But this loss of pride, encouraged by dependence on landlords and government, is also spiked with a large measure of historical grievance, and it is often difficult to disentangle contemporary causes for crofters' complaints from mere historical prejudice. If you are unable to get out to pick up your weekly read, please support us by subscribing to our print edition, delivered direct to your door, from as little at £35 - or consider a digital subscription from just £2 for 2 months. 'active' : ''"> If you feel that the land is slipping away from you and that other people seem to be standing on it quite firmly, it's hard not to feel resentful. Such injustice is not easily forgotten. ©Copyright 2001-2020. "I have plans for two more to be built on-site, a second one for feed storage and machinery and a third for livestock. They had, literally, been marginalised - as they still are. He finishes around 50 lambs a year, which he has slaughtered in Stornoway and brought back to a local butcher in Ness, before being sold directly to customers. Crofter, Kenny Mackay, is a joiner by trade but his real passion lies in tending to his stock on a dramatic Northton peninsula in the south of Harris. The average annual rent is set at about pounds 30 - an economic benefit that in recent years has been bolstered by the regular receipt from the EC of a large grant, under its euphemistically titled 'Less Favoured Area' scheme, to the Highland region.

He currently runs 140 Blackface ewes and crosses, which will begin lambing on April 10, with the lambs sold at Stornoway market in August and September.

The B & Bs and the Highland craft shops (for summer visitors) are all closed, while the few shops that are open double as bars and video stores. Newest first, -1) ? Episode 4. The series starts at New Year, in the depths of winter. On one island, the depopulation problem recently became so bad that it took advertisements in the national press to attract settlers. I have been wanting to build a large barn for my stock, but it is too big an investment, so this is a perfect halfway house between having livestock outdoors and building the shed. There is in the region an awareness of history's injustices as pervasive and strong as in Ireland. It is a landscape that only crofting, with its small-scale approach and community spirit, was ever able to work with. These regulations, which date from the 1886 Crofting Act, are far from oppressive to the traditional crofter; some would make a Londoner weep. John Prebble, Scotland's best-known historian and a prominent supporter of the Assynt Trust, sees the attitude of such groups as part of a general peevishness in Scotland as a whole at having been abused, ignored and experimented on during the Eighties.

This Farming Life Documentary series following the struggles and triumphs of five very different farming families in some of Scotland's most beautiful and remote landscapes. It is important that we continue to promote these adverts as our local businesses need as much support as possible during these challenging times. A new age of crofting in the Outer Hebrides.

Most liked. We need to be more self-sufficient as we are an island and we have three wind turbines which power 2-3000 homes here in Ness. The problem, he admitted, was that individuals would outlay money in advance, which can exert huge financial pressures if they don’t see that grant for three months. “We also have 600 hens here which are my bread and butter throughout the year.

It boasts a modern harbour development built for the fish that the EC no longer allows them to land, a series of ragged boathouses, several pubs with appropriately marine names, and a hotel, shut for the winter months. “This money is a game changer for crofting,” continued Ian. SOME OF this pessimism may have less to do specifically with the problems faced by crofters than with general economic conditions affecting the Highlands as a whole. SAC’s Rob Black, who is based in Appin, explained: “Polycrubs are made from recycled polyethylene salmon tubing which has washed up on the beaches. Finding people to help us gather the sheep is one of our biggest problems and we rely heavily on our neighbours to help us, so the fewer crofters, the bigger the task we face,” he added. When they make irritating changes, they inevitably excite hostility, because they're seen as big men in big houses who don't even live there. 'active' : ''">

Areas such as Skye were bought up by 'chequebook crofters' until up to 50 per cent of their populations were incomers. Probably the best definition is the old saying that a croft is a piece of land fenced around by regulations. Enter your email to follow new comments on this article. Alcoholism is so bad here they call it the Northern disease.'.

Knowing where our food comes from is so important and everything is organic, which means no waste.". Independent Premium Comments can be posted by members of our membership scheme, Independent Premium. The majority of incomers are Scots who have made their money down south and want to retire peacefully, not people who can farm the land. try again, the name must be unique, Please Already, the number of those over 65 is far higher in Sutherland than in the rest of Scotland. “Crofters have worked together for years, coming together for gathering, dipping and shearing.

Facebook. There have also been several cases of torched boats and tyres spiked as if by ghosts, within the past few months. In other areas there are welcome signs that the population decline is slowing (in the Highland region it has risen by 1,800 in the past 10 years), but the worry now is that settlers who are returning are not the 'right sort'. This site is part of Newsquest's audited local newspaper network. If, post-Brexit, we don’t see continued financial support for these areas, then the worry is that they will become a desert.”, Donald MacSween runs three active crofts on Lewis. A computer company has moved its headquarters to what used to be the estate office, and the house now hums and whirrs to the sound of computers monitoring environmental changes and radiation problems throughout Britain.

The sense of community has gone - if I go to a young person now and say: 'Can you help me in the fank (sheep-pen)?'

Kenny is in the process of putting in an access road to a shed to store his equipment and house any ill stock, and has plans to one day have some Highland cattle on the croft.

language is not acceptable, Do not impersonate other users or reveal private information about third parties, We reserve the right to delete inappropriate posts and ban offending users without notification, -1) ?

try again, the name must be unique, Please Angus also runs 350 ewes, making a change from Cheviots to Blackface on the basis that they were more suited to the rough ground.

A well-known name on the Island of Lewis is Donald MacSween, who runs three active crofts in Ness, all while balancing freelance work as a presenter with the BBC and exploring various agri-tourism ventures such as crofting tours.

They are also represented by the formidable combination of the Crofters' Commission, the state-run body which administers the Crofting Acts and designates land, and the Crofters' Union, which lobbies for aid and improvement. The existing Open Comments threads will continue to exist for those who do not subscribe to 'It's a good place for children, because crime doesn't exist,' David Forbes says laconically.

CROFTING ON the West Coast is receiving a facelift, with more families choosing to invest and diversify their crofts in a bid to keep the age-old tradition alive and kicking in rural communities – but with a modern twist. “We are trialling opaque sheeting to reduce heat in it so that livestock will be more comfortable. “There are young people who are very keen to come to the Outer Hebrides and take on this way of life, but they are being priced out of the market. If you are dissatisfied with the response provided you can contact IPSO here. If I could do this full time, I would, but it is not viable, so I’m a joiner to trade.

Oldest first, -1) ? This Farming Life presents a dynamic and compelling document of life in contemporary rural Britain. Email already exists. 'He'd want something in Kinlochbervie or in the East. The land is beautiful beyond description, yet barren, the few good areas overgrazed by generations of beasts. To help those under 41 get a foothold, there are crofting grants available in the first five years of working the croft – these allow for an 80% grant for up to £25,000 per claim. There are 41 crofts in the Northton township but only four are currently active. 'There are only two roads out of the place, and they're so bad that you'd ruin your getaway car. Kenny Mackay explains that there is no profit in crofting, but that people do it for the lifestyle and to keep the tradition going. Most liked, -1) ? 'The Prebble view of the Highlands is the extreme end of the spectrum. Create a commenting name to join the debate.

It's based on a thousand years of wars with the English, and it ebbs and flows, but once the rest of the world moves on, it doesn't need you and you're left looking inward or backwards. In some cases this ire takes a sinister turn. Many went to Australia or New Zealand, set up sheep farms of their own and eroded the Scottish market.

Donald has diversified his income by selling some of his produce out of one of his sheds and works alongside cruise ships offering croft tours to visitors during the summer months. Guidelines.

Among the rising population of non-crofters, there has been a 100 per cent increase in homelessness in the last decade, caused largely by the sale of old council stock on the open market, often to absentee settlers, who use the houses as holiday homes that lie empty for 50 weeks of the year while locals live in caravans. The people in the Scottish Office don't give a damn. You could have thousands of acres of land in this area and still be on the edge. Contrary to popular misconception, crofts are not all scenic, wee whitewashed houses - a croft is simply a piece of land enshrouded in the labrynthine crofting laws, and can vary from the old black-house - still found on the Western Isles - to the modern 'telecroft', built as recently as the ubiquitous lochside caravan parks. Visions of rich, tweedy Englishmen expropriating the land of the people for fair-weather bouts of shooting and pillage have always been emotive, but rarely has feeling against absentee southern landlords been stronger than it is today.