Gamekeepers mow message in heather as a thank you to NHS

Gamekeepers in the Scottish Borders have decided to show their respect for health workers by mowing the letters 'NHS' into a hillside.

Head Gamekeeper Jamie Goodall and Tom Wilson, at Greenlaw Moor, realised how much busier the roads near their ground had become with emergency vehicles during the Covid-19 crisis.

Whilst carrying out agreed heather cutting, the pair were spotting 8 or 9 ambulances at a time and decided to express their support for the passing crews.

At this time of year, the gamekeepers would normally have been carrying out legal muirburn. However, the dry weather meant their estate had voluntarily stopped muir burning on 26 March.

The gamekeepers applied to Scottish Natural Heritage for a derogation to cut 20 acres of heather, instead, on the protected moor site, with stands of rank heather becoming a fire hazard in the warmer Spring weather.

Credit: SUMG

After finishing their work, they decided to put their swipe and mower to use to show their support for ambulance service workers.

“An area of the ground we were working on is adjacent to the Greenlaw to Duns road and we were chatting about the number of ambulances we were seeing, compared to before,” said Jamie Goodall, a member of Southern Uplands Moorland Group, whose aunts were nurses and whose mother works in the care sector.

“At times there were 8 or 9 in the period we were working. It was when we were talking about it, we decided it would be a good idea to use the mower to cut the words into the hill for when they were passing by.

“Hopefully they can see it and will feel their work is being appreciated by us all.”