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Mike Yan Hip Head Groundsman

I rejoined Merchiston in August 2011 from Scottish Rugby. I had previously been here 95-97 as, not quite an apprentice at age 31, but as a novice groundsman, ostensibly to look after the cricket areas for 6 months. Well, a quarter of a century later, I’m still here, having been to other schools and sorties into the professional sporting environment, all bringing valuable experiences.

Coming back to the school to lead the team where I started my ‘Sports turf Management’ career was almost coming full circle and the various roles and experience I have had have been invaluable. As an industry and as a school, we are trending to become more current and slick and from our point of view to present the school for the current boys and for next generation of boys.

Merchiston is not only my work but my home, I am fortunate to live in the small cottage on the corner of the playing fields, which gives me the ‘ biggest front garden in Edinburgh’ 😉 with our lovely grounds literally in touching distance. It is close enough to the school not to have to drive to work (well you will see me in the golf buggy) but far enough away!

Undoubtedly the various members of staff, particularly the resident staff, give the school a wonderful sense of community, and I have made many many friends, some who have left but will be friends for life. Once term starts the school becomes a hub of busyness and that is what we are really here for!

Finally I really do love living on the corner of Colinton Road in July/ August opposite the barracks as we hear every note from those practicing for the Tattoo - saves me going!!!!!

I regularly contribute a Groundsman's blog, providing updates on the goings on in the Grounds Team.


I love most sports, I do love to watch the boys play their sport and on the pitches we prepare for them, however I do love to get away and play my golf, and have managed to get to a respectable 15 handicap, thanks Mr Murdoch!!!

My love of sport, I am a keen watcher of cricket and rugby mainly around the Edinburgh club scene, and an occasional sortie along the M8 to watch my favorite football team!!!!

With Edinburgh on our door step (well the no 10 bus handily available for the short trip into town), my wife Caroline and I do love to explore the Capital city and all it has to offer.

Inspiring momenTS

In 2018 and 2019, we realised one of  my  greatest achievements so far, by hosting various international rugby and cricket teams to use our facilities as a training venue, which also couples up as further inspiration to continue to take myself and the Grounds Team forward.
I was also very proud of my team when we won the IOG Independent Schools Grounds Team of the year  in 2019.
It is difficult to find an individual instance of funny memories but I suppose the many conversations with staff boys and parents have had me giggling over my time here .... long may it continue!

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