West Moss-side Organic Farm and Centre nr Stirling Scotland

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Kate, kye and kayaking in Shetland. Meanwhile the Trossachs yurts progress.

 

I have just returned from a dream trip to Shetland. 2010 is the centenary of the Shetland Cattle Herd Book Society, so to celebrate, an invitation was extended to all breeders all over the UK to come to Shetland.  Folk  travelled from all corners of the British Isles to celebrate and to participate in the 'conference' and visits, and for some it was the first time they saw the home ground for the native breed. 

           

Shetland came up trumps. The sun shone on the Cunningsburgh Show and they almost ran out of ice creams!!  The Shetland Cattle  marquee was full of fasciniating information and archive pictures. Some from the wonderful book that has just been published for the centenary : A Pictorial " Daander Trowe" Shetland's Crofting Culture. For those of you not familiar with the Shetland dialect - that is "Wander through".  the book is available from West Moss-side - 25.00 including p&p.

The book illustrates the absolutely central role of the Shetland coo in life on Shetland and this was demonstrated for real by Pearl Young at the Cunningsburgh Show.  She brought some milk and had a whole table of foods made from the milk: scones (buttermilk), beester pudding (rich colostrom), butter, yoghurt, hard cheese, cottage cheese, kirnie milk (from the buttermilk), blaand (the remaining liquid after making the kirnie milk).

       

Then came the first kayaking trip.  A glorious evening, and I was staying with Tam Hillditch a great Shetland kayaker.  His house overlooks Moussa Sound and the island of Moussa. It was too good an opportunity to miss so we set off for the short paddle across the sound. We decided to go clockwise all around the island before going ashore at the Broch.  I've paddled there before but it is just so dramatic - almost full height double walled fortress of a building. Inside the walls nest the ellusive storm petrel who return under cover of dark to their hidie holes.   We stayed as long as we could and heard some coming in to the drystane dykes on the beach, but darkeness was falling fast, and we slipped back into the water at 10.45pm to paddle through the phorphorescence home.

     

There was a day of presentations about the Shetland Cattle breed with talksabout the genetics, the health, the history and the potential for the breed for the future. West Moss-side was featured as an example of how good the cattle are for conservation grazing and we all shared stories about our favourite cows. 

 At the weekend I joined Tam with the Shetland Canoe Club in Yell for two days of magic paddling.  I don't have a waterproof camera - but there were some fantastic pictures taken including a closeup of an otter in a natural arch out on West Sandwick Holm.  

        

Then home to the yurts - yes some progress indeed. the walkway and the decking is finished on the fiirst yurt and the second and the third are well on their way too.

 

 

More updates coming soon - and the website for Trossachs Yurts www.trossachsyurts.com will be launched very very soon....