Neil Oliver is due to take over as president of the National Trust for Scotland. Photo: Bill Osment/NTS

Neil Oliver is due to take over as president of the National Trust for Scotland. Photo: Bill Osment/NTS

Television presenter and archaeologist Neil Oliver is expected to take up the role of president of the National Trust for Scotland.

Members of Scotland’s largest conservation charity will be asked to confirm his appointment at the group’s annual meeting in Dundee on Saturday.

Neil Oliver said: “The National Trust for Scotland protects so much of what makes Scotland special.

“Over the years I have dug up some of its places, visited many more and been completely inspired by it all. I can’t wait to get more involved and I’ll be encouraging others to do the same.”

Mr Oliver’s appointment marks a departure for the charity, which has previously mainly been headed by members of Scotland’s aristocracy including two Dukes of Atholl, the Earl of Wemyss and March, the Marquess of Bute, the Earl of Airlie, the Duke of Buccleuch and most recently Jamie, Earl of Lindsay.

Mr Oliver, best known for his contributions in the Coast series, qualified as an archaeologist in 1988. His fieldwork experience covers everything from the early Stone Age in Scotland to the examination of the Second World War coastal fortifications of Kent and Northern France.

He has also worked on publications such as The Scotsman, The Herald, The Guardian, the Edinburgh Evening News and the Daily Record. His broadcasting career began in 2002.

National Trust for Scotland chairman Sir Moir Lockhead said: “Neil has championed Scotland and its heritage throughout his career, unearthing new insights into its stories, sharing our stunning scenery and fascinating audiences all over the world.

“We are very excited about the energy, enthusiasm and opportunities for more engagement that he will bring to our charity as we work to protect Scotland’s heritage, and share and celebrate all that we have to offer with more people.”

Members attending the Dundee meeting will also consider a report looking at how to attract more young people to engage with heritage and a review of the charity’s achievements in the past financial year.

Mr Oliver lives in Scotland with his wife and three children. In 2006, as well as working on Coast, he made two documentaries, one for Channel 4, The Face of Britain, and another for BBC Two, 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.

Further TV credits include The History Detectives on BBC Two; contributions to BBC One’s The One Show; A History of Scotland for BBC Scotland; and BBC One’s Cleopatra: Portrait of a Killer.

A History of Ancient Britain on BBC Two was followed by A History of Celtic Britain, which tells the epic story of how the ancient Britons evolved and entered European civilisation. In 2012, Mr Oliver presented Vikings, also for BBC Two, a three-part search for the truth about the Vikings.

As part of the BBC’s World War One centenary season, he 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.

The appointment of the president of the National Trust for Scotland, which has 360,000 members, is managed by the nominations committee, a committee of its board of trustees. The trust said they identified a range of candidates who, they felt, embodied the values and qualities needed for the trust at this time.

The board of trustees unanimously approved the proposal of Neil Oliver for the role of president.

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