West Highland Team

The West Highland Team are located in three offices across Argyll. The staff are a diverse team of professional forestry and harvesting managers and each person brings a special skill set with them. As with the rest of Tilhill, they have a balanced mix of older, more experienced people, as well as new graduates, fresh from taking their forestry or related qualifications. The team are headed up by John Little, a Chartered Forester with over 34 years in the industry.

John Little BSc(Hons) MICFor

District Manager

John graduated in 1984 from Edinburgh University with a degree in Ecological Science with Forestry honours. He worked for the Forestry Commission as a Survey Assistant for a year based in Hexham then joined Tilhill in their Central Scotland District in 1985. After a year there he moved to the West Highland District, where he has been very happy to work ever since, becoming District Manager in 2011. John is an ICF Chartered Forester, has served on the Committee of the Royal Scottish Forestry Society, is a member of the Confederation of Forest Industries (ConFor), and the Forest Industries Safety Accord (FISA). He also serves as the Private Forestry Sector representative on the Argyll Bute Access Forum. With the BSW sawmill in Kilmallie also within the Districts area, the ability to show clients the forest industry from planting a tree to the sawn wood being dispatched to the housebuilders and DIY stores is very satisfying.

Stephen Tong BSc Hons. MICFor

Senior Forest Manager

Stephen has worked for Tilhill Forestry and its predecessors since graduating from Bangor University in 1982. He has worked in the Cowal area of West Central Scotland since 1984. A side-line in UKWAS auditing keeps him in touch with the wider forestry world while he works towards achieving his long-held ambition of managing an area of forest for an entire rotation.

Steve Miller BSc(Hons)For MICFor AlAgrE

Senior Forest Manager

Steve graduated in 1998 from Aberdeen University with an honours degree in Forest Management. After graduating, he worked in Cumbria carrying out tree clearance along powerlines for United Utilities. In 2001 Steve Joined Tilhill in their Kirkby Lonsdale office as a Forest Assistant. He became Forest Manager in 2003, looking after numerous properties, with responsibility for arboriculture operations in the district helping to gain the coveted Arboriculture Association approved contractor status. In 2011 Steve moved to the West Highland district to concentrate more on forest management with a preference for forest engineering.

Stuart Mackenzie MICFor

Senior Forest Manager

Stuart graduated from Aberdeen University in 1992 and began working in forestry management, initially in Inverness-shire. He has since held several management positions in locations such as Royal Deeside and Scottish Borders/North England before coming to Argyll. Since then, he has been managing clients' sites for Tilhill and is a member of the Institute of Chartered Foresters.

Iain Walker BSc Ecological Science Hons.

Forest Manager

Iain graduated from Edinburgh University with a degree in Ecological Science with honours in Forestry. He also attended Aberdeen University where he achieved a post graduate diploma in Applied Geospatial Technology. He began his forestry career with Forest Enterprise in 2000 and has worked in both West Argyll and Moray & Aberdeenshire Forest Districts; where he gained experience as a Planning Forester and Forest Liaison Officer. Since joining Tilhill in 2016 at West Highland district, Iain has enjoyed the wide variety of forest management. He is an associate member of the Institute of Chartered Foresters, with the aim of achieving chartered status next year.

Fraser Talbot BSc(Hons)

Senior Forest Manager

Fraser started his forestry career in 2011 working with a small forest management company based in Kintyre. He joined Tilhill Forestry in 2015 to strengthen the management service in Kintyre and cover other parts of Argyll and Cowal. Fraser is currently an Associate member of the Institute of Chartered Foresters and working towards achieving Professional membership. In his spare time, Fraser enjoys hillwalking and playing football for local amateur team Tarbert AFC.

Iain Pettifor BSc

Forest Manager

Iain attended the Scottish School of Forestry in Inverness, gaining a BSc in Sustainable Forest Management in 2010. The course was developed in partnership with the industry and rather than including an honours year, a year's placement within the forest industry was seen to be more beneficial in aiding the transition to work thereafter. Iain spent this year with Forest Service in Northern Ireland and was involved with many aspects of forestry, including gaining an appreciation for establishment contractors who chose planting Sitka spruce in winter as a career!. Iain joined Tilhill in January 2011 as an Assistant Forest Manager, becoming a Forest manager 3 years later and now manages a varied portfolio of forestry across North Lorn and Lochaber. Iain is currently an Associate member of the Institute of Chartered Foresters and working towards achieving Professional membership.

Bryan Pearce

Forest Manager

Bryan spent his early career in hotel management and in 2010 took a short break to plant trees. Enjoying his short break he remained as a forestry contractor for 5 years before successfully applying for a Forest Supervisor’s position within the Tilhill family in Strachur, then becoming Assistant Forest Manager early 2017. Bryan considers forest management a tremendously satisfying vocation and has a special passion for woodland creation. In his spare time he likes hillwalking, sailing, kayaking, gardening, and is a volunteer coastguard rescue officer in his home town of Dunoon.

Sam Bristow BSc (Hons)

Assistant Forest Manager

Sam attended the National School of Forestry at the University of Cumbria, graduating in 2014 with a BSc (Hons) in Forest and Woodland Management. During his learning he developed a range of skills including Forest Silviculture, GIS Systems and Tropical Forestry. Sam started working in Devon as an Assistant Forest Manager and gained knowledge of mixed forestry on estates throughout South West England. He was then transferred to South West Scotland where he developed skills in upland forest management. In summer 2015, Sam joined Tilhill Forestry on their graduate programme and his first post was Assistant Harvesting Manager in the North Highland area. In August 2015, he joined the West Highland district as Assistant Forest Manager and since then, he has continued to develop his skills in forest management. Sam is currently an Associate member of The Institute of Chartered Foresters and working towards achieving his professional membership.

Leif A. Brag

Senior Wildlife Manager

Having trained as a certified gamekeeper in Denmark, Leif emigrated to Cowal in 1986 to work for the Economic Forestry Group (who merged with Tilhill Forestry Ltd in 1992). He holds professional memberships in the British Association for Shooting and Conservation, Scottish Gamekeepers Association, British Deer Society & Danmarks Jaegerforbund (Hunters Association). Leif's role includes deer management and control on Tilhill managed properties north of the Scottish Central Belt, organising and supervising stalking licenses. His professional knowledge ensures that all stalking operations are carried out in accordance with the law, SNH/DCS Best Practice and Health and Safety guidelines. Leif's hobbies compliment his work enjoying shooting, fishing, travelling and photography often combining all 4. Some countries visited to date are; Sweden, Norway, Finland, Germany, Austria, Poland, New Zealand, Australia, USA, Spain and Siberia to experience and study the management of species as diverse as Woodland grouse, Beavers, Deer, Chamois, Tahr, Wildboar and Bear.  

Alex Flinn

Assistant Forest Manager

A graduate from Cumbria University, Alex was selected to join Tilhill in 2016 through the graduate programme. He assists the team across the West Highlands, helping with all aspects of forest management from lowland mixed woodland to large commercial investment properties. After leaving school in 2008, Alex started working in forestry and arboriculture, where he soon discovered his passion for forestry, which led him to study forest and woodland management at university in 2013.