Game for the catwalk in fashion fundraiser

Finlay Shand pipes on the models at Finzean Hall
Finlay Shand pipes on the models at Finzean Hall

A group of hardy gamekeepers and their dogs have become unlikely local fashion icons in a bid to help research into the ‘king of fish’ on the River Dee.

Gamekeepers from Grampian Moorland Group and local ghillies recently ditched their camouflage and took a turn at being catwalk models in a sell-out show in Lower Deeside.

Accustomed more to tending game on the heather hills, the gamekeepers were given lessons in walking and turning for the gallery, which consisted of admiring members of the community and visitors.

Threatening to upstage them on the piazza were their working and pet dogs, resplendent in special canine fashion jackets.

It now looks as if the hours in vogue, enjoyed by the keepers, their partners, and four-legged friends, will raise a four-figure sum for the River Dee Trust.

The money will go towards education and science on the famous river which was damaged by floods at the end of 2015, which washed away fragile spawning habitats and wrecked fishing huts.

The fashion show and game supper at a packed Finzean Hall was organised by local artist and trustee of the River Dee Trust, Mel Shand, with clothing supplied for the ‘models’ by Aberdeen outdoor clothing specialist, Country Ways.

Model Luke Liddle, a gamekeeper at Glen Dye, who took to the boards with his dog, Lola, laughed off his tag as a ‘natural’.

He has no plans- as yet- to ditch sporting guests and habitat management for haute couture.

Luke said: “It was really good fun although it is not something us gamekeepers are used to. Our clothes are very much of the working variety, normally, and crowds of 100 people are pretty rare on the hills, unless it is a shoot day.

“It was all for a good cause, though, and I think everyone had a fun night- but we’ll not be giving up the day job!”

Co-ordinator of Grampian Moorland Group, Lianne MacLennan, who also took part in the fashion parade, said it was great to see the gamekeepers relax for a worthy cause, towards the close of another busy grouse season.

She said: “It was brilliant to see the keepers out of their comfort zone and having a real giggle. Luke was very popular with the audience so he may yet have an alternative career.

“The group, along with the rest of the community, joined in the efforts after the floods and they were really pleased to take part again.”