THE Borders Forest Trust, a food firm from Duns and two local farms were among companies from across Scotland whose success was celebrated at the Scottish Rural Awards and Gala Dinner recently in Edinburgh.

The event, held at Dynamic Earth is the culmination of a second year of partnership between Scottish Field and the Scottish Countryside Alliance to host the awards, which celebrate the innovation, dedication and enterprise of those living and working in rural Scotland.

Comedian Fred MacAulay took to the stage as compere for the evening, entertaining the audience of 400, including representatives from award sponsors Aldi and the Bank of Scotland and high-profile finalists such as Marine Harvest, The National Trust for Scotland, Crieff Hydro and NB Gin.

More than 200 nominations have been received since the awards opened to the public last September, with support for companies spanning from Outer Hebrides to the Borders, and Shetland to Fife.

Judging took place at the end of January to select a winner, runner-up and highly commended in each of 10 award categories that encompass every aspect of rural life, from aquaculture to agriculture, tourism and food and drink.

Those who have made special contributions to the Scottish countryside were also with two separate accolades - the Rural Hero Award, which went to Toby and Mary Fichtner-Irvine, who have played key roles in developing the Isle of Muck and the Lifetime Achievement accolade was presented to chef and businesswoman Shirley Spear of The Three Chimneys in Dunvegan, Skye.

Jamie Stewart, director of the SCA, said: “The Scottish Countryside Alliance is thrilled to deliver the Scottish Rural Awards in partnership with the Scottish Field Magazine.

"It is the only awards to truly recognise the innovation and dedication of those who live and work in rural Scotland.

"If the quality of the nominations for the 2016 awards reflects rural Scotland we certainly have a very bright future.”

Kezie Foods from Duns scooped the Rural Enterprise category at the awards.

The Borders Forest Trust, which is based at Ancrum, was highly commended in the Conservation section.

Peelham Farm at Foulden in Berwickshire won the Agricultural category with Kersmains Farm near Kelso receiving a highly recommended.

Cuddybridge Apple Juice from Innerleithen was a finalist in the Artisan Drinks section.

Richard Bath, Scottish Field's editor and a Scottish Rural Awards judge, added: “Showing our readers the joys of the Scottish countryside is one of the main aims of Scottish Field, so our partnership in the awards is a perfect fit.

"I was amazed by the quality and attention to detail showed by the nominees across each category.”