Armadale Farm is a family-run 5,500 acre hill farm on the north coast of Sutherland, Scotland. It has been passed down through the family over the years since my grand-parents first took the farm on in the early 1960’s. I started helping out on the farm - in the 1970s - and then took on the full running of the farm when I was twenty after returning from college. I run the farm on my own as my husband, Ian, has a full time job but he helps whenever he can and is a great support - as is the wider team.
We run a flock of around 830 pure-bred North Country Cheviot Hill Ewes at Armadale in addition to around 50 tups (rams) 255 ewe hogg replacements, 25 suckler cows and some very happy free-range outdoor hens; whose eggs we sell locally. North Country Cheviots are one of the hardiest breeds of sheep in Britain and they have to be in order to withstand the tough and exposed hill-ground on which we farm. For most of the year our sheep are out on the hills, grazing on the heather, being gathered in every few months for health checks or for lambing in the spring. During lambing they are kept on the in-bye grassy pastures so that it is easier to keep an eye on them.
At Armadale we feel strongly that on both a farm level, and as an industry, we need to get better at re-connecting with our communities and the general public to help them appreciate the high quality of Scotch Lamb and Scotch Beef that we produce in Scotland.
We also hope to make people more aware of the power of their choices when they shop and how this can affect us the producer.
In 2015 we were awarded Agriscot Scottish Sheep Farm of the Year by Thorntons Law. This was a massive achievement for us and could not of been achieved without our team, social media and the general public. After setting up Facebook three years ago we started posting photographs and videos of our daily life on the farm. As farmers we sometimes forget that for someone who has not been brought up on a farm it is not always easy to imagine what farmers do over the course of a year in order to produce the Scotch Lamb and Scotch Beef that they eat. We hope that our website and social media sites paint a clearer picture of our farming lives and help raise people’s interest in their local farms and the industry as a whole.