President and Vice Presidents

The Trust’s President is an ambassador for our charity and helps us to tell people about the important work we do to protect the special places in our care and share and celebrate Scotland’s amazing history and spectacular scenery. The President supports our fundraising and engagement activities and generally spreads the word about all we do.

This is a voluntary, unpaid role. The President is not a Trustee and does not attend Board meetings.

The Trust’s Chairman and President are traditionally appointed at the invitation of our Trustees, and Trust members attending our Annual General Meetings are given the opportunity to endorse their appointments.

Neil Oliver
The Trust’s current President, Neil Oliver, was appointed in September 2017.


Neil Oliver 

Neil qualified as an archaeologist in 1988. His fieldwork experience covers everything from the early Stone Age in Scotland to the examination of the World War Two coastal fortifications of Kent and northern France.

Neil also trained as a journalist and has worked on publications such as The Scotsman, The Herald, The Guardian, The Edinburgh Evening News and The Daily Record, providing invaluable experience for when his career as a television broadcaster began in 2002.

BBC2’s Two Men in a Trench saw Neil and his friend Professor Tony Pollard visit historic British battlefields and re-create the battle situation using state-of-the-art technology. To accompany the series he co-wrote two books – Two Men in a Trench: Battlefield Archaeology and Two Men in a Trench II: Uncovering the Secrets of British Battlefields, published by Michael Joseph.

Following this, in 2005, Neil joined the team on the highly acclaimed BBC2 series Coast. In 2006, he stepped into the role of lead presenter. The programme, now with 10 series completed, looks at both the natural and social history of the British coastline.

In 2006, as well as working on Coast, Neil made two documentaries – one for Channel 4, The Face of Britain and another for BBC2, Scotland’s History: The Top Ten. He also took part in Channel 4’s Time Team: Big Royal Dig, digging up the gardens at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh.

Over the years, Neil’s TV credits have been steadily building, including The History Detectives for BBC2; contributions to BBC1’s The One Show (2007); A History of Scotland for BBC Scotland (2008); and BBC 1’s Cleopatra: Portrait of a Killer (2009).

On BBC2, A History of Ancient Britain came in 2011, quickly followed by A History of Celtic Britain, which tells the epic story of how the Ancient Britons evolved and entered European civilisation. In 2012, Neil presented Vikings, also for BBC2, a three-part search for the truth about the Vikings. Neil’s accompanying book, Vikings, is published by Orion Books.

In 2013, Neil was invited by Foxtel to lead a team of presenters on a journey around the Australian coast. Coast Australia was a huge success, becoming the History Channel’s highest rated show to date. In 2015, Neil wrapped up filming on a second series, and in 2016 he presented Coast New Zealand.

As part of the BBC’s World War One centenary season, Neil presented The Machine Gun and Skye's Band of Brothers, which examined the use of the Maxim machine gun and its legacy within the Hebridean community, and contributed to the BBC’s iWonder interactive online guide to World War One propaganda.

His other books include Amazing Tales for Making Men out of Boys (2009), published by Michael Joseph; A History of Scotland (2009) and A History of Ancient Britain (2011), both published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson; and Master of Shadows (2015), published by Orion.

Neil lives in Scotland with his wife and three children.

Vice Presidents

The Duchess of Fife

Professor Hugh Cheape

Angus MacDonald

Simon Fraser

Professor Michael Scott-Morton