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Highland Heroes: Vote for your Green Hero of the Year

By Leah Williamson

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Going greener are (from left, clockwise) Caroline Woods, Martin and Claire Murray, and Alasdair Maclennan.
Going greener are (from left, clockwise) Caroline Woods, Martin and Claire Murray, and Alasdair Maclennan.

Martin and Claire Murray

Being bold enough to go public with an idea that could have been a total flop has paid off for husband and wife team Martin and Claire Murray of Dunnet Bay Distillers in Caithness.

Not only has their novel idea for customers to refill their original iconic ceramic Rock Rose gin bottle by purchasing recyclable pouches been a big hit, they’ve since been nominated to win a Highland Heroes green hero award.

The distillery has won a number of environmental awards for its forward thinking.

Martin said: “I’m a combination of thrilled and slightly embarrassed about this nomination. It’s really nice for the distillery to be noticed, but the real heroes are our customers who have shown a phenomenal uptake of the offer to buy refill pouches [and send back the empty ones for free so that they can be recycled].

When Claire and I first came up with this idea it was a bit of a risk, but we’re over the moon to have been sending pouches as far afield as Australia, Thailand, Singapore and Japan. It’s amazing to see so many people supporting the initiative; every person who does is helping the environment.”

Martin and Claire also upcycle with Tipsy Candles in collaboration, so that gin bottles can be transformed into candles.

Vote here

Caroline Woods and Alasdair Maclennan

A VOLUNTEER and an employee at a Nairn community hub have been nominated for green hero of the year for their tireless dedication to empowering local people to get creative and make sustainable choices in how they live.

Caroline Woods has secured substantial grant funding for the Green Hive community hub as well as helped remove more than 76 kilos of waste from Nairn’s green space and beaches; 44 kilos of that waste was recycled at their workshop or local recycling centre.

Meanwhile, Alasdair Maclennan has clocked up more than 619 hours as a volunteer during which he built momentum to get the Green Hive workshop community enterprise project off the ground.

Alasdair’s nomination said: “He’s wonderful and humble and never asks for thanks or fanfare for his practical help or positive attitude – even though he has done so much for the people of Nairn!”

Alasdair said: “I’m a big believer that if you leave a mess lying around and don’t take care of things other people see that and think ‘that’s how it is’, whereas if you take care of things and respect what you have it makes other people more likely to want to do the same.

“At Green Hive we’re all passionate about encouraging and empowering people to get involved and take ownership of the space they live and work in.”

Meanwhile, Caroline’s inspiring efforts were recognised by her nominee who said: “Caroline has been instrumental in the establishment of a third community Orchard in Nairn. Furthermore, the existing Viewfield Orchard maintained by Caroline and the volunteers were also recently awarded Green Flag status – the only green space in the region to have this recognition. Caroline is a relentless Green Champion and every step forward for her is a green step!”

Caroline said: “Working together in this way is really good for morale. We want people to feel empowered and willing to experiment and get creative.

“We’re both really honoured to have been nominated and hope that our work will inspire future generations.”

Vote here

Words from the category sponsor: SSE Renewables director of onshore development and construction, Heather Donald, said: “SSE Renewables is delighted to sponsor the inaugural green hero award at the Highland Heroes Awards for 2023.

“As a green energy champion we are aiming to increase the amount of renewable energy we produce fivefold by 2031. It will be fantastic to play our part in recognising an individual who is making a real difference in the critical challenge to reach net zero.”

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