Hugh Black, an agricultural adviser, sportsman, vintage tractor enthusiast and Kirk elder, who made his home in the Mearns, has died aged 86.
He spent years working at the North of Scotland Agricultural College, developed a method of using distillery by-products in agricultural, and helped introduce oil seed rape to the north-east of Scotland in 1971.
Hugh was also part of a team that could reassemble a Massey Ferguson tractor in under seven minutes.
An accomplished sportsman, Hugh earned a full athletics blue at Aberdeen University.
He held the pole vault record at Aberdeen for a number of years and represented Scottish universities at pole vault.
At his funeral at Arbuthnott Church, where he was an elder, Hugh was escorted by five Massey Ferguson vintage tractors.
Hugh Black was born in the Huddersfield area, the son of a dentist and the youngest of four following Robbie, Marie and Betty.
He was educated at Trinity College Glenalmond and then graduated from Aberdeen University with a BSc in agriculture before joining the North of Scotland College of Agriculture as an adviser.
Hugh was based at its centres at Balnastraid, Dinnet, together with Dan Findlay; Turriff with Ian Lumsden; he was in charge of operations at Keith. His final posting was to Stonehaven.
In 1982 Hugh was awarded a Fellowship of the Royal Agricultural Societies (FRAgs) and his work was recognised in 1995 by the Royal Northern Agricultural Society when he was honoured with the Aberdeen and Northern Marts/RNAS award for services to local communities.
He has met his future wife Doreen Jeans at a young farmers’ dance at Kingsmuir hall, Forfar, in January 1959 and they were married at King’s College, Aberdeen, in July 1961.
As a young agricultural adviser, Hugh was considered forward thinking and spent many evenings running knowledge-sharing events.
In 1971 he was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to visit Scandinavia to study the impact of temperature on grass growth.
This led to Hugh refining a system called T-Sum which was later widely adopted in Scotland.
He also developed trials of early lambing systems, investigated different cereal and swede varieties and, with Percy Watt, first brought oil seed rape to Banffshire in 1971.
While he was at Keith, Hugh was responsible for the college’s experimental farm at Clashnoir and developed a method to use distillery by-products in animal feed.
The result was high lustre coats in cattle and weight gain due to the higher copper content in the feed. The discovery led to many years of further research.
During his time living in Keith, Hugh reclaimed 25 acres of scrubland to useable pasture at Tombrek and started farming sheep, resulting in a fine pedigree Texel flock.
In later years while living near Laurencekirk, Hugh and Doreen, with support from wind turbine firm Eneco, created a wildlife walk around their farm.
Over many years, Hugh organised fund-raising tractor runs around the North East and to as far away as Oban.
In retirement he became North-east Scotland coordinator for the Friends of Ferguson Heritage.
His son David said: “My father was perhaps best known as part of the Fergie Strip and Rebuild Team that demonstrated at shows in Kincardineshire, Aberdeenshire, Angus and Cumbria.
“The team had a record time of under seven minutes to rebuild the tractor, start it and drive it away – much to the delight and amusement of every generation of spectator.”
Hugh had been a church elder in Keith and continued at Arbuthnott where he had been due to receive a certificate for 50 years’ service as an elder.
He also served as a property convener and, together with Doreen, most recently worked tirelessly to raise funds to build on a toilet and kitchen extension.