A STATE-of-the-art deer larder which teaches far north gamekeeping students how to produce high quality venison has opened near Halkirk.
Forest Enterprise Scotland (FES) has worked with the University of the Highlands and Islands to create the £257,000 store at the Rural Studies Centre at Dale Farm. The larder will be used to support deer culling on FES forests in Caithness as well as teaching North Highland College UHI gamekeeping students.
Scottish environment minister Roseanna Cunningham on Monday inspected the new amenity which can hold up to 50 deer carcasses with a second chiller used for game birds. FES culls 400-500 deer a year on the 8810 hectares of forestry it runs in the county. FES forest district manager Tim Cockerill said the larder will give students a greater insight into the deer industry.
He said: “Our management system allows us to trace the carcase where it has been shot through to the venison being delivered to the supermarkets.”
FES’s previous deer larder at its Lybster depot was destroyed by fire in 2014. The college has about 70 students from across Scotland on its courses and on work experience at 30 estates. Principal Donald MacBeath said the larder will improve the learning experience of students. He said: “We train most of Scotland’s gamekeepers and it is an important aspect of our curriculum.