Living in the Highlands of Scotland
During the summer I noticed the number of eggs from our hybrids had dropped off, I then found that some of them had been hidding their eggs in an old bothy opposite our house. It is now nearly Christmas and I have yet again found one of the hybrids doing a sneaky hide of her eggs!
Living in the Highlands is an experience we have wanted for many years and we have been lucky to get our dream. This website is about living in the Highlands on a small croft and pictures of crofting life in Scotland. I hope you will find the pictures and shared experiences enjoyable and inspire you to visit Scotland and especially the Highlands of Scotland for a holiday. While we love living in the Highlands we do not try and make money from our croft, it is purely a self-sufficiency lifestyle that we enjoy. We grow vegetables and have a number of chickens, quails and two wonderful Kunekune pet pigs ... and before you ask, they are pets and will not end up as sausages! We also have two fantastic collie dogs that share our life.
The location of these photographs are from the Highlands of Scotland, and especially Caithness in the far North. Our "croft" is a very small one, the house and land we bought separate from the 100 acre farm - we are not farmers, we just love the country life and the space to grow our own food. Since moving to our croft we have worked hard at improving the land which was a stack yard before we bought it. A stack yard is where the farmer usually stacks stuff - often bales of straw or hay, and in our case a pile of manure from winter the cattle inside. We have used the now well rotted manure to improve the soil of the land which was very poor to start with. Now it is into overdrive for growing vegetables. In the last 4 years we have also planted over 480 small trees, and the it has made a huge difference to the number of wild birds that have been attracted into the croft and our garden. Some of the trees, planted as 2-3 year old whips, are now 3-5 metres tall and growing fast to create a shelter belt - both visual from the road and as a windbreak.
One of the first things we did when moving to our Highland croft was to buy point of lay hybrid chickens so we had our own free range eggs. With my wife not eating meat we did not want to keep livestock other than chickens and possibly in the future some ducks, then one day our neighbours arrived with a one day old Kunekune pig that was not feeding from his mum and we could not say no - as without hand feeding he would not have survived the night. That is how we now have two pet Kunekune's who are becoming part of our lives and who both bring a smile to our faces every time we see them or talk about them. I hope you will enjoy our KuneKune experience as well ... more about them on our Piggy Wiggy website.
Our chickens are hybrids, basically they have been bred to lay eggs and you can get around 300 eggs per hen per year. They are great to learn about keeping chickens however we now feel that pure breed chickens are probably better for the breed, they lay less eggs per year however it is more natural and less stressful on the chickens. Our oldest hybrids are at time of writing around 4 years old. We recently purchased fertile eggs for incubation and while this was not very successful in the number of eggs that hatched it did teach us a lot about raising chickens and we now have 3 pure breed chickens (1 Scots Grey, 1 Light Sussex) and one Scots Grey cockerel called Murphy.
We also share our lives with our dogs. Our two collies are amazing pals and go everywhere with us. We have had Charlie (front of the top left picture) since a puppy, and Tibby since we moved to the Highlands as she was the farm dog who came to live with us after a while. We adopted Tibby when she was around 8 years old.
Sheep photographed on our neighbours croft