Grouse estates spent £7m on wages in 2015

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Grouse estates in Scotland spent almost £7m on wages in 2015, including on seasonal workers such as grouse beaters.

The figure comes from a poll of 33 estates carried out ahead of 12 August, which traditionally marks the start of the annual grouse shooting season.

The survey results were announced as hundreds of gamekeepers gathered at Edzell in Angus.

They were taking part in a workers' march and community day event.

'Tourism operators'

Bruce Cooper, head gamekeeper and member of the Angus Glens Moorland Group, said: "Members of the public shouldn't forget that, all year round, working folk rely on grouse shooting and this way of life to bring up their families and send kids to schools in these communities.

"It also brings a huge amount to the trades and tourism operators, many of whom are marching with us today.

"These people have seen other industries falter and, if it wasn't for the grouse and other shooting seasons, they would be laying off staff."

Figures collated from regional moorland groups in Angus, Grampian, Loch Ness, Tomatin, Tayside and Central Scotland, Speyside and the Lammermuirs, totalling £6,864,806.

They said the wage figure for the whole of Scotland would be significantly higher.

Research currently puts the value of tourism from field sports - such as shooting, stalking and fishing - at about £155m in Scotland, with the figures expected to grow to about £185m by 2020.

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image captionThe first day of the grouse shooting season is traditionally known as the Glorious Twelfth