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Thrill of the Hill

Thrill of the Hill

In this podcast series, Thrill of the Hill, the Farm Advisory Service (FAS) explores the multitude of issues facing the farmed upland environment and how we can reconcile priorities in conflict, showcase good practice, new developments, technologies and build resilient, sustainable businesses.

Below you will find Season 3 of Thrill of the Hill. Follow the link below to listen to our older episodes!

Thrill of the Hill Seasons 1 & 2


Latest Episode:

With a lack of apex predators in Scotland, human intervention is often required to maintain a balance of nature, whether that is at the species, habitat or landscape scale. Predator control is an often unpleasant and more so important aspect of maintain equilibrium across different interests and in this episode, Paul Chapman, SAC Consulting sets out what the different options are for predator control, what species can be targeted, what protections exist and for what species and the non-lethal options available to protect vulnerable national priority species, as well as much more. Read more>>

Previous Episodes:

Thrill of the Hill returns for its fourth season and an exciting line-up of new and returning guest speakers. In this episode, we sit down with Ross Macleod from the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) and discuss all manner of topics, including the outlook for the game bird sector in Scotland, the role of estates and large landowners in fighting climate change and biodiversity decline, the common causes between farming and gamekeeping and the need for data driven decision making from policy makers. Read more>>

Season 3:

Episode #12 – A Damming Conclusion? Beavers are a keystone species and their presence in Scotland could go a long way to achieving land landscape scale nature restoration that Scottish Government want to achieve. They are, like humans, ecosystem engineers and the natural processes they encourage can bolster other vulnerable habitats and species. But beavers come with challenges, they will naturally be inclined to block ditches and watercourses, burrow into productive agricultural fields and will by design, leave areas flooded. Obviously there are places in Scotland where this could be and has been highly disruptive. After hundreds of years without them, can farming and beavers find common ground? Read more >>

Episode #11 - The Farm Business Survey. On the podcast, we take two things more seriously than anything else - hills and thrills. But if there were a third place, that would go to data. Being able to produce figures to make informed decisions and justify your actions is at the heart of farming, more so now than ever. The Scottish Farm Business Survey offers a free, independent assessment of your business, producing a helpful set of management accounts and the all important carbon audit. Read more >>

Episode #10 – A Cow for the Future. We all think we know a good cow when we see one, but how futureproof is she, and what are the traits the beef industry needs, at an individual cow and herd level to be productive and sustainable? In this episode we hear from agricultural consultant Robert Ramsay about the importance of a range of different features, from tail to temperament, hind legs to horns and how they all come together to form the cow of the future.  Read more >>
Episode #9 – Digging Deep on Soil Carbon. In this episode we hear from Senior Scientific Lead Rachael Ramsay about the scientific consensus around soil carbon, its impact on farm carbon footprints, options to reduce atmospheric carbon and whether soil is the silver bullet in the fight against climate change.  Read more >>

Thrill of the Hill is back! Season 3 #8 – Working for Waders Part II. In this episode we hear from returning guest, Working for Wader's Patrick Laurie, joined this time round by RSPB's Stephen Field, about the importance of our national priority ground nesting wading birds, life through a lense, the importance of predator control and promoting landscape scale conservation efforts. Read more>>


Thrill of the Hill is back! Season 3 #7 – COP26 One Year On. In this episode we hear from SAC Consulting’s Seamus Murphy as we take a look back at Scotland’s role in COP26 and review some of the highlights, shortcomings, commitments and missed opportunities from the conference. We also discuss the changing mindsets of farmers in Scotland and how to find common ground with climate marchers and protestors. Read more >>

Thrill of the Hill is back! Season 3 #6 – Virtually Stockproof. In this episode we hear from SAC Consulting’s Malcolm Macdonald & Robert Ramsay about the increasing opportunities for virtual fencing technology in Scotland, including; benefits to stock management, habitat grazing and ease of use for the farmer. Read More >>

In this episode, we are joined by Rachel Smillie and Paul Chapman of SAC Consulting to discuss what Natural Capital is, ecosystem services, and the opportunities for farmers and crofters around Scotland as we enter unchartered territory. Read More >>

In this episode we hear from SRUC Head of Research at Kirkton & Auchentyre, Dr Davy McCracken about the reintroduction of the white-tailed eagle to Scotland, how the species is adapting to the Scottish landscape, the case for rewilding in Scotland and managing conflicts when they occur. Read More >>

In this episode we hear from Senior Renewables Consultant John Farquhar about the impacts of the Ukrainian conflict, how that is changing mindsets around energy security here in Scotland, including a discussion on the most popular renewable options for the uplands, costs around construction and some of the pitfalls to watch out for! Read More >>

In this episode we hear from Ayrshire River Trust’s Stuart Brabbs and Struan Candlish about the quality of Scotland’s water environment, factors impacting this quality, the successes of the Nature Restoration Fund and the need for a holistic approach to managing riparian habitats. Read More >>


Thrill of the Hill is back! Season 3 #1 – Talking Timber. In this episode we hear from SAC Woodland Specialist Ben Law about the current state of play in Scottish forestry, integration of woodland in the farmed upland environment, the normalisation of trees across all sectors and lessons to be taken from Storm Arwen. Read More >>

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