History of the Farm
Situated in the Scottish Highlands, South Clunes Farm in the parish of Kiltarlity has carried out subsistence agriculture ever since the Picts and Vikings were battling it out along the shores of the Beauly Firth in their invading long boats and square colourful sails. The Pictish fort, Castle Spynie, on the edge of farm provides an amazing view looking north over the landscape of tidal estuary, the Black Isle, and Ben Wyvis.
Many signs of this crofting community can still be seen today where the woodland, heather and rock were cleared for pasture, oats and turnips. Where possible, we have deliberately retained this upland habitat with our traditional farming methods using the stone cleared pastures for the sheep and our native Highland cows. These cattle lightly graze the woods so as not to upset the fragile wild ecosystem which today is still home to seven different types of orchids.
We have also rebuilt two of the old croft houses for friends or guests to stay and enjoy the peace and quiet of the farm. They can also visit all the neighbouring sights such as Loch Ness, Urqhuart Castle, Beauly Monastery, or Glen Ord Distillery.
Moving into the second millennium, Clan Mackay colonized the area until moved out in 1500s by the Norman Frasers. This began 500 years of feudal crofting agriculture as part of the Fraser’s Lovat estate that stretched from the east to the west coast of Scotland.
Forty years ago much of the estate was divided up and we arrived here in 1984. Starting with 400 acres, 700 ewes, a dog and a stick we have worked the land and the livestock for the last thirty years. South Clunes Farm now has 1200 breeding ewes, 80 cows and 300 acres of hay –all produced on this mixture of grass pastures, scrub rough grazing, heather and birch woodland.