In commercial terms, Carbeth is a small farm, operating on a small scale. The land is too wet to support traditional crops or livestock on an intensive basis, but its 400 acres and small flock of sheep have been carefully nurtured and are profitable with the support of EU subsidies. These small profits have made it possible to employ a part-time apprentice, and to reinvest in equipment and soil health.
Nobody currently depends on Carbeth for their livelihood, and unlike many farms that undertake diversification projects, it is not being forced to diversify in order to survive. On the other hand, at least until farming subsidies are reformed, for most farmers it is not possible to invest heavily in ecology without also generating some associated income. This project is driven by three people, none of whom were born in to a life of farming, but who share an optimism, creativity and entrepreneurial vision for the future of the farm. We believe that while its small size and our wet climate may limit its commercial potential in traditional agricultural terms, its location, natural beauty and the particular challenges of our times present other possibilities.
Scottish Enterprise Rural Leader, former art & design teacher, living the farming dream since the purchase of Carbeth Home Farm in 2000
Freelance designer, science and nature devotee, eldest daughter of Daye, currently lives in south west France
Scottish Enterprise Rural Leader, Agriculture HNC, Modern apprentice, Lantra industry champion, skills too numerous to list
We are only at the very beginning of our journey, with much research, discussion and planning ahead of us before we will know where our adventure will take us. What’s more, we hope there will be many collaborations along the way, and those are as yet unknown. There are however, some broad areas we would like to explore, all of which would be compatible with our other objectives or increased biodiversity, increased carbon sequestration, and community engagement. Indeed, we hope that our ecology and community work will help to raise our profile and generate interest in what we have to offer commercially.
This will require substantial investment, but eco-tourism and agri-tourism look likely to be resilient in the face of the COVID-19 crisis. Camping, glamping and luxury cabins overlooking the River Endrick are all possibilities that we will explore.
We will investigate plants, such as willow and birch, that could have commercial value, perhaps that we could process ourselves, and that would grow easily at Carbeth without the need for harmful practices such as the use of pesticides.
Leisure and education
There would be countless opportunities to offer leisure and educational activities, either directly or in collaboration with others. Examples include guided walks, outdoor skills classes and children’s activities. If we are able to develop the farm steading in the future, the availability of indoor spaces would open up even more possibilities.