SCOTLAND’S longest-serving countryside ranger has died aged 69 following a battle with lung cancer.
Victor Lough retired in 2008 after 33 years working for East Lothian Council’s landscape and countryside department. He passed away at Belhaven Hospital, near to the seaside town of Dunbar where he lived all his life.
As a countryside ranger, he was responsible for preserving the natural heritage of the area and his patch covered the eastern side of the county from Garvald to Dunglass, including Traprain Law, John Muir Country Park and Barns Ness.
Mr Lough joined East Lothian Council as a ranger in 1975 and garnered an unsurpassed reputation for his knowledge of its geology, wildlife and natural history.
Mr Lough enjoyed working outdoors since he left Dunbar Grammar School at the age of 15.
He initially found work with the ninth Duke of Roxburgh, who at that time owned the Broxmouth estate near Dunbar.
He worked as a forester and as an estate maintenance engineer.
After a period working for a farmer, he was employed by the Blue Circle cement firm, which had bought Broxmouth from the duke.
He worked in various roles there, ranging from semi-skilled cement fitter to working on some civil engineering projects. He left Blue Circle in 1975 to take up his position with the council.
One of his greatest loves was music and had been a singer from the age of 14.
Starting out in ballrooms, Mr Lough had a broad musical canvas, ranging from traditional folk and heavy metal to classical music.
It was through his passion for music that he met Gwen, whom he married in 1989.
Tom Shearer, head of policy and partnerships at East Lothian Council, said: “Many colleagues past and present were sad to hear that Victor Lough had passed away last week. All of our thoughts are with his family at this time.
“Victor started work in 1975 as East Lothian’s second countryside ranger when a more mature, practical countryman was needed to help look after the countryside and help people enjoy it.
“He brought a very special skill – being able to paint a picture with words. For over 30 years he cast his spell over countless visitors, often leaving them in awe of the wonders of nature in his beloved patch of East Lothian.
“Many school groups exploring fossils and rock pools or local groups listening to a wildlife talk were all spun a story that they’ll never forget. Barns Ness on a Thursday morning for Victor’s guided walk became legendary. There was no better storyteller than Victor Lough.”
Mr Lough is survived by three children: Victor and Veronica, to his first wife Berry, and Fraser to his second wife, Gwen.