Scotland’s Game Generation

In the final Blog on this year’s #HelpingItHappenAwards2018 – the awards that recognise rural success and the work being done in our countryside – we take a look at some of the brilliant work being done in the field of education and community support. One thing is for sure, long after we’re all gone – Scotland’s countryside will remain, and the nominees in these categories are trailblazers for their work in helping to educate our countryside custodians of the future as well as to support and encourage community engagement today …

We’re Buzzin’ … for Peat’s Sake!

In the second of our Blogs on the upcoming #HelpingItHappen2018 awards – recognising rural success – our focus turns to the extraordinary work being done to protect and enhance our natural environment. We can all take it for granted: we take a walk, ride or drive into the countryside and it is all ‘there’ to be enjoyed. But day in, day out – a small army of folk are working to make sure tomorrow’s generations can do just the same …

Rural Businesses – Scotland’s Tonic!

We’re great believers in recognising rural success. There are many award programmes ‘out there’. One we’ve been highlighting this year is the #HelpingItHappen2018 awards that showcase exceptional work in a wide range of categories. Nominations for this year’s awards are now closed – and the judges have created their shortlists. We take a look at the businesses and organisations who are really helping to make a positive difference across Scotland …

In at the deep end …

Summer camps, activity days and more: as each holiday comes and goes, more and more ideas pop up to help keep children and families entertained. None more so than an outdoor activity centre overlooking the Isle of May. Our youngest contributor yet, Martha (12) spent a day with them this summer. Here’s her Blog …

Colonsay: Just the Spirit!

There’s lots of chat about Scotland’s islands: from who owns and lives on them to who works on them and who makes a living from them. There are close to 800 islands off our shores – and people live permanently on around 250 of them! As people’s lives change – work-life balance becomes ever-more important – and that’s to the benefit of the isles. The population on Scotland’s islands has been increasing since the late 1960s and early ’70s. In fact, between the last two censuses, the islands’ growth rate is more than 600% that of the country as a whole, so no real encouragement needed to attract folk!

The islands existed long before any of us – and they’ll exist long after us all. In the meantime, we just want to visit them – responsibly – so whoever owns and manages them can ensure they’re here for all to enjoy today, tomorrow and for the generations to come. This summer, we visited an island that has been owned by the same family for more than a century and is working to provide a year-round destination …

Unearthing Speyside’s Whisky Heritage …

This summer, we’ve been off the beaten track, up mountains, on lochs and in seas. This month, we took time out to discover Speyside … underground.

Scotland’s Farming – The Next Generation

Drive through our countryside and you’ll most likely be driving through farm land: on Scot Gov stats, agriculture accounts for over 70% of all Scotland’s land area … from grassland and grazing for the rearing of livestock to land used for crops, woodland and aquaculture.

At the forefront of our farming industry is a group of young farmers – the National Farmer’s Union of Scotland’s (NFUS) Next Generation. They’re helping to shape the future of Scotland’s farming and crofting. In some businesses, the ‘future’ entails forecasting the next year or two. In farming, the NextGen group are tasked with looking more than a decade down the line.

Here, two of the group tell us a little about themselves and their passion for farming and crofting in Scotland … even more apt as we are in Scotland’s Year of Young People.

Young MacDonald?

One in ten of all jobs in Scotland rely on agriculture – and 80% of all the land we see when out and about is under some form of agri production. That makes the industry the biggest single determining factor of the landscapes we visit, explore and enjoy. Add in the value – our farmers, crofters and growers are producing around £3bn worth of goods every year. Next, layer on our food and drink production businesses that make the very best of what’s being grown with an export market that exceeds £5bn. It’s soon clear that our agriculture is the foundation of so much in Scotland. And it all begins … down on the farm …

An eye on farming’s future …

Stephen Melville’s family have farmed at Cuplahills in north east Fife for three generations. He’s a new breed of farmer: one that not only runs and manages a farm – but also works externally as a senior consultant – at Laurence Gould based in their Dunfermline office. We visited to discover what makes him tick – and to look at the conservation work he’s delivering that benefits not only his farm but also his local community …

A Return to Cambo …

Cambo Gardens have always been a favourite visit for us as a family in Fife. We’ve been visiting since our girls were barely walking – whether in winter to see the snowdrops or in summer to see the pigs, gardens and to run our dog along the Fife Coastal Path … followed by a coffee in the cafe with a wee bit of shopping!

We visited in October 2017 just as the new Cambo Stables Visitor Centre opened and wrote about it then.  This blog is a wee update on some of the developments since then as well as what’s happening this summer – and some of their future plans …