Haulage legends take Argyll and Islands Awards

A couple at the helm of a haulage firm that has been servicing Argyll & the Islands for decades were this year’s recipient of the Stalwart award.

Presented annually by NFU Scotland’s Argyll & the Islands region at its AGM, the award recognises those who have become a cornerstone for farmers along the west coast.

The AGM, which took place in Tarbert on Friday (January 10) saw newly appointed regional chairman Duncan Macalister of Glenbarr Farms, Tarbert present the award to husband and wife team, Donnie and Kate McKerral.

The family farming business started its haulage business, Peter McKerral & Co., in the mid-70s with one lorry. Today the firm has a fleet of 60 lorries and employs 80 people.

The word “family business” is an understatement as the business includes all four sons, two daughter-in-laws and at least five grandchildren.

The essential service provided by the McKerrals from sites in Campbeltown, Lochgilphead and Strachur sees a long list of vital goods hauled in and out of the area including livestock, timber, fish, hay, straw, sawdust and fertiliser.

Newly appointed regional chairman Duncan Mcalister said: “It is an honour to present Donnie and Kate with the Argyll and the Islands NFU Stalwart Award for 2020. I can speak from personal experience as to the kind of man Donnie is.

“When I returned home 27 years ago to a struggling family farm and a mountain of debt, Donnie was the only local business that would deal with me without wanting a cheque upfront. His comment to me at the time was: “If you work with folk, folk will work with you.”

Donnie and his family provide a personal first-class service to the farmers of Argyll, delivering our livestock to markets whenever we require.

“Of equal importance is the list of essential goods they bring back into the region. I am told there is no such thing as a backload but am assured that, with over 60 trucks on the road, they will bring back whatever, whenever and it will never be a problem.”

Speaking after the award, Mr. McKerral said: “Kate and I are quite shocked. It was totally unexpected, but we are delighted to receive the award on behalf of the family.

“I want to extend my sincere thanks to NFUS, we have been long-time members and we have always received an excellent service and support from the union.”

New chairman

Duncan Macalister’s appointment as new regional board chairman sees him succeed John Dickson from Scalpsie, Bute.

As a thank you, John was presented with a selection of local produce from the regional board which included Springbank whisky, Loch Fyne salmon, Mull of Kintyre cheddar and three Scots Pine trees for him to establish his own woodland.

In another landmark, well-known NFU Scotland secretary Euan Warnock, based in Oban, was presented with a 25 years long service certificate and a bottle of whisky by president Andrew McCornick on behalf of NFU Scotland.