Cutting back heather
A) I doubt that a garden strimmer could tackle old heather. I had in mind a tractor-mounted swipe. The best strategy is to cut small patches ? say, 10m x 5m, or a bit larger in likely spots. The following year, an adjoining patch can be added. Quite a severe cut will provide regrowth similar in effect to burning.
Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) does indeed hold a register of fit and competent stalkers. To be included, a stalker has either to have passed DSC Level 2 within the past five years, or be able to produce two referees to vouch for his experience and competence. It appears to be used in connection with licences for out-of-season or night shooting. More information on this can be obtained on the SNH website, www.snh.gov.uk, or by contacting James Scott, tel 01463 725363.