Spotlight On…

The Spotlight On is to provide a snapshot and insight into Assessor’s lives and regions.

This month the spotlight is on Joyce Wilkinson.

Joyce is the Assessor for Kilmonivaig, Kilmallie, Arisaig & Moidart, North Morar District of Glenelg and the Small Isles.

Joyce lives on a 9ha croft which is one of several small crofts in the township of Bunacaimb in Arisaig, the croft also has shares in the common grazing.

The croft has been in Joyce’s late father’s family for over 250 years and her Mum, Beatrice lives next door in the original croft house.  The croft consists of machair soil running down to the beach and back onto a common grazing of peat and heather. Joyce keeps 5 registered Luing cows that calve to the Simmental bull.

Joyce said, “I also have a small 18 pitch caravan site, and two self-catering cottages, that are very busy throughout the season. The caravan site shop sells local meat, eggs and home-made tablet.  The meat is mostly from Highland bullocks that I buy in, store, take them through to finishing and take to the nearest abattoir on Mull.  I stay on the croft with my daughter Roslin, who is 14, and my 24 year old son Calum is studying in Glasgow.

When I am not looking after the cows and caravan site I also keep a small breeding herd of Highland ponies and like to get away to shows now and then.”

“As an Area Assessor I enjoy being able to meet local crofters and help them with some of the complexities of croft regulation, from croft registration to filling in the new crofting census, Assessors have a role to play in helping active crofting continue.”

Joyce is also a Grazing clerk for the Back of Keppoch, Glenan, Achnaskian Etc Common Grazings and a Director of the Scottish Crofting Federation and of the local Community Trust.

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Spotlight On…

The Spotlight On is to provide a snaphsot and insight into Assessor’s lives and regions.

The spotlight is on Sandy Murray, Area Assessor for Farr.Sandy

Sandy was born and brought up in Strathalladale, Sutherland and is tenant of 4 crofts, totalling 360 hectares, which form part of Bighouse Estate. Sandy took over the crofts from his father in 1975, in a family tradition of crofting which goes back several generations. There are 30 hectares of grass land and 83 hectares of forestry, with the remainder consisting of rough grazing of heather upland. Sandy also has shares on the Halladale and Havaig common grazing which is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a Special Area of Conservation (SAC). Sandy has been an Assessor with the Crofting Commission since the late 1970’s.

Sandy runs 300 North Country Cheviot sheep and 22 spring-calving cows. The 83 ha of forestry are made up of conifer and broadleaved plantings, shelterbelts, some amenity and Christmas trees. More recently Sandy has installed a 20kw wind turbine on one of his crofts, providing power for his home and feeding into the national grid.

Sandy has converted the old Corn Mill, which is situated on one of his crofts, into a Bunkhouse, with a view to providing affordable and comfortable accommodation for visitors to the area. The mill was built in the early 1800s by Sandy’s ancestors and was active until around 1926, milling oats for the crofters of Halladale, Reay and Melvich. Activities that visitors can take part in are Laser Combat and Clay Pigeon Shooting.

As well as his Assessors role, Sandy is also a Grazing Clerk, Chairman of North Sandy 1Sutherland Community Forest Trust, Chairman of the NFUS Crofting Committee, sits on the LFA Committee and the Dyslexia Working Group and serves on the North West Sutherland Football association, along with a few other local committees.

Welcome to the Crofting Commission’s Blog!

The Crofting Commission are entering the blogosphere! 

Key members of the crofting community will be blogging here with regular features by the Crofting Commissioners and staff and guest bloggers from our partner organisations.  We will be blogging about key issues affecting crofting today and topical debates which are of interest to crofters and crofting communities across Scotland.