of the outdoors and wildlife grew throughout his time in Scouts and on family holidays, hiking in National Parks. During his studies at university he has become increasingly interested in British mammals and birds, and hopes his year at Aigas will provide many great opportunities to further his knowledge.

Tom Chambers – Academic Placement from the University of Exeter

Born and raised in central Birmingham, Tom’s love of the natural world was inspired by holidays to the Pembrokeshire coastline. Since studying Zoology, at the University of Exeter, he has enhanced his interest in British birds and mammals and looks forward to photographing some of the Scottish Highlands’ iconic wildlife and landscapes.

Hugh Bethune – Estate Maintenance Officer

Hugh is a native Highlander from the Black Isle. He is a proud parent and grand-parent married to Karen who is a kilt maker by profession. He maintains our lodges, cabins and other property, as well as many aspects of estate work.  In his spare time he enjoys walking, cycling, reading, war films and especially westerns, and a good malt whisky.

Caroline Ottensen – Domestic Team

Born and raised on the east coast of Australia, Caroline grew up around animals. From competing in equestrian competitions to chasing cattle across the dry lands of central Australia, her love for animals is deep rooted. Caroline qualified as a Vet Nurse Assistant and is eager to finish her education to become a Vet Nurse specialising in wild and exotic animals when returning home after two years exploring the wild Scottish Highlands.

Robin Noble – Senior ARTS Tutor

Robin’s ancestry is part Highland, part Island. He has known the Highlands and Islands all his life, and lived in Assynt, Orkney, Strathglass and Skye. He has been closely involved with Aigas since 1981, has led countless groups and taught generations of Aigas Rangers. He now spends much of his time writing.

Jonathan Willet – Senior Consultant Guide

His first job, in 1995, was as a Ranger at Aigas Field Centre. It was here, he says, that he became the avid naturalist he is now. After Aigas he worked as a Countryside Ranger, Environmental Education Officer and for 17 year as a Local Authority Biodiversity Officer. He now guides full-time. Though he is interested in all of nature, dragonflies are his favourites.

Laurie Campbell – Guest Photography Group Leader

Laurie is Scotland’s most accomplished and best-loved nature photographer. His dazzling images have graced our website and all of our marketing material and presentations. He leads our photography weeks and they are always the first to fill – so book early to take advantage of Laurie’s patient and generous teaching style and limitless knowledge on all things photography.

Mark Cocker – Guest Group Leader

Mark Cocker is a celebrated nature writer and author of 11 books include works of biography, history, literary criticism and memoir. Birds and People (2013) was shortlisted for four awards. His latest Our Place is published in 2018 and is a hard-headed look at British conservation history.

Nick Baker – Guest Group Leader

Naturalist and television presenter, Nick Baker, has been leading groups at Aigas for many years. He most notably hosted the BBC’s Really Wild Show, as well as hosting several other nature programmes and regularly contributing to Radio 4’s The Natural History Programme. He is an extremely knowledgable and enthusiastic naturalist, taking particular interest in invertebrates and badgers. His latest book, Nick Baker’s Bug Book takes a close look at the lives of insects and other invertebrates.

David Bale – Guest Group Leader

David Bale leads our wildflower programmes at Aigas, though he has a special interest in both plants and birds which he has been able to pursue academically and professionally. David has a BSc in Botany and Zoology with Ecology, and a PhD in peatland ecology. Before retiring, he worked for 30 years for Scottish Natural Heritage and its predecessor, the Nature Conservancy Council, dealing with protected nature conservation sites and species.

Sue Pomeroy – Gardens Group Leader

Sue was propagator at Inverewe Gardens for 14 years, which led to a deep interest in plants and their habitats in the wild alł over the world. She has collected plants from around the world and latterly has enjoyed guiding plant enthusiasts around gardens, as well as writing several papers on plant propagation. Sue’s own garden, 2 Durnamuck on the west coast, is open to the public.

Liz Holden – Fascinating Fungi Group Leader

Liz Holden is one of Scotland’s most respected mycologists, a passion she has studied for thirty years, working in a range of habitats across the UK. She is an excellent tutor and loves sharing her fascination in the identification, recording and ecology of all fungi.

Jackie Garner – Highland Wildlife Art Group Leader

Jackie Garner is a professional artist who has always been fascinated by the natural world. Born and brought up in Gloucestershire, her early paintings celebrated the flora and fauna of beech woodland, limestone grassland and Severn estuary, all features of her home county. Jackie has exhibited extensively and was commissioned to design the 2015 Wildlife Habitat Trust Conservation Stamp. She is the author and main illustrator of The Wildlife Artist’s Handbook.

Martyn Jamieson – Guest Group Leader

Following many years as the Head Ranger on Wirral and nine years as Head of Kindrogan Field Centre in Highland Perthshire, in 2014 Martyn moved to South Uist in the Outer Hebrides to experience life as a crofter. His croft is a haven for wildlife, and Martyn is able to indulge his lifelong passion for wildlife, the outdoors and archaeology – even finding time for the good things in life, such as the occasional nip of malt whisky!

Nip, Tuck and Buster

Elderly Jack Russell terriers, Nip and Tuck, continue to delight our guests and are not quite as obedient as they ought to be. They are outshone on a daily basis by black labrador youngster, Buster, who is still in training but doing very well.

Rollo

Yellow labrador Rollo is the newest addition to the Aigas family. He belongs to Greg and Hermione and training is very much still a work in progress! Sir John calls him ‘Yellow Peril’!