Published May 2024

Don't underestimate the power of a walk and talk

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The 4 confirmed Walk & Talk events are:

  • Wednesday, 12 June at Scalpsie Farm, Isle of Bute
  • Wednesday, 17 July at Poldean Farm, Moffat
  • Tuesday, 23 July at Wester Braikie Farm, Arbroath
  • Friday, 23 August at Cluny Farm, Forres

Hosted by farmers and crofters across Scotland, a new series of events will take place this summer, run by wellbeing programme Farmstrong Scotland.

Supported by a donation from the NFU Mutual Charitable Trust, the events will provide an insight into a farming or crofting business through a tour, whilst also highlighting the benefits of taking time away, connecting, learning and socialising. In addition to the tour, inspirational speakers and food will be included.

The first event will take place on Wednesday 12th June at Scalpsie Farm on the Isle of Bute. Farmer and Pasture Pod Podcast host, Michael Blanche will be guest speaker, sharing his experience of wellbeing and time management.

Scalpsie Farm is run by Ian Dickson and fiancé Lisa, with 2000 acres in total they are assisted by Herd Manager Marcus and Ian’s dad John. Going into their second year of organic conversion, they are running 850 breeding ewes and 150 breeding cows. They also contract farm 500 acres on an uninhabited island off Bute, with another 70 Highland cows and 250 ewes.

“It’ll be great to mix business with a social aspect, where we can have open discussions to learn new things but also just enjoy getting together.” said Ian.

“As the farm sits on Scalpsie Bay, should anyone wish to finish off the evening with a wild swim or just a dip in the sea, they are most welcome – just take swimwear and a towel!”

Nkedgu0c Poldean Davidson Family

The next event on Wednesday 17th July will be at Poldean Farm, Moffat hosted by Alistair and Emma Davidson.

The Davidsons operate a grass-based system on their 2200 acres over 2 estates, running 300 suckler cows and 450 breeding ewes. They produce as many of their own inputs as possible to help improve efficiency, sustainability and profitability.

“We are always striving to improve our business to shape it to suit our family and staff needs, while always having the final consumer in mind. We look forward to welcoming you to Poldean to see what we are doing here and enjoy the views from the Moffat hills.”

Fourth-generation farmer Amy Geddes of Wester Braikie Farm, Arbroath will welcome Farmstrong on Tuesday 23rd July.

Wester Braikie grows almost 700 acres of spring barley, potatoes, vining peas, winter oil seed rape and winter wheat. It also has 60 acres of woodlands and 35 acres of margins, fallow and hedges.

Amy currently sits on the Board of Directors for Scottish Agronomy, something the farming business has been a member of for over 20 years.

Visitors are often welcomed on to the farm through Amy’s volunteering for the Royal Highland Education Trust (RHET) where they come to learn about food, farming and the countryside. Amy has also just taken on the role of Vice Chair for the RHET Angus Countryside Initiative.

“The Walk & Talk event will be chance for me to talk about the farming enterprise but also for me to discuss why I give to these organisations and what I get back in return. I’m really looking forward to meeting new faces and making new connections.” Amy said.

Wester Braikie harvest pic Amy

Robbie Newlands, Cluny Farm, Forres will be the host for the fourth event, held on Friday 23rd August. Along with his wife Kirsty they are farming over 1100 acres with 180 Simmental/Saler cows and 680 Mule ewes. Their cows are all outwintered and all calves and lambs are fattened and sold to ABP and Woodhead Bros., respectively.

“Away from the farm I am Director of both the Spring Show and Royal Highland Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS) and I’m on the board of North Highland Products. All these roles take me off the farm, are good for encouraging a wider view of farming but also meeting with and speaking to others.” Robbie said.

“I am looking forward to welcoming you to Cluny for an afternoon tour, followed by a lovely spread of food to share.” he continued.

Z0klyh66 Alix Ritchie Farmstrong Scotland Programme Director

The series of events are part of a wide range of activity and resources produced by Farmstrong Scotland, to help individuals live well, to farm and croft well. Alix Ritchie, Farmstrong Scotland Programme Director said:

“I really encourage the farming and crofting community to come along, connect with others, and learn all about the host farm or croft business. Farmstrong is very much about peer-to-peer support and sharing stories from those working within our sector. There is no better way to learn from each other than in person and there will be an opportunity to chat to other farmers and crofters as we walk and share a meal together.”

Jim McLaren MBE, Chairman of rural insurer NFU Mutual, commented: “We are very proud to be supporting Farmstrong Scotland’s Walk & Talk events through the NFU Mutual Charitable Trust. As a farmer, I know first-hand the importance of connecting with my peers, and this is a fantastic initiative to bring Scottish farmers and crofters together.”

The events are free to attend and open to anyone farming or crofting in Scotland and their family, but booking is essential to help with catering numbers. Visit our Events page to register. Watch this space (or sign up to the newsletter) for details on a further two Walk & Talk events, currently being finalised.

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