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