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Members of Northmavine Community Development Company’s Crofting Sub-group went on a fact finding trip to the islands of North Ronaldsay and Shapinsay in Orkney. Funding for this project was available through Communities Scotland Regeneration Outcome Agreement. This allowed for local people to learn at first hand how other communities were dealing with similar issues to Northmavine such as depopulation and crofting diversification.
North Ronaldsay was the first port of call. Members of the North Ronaldsay Trust took the group around the island showing them the myriad of projects they are currently working on. Among them was of course the now famous Dennis Head Old Beacon which featured on the BBC Restoration Village programme.
Dennis Head Old Beacon with North Ronaldsay sheep in the foreground.
The group also sampled North Ronaldsay mutton. They agreed that it had a unique taste due to the diet of seaweed the sheep exist on. North Ronaldsay with its population of only 60 people is a truly inspiring and very beautiful place that is well worth a visit.
Shapinsay came next and although the weather was blustery the Shapinsay Development Trust also provided the group with a valuable insight into crofting diversification Orkney style. Orkney Isles Preserves is a small family run company which operates out of a converted farm cottage. They use local ingredients for their jams and chutneys and pride themselves on the quality of the product.
Drew Cromarty, member of the Crofters Focus Group, samples some Orkney Isles Preserves.
Potter at work in Elwick Mill, Shapinsay.
For more information about the Crofting Group or to join contact Maree Hay at the Greenbrae office.
Tel: 01806 544222 weekdays 9am-12pm