Thanks for Andrew Charles for submitting this report from the Scottish Smallholder Festival which was held last weekend. If any members have other items suitable for inclusion on the website then please get in touch using the Submit News/Event page.
This years Festival took place at Forfar Mart, on Sunday 28th October and was well attended, and the main hall was full of craft and information stalls, and there was quite a large livestock display in the auction yard.
Being a 4 hour drive to get there we decided to stay overnight, which gave us time to call in on the new V&A building in Dundee. Very impressive and it makes a wonderful backdrop to the RRS Discovery on display in dry dock on the shores of the Tay estuary. But if you are planning a visit pre booking would be advisable – it was packed with no spare tables at the cafe and with queues into all the displays, some of which needed tickets – but just seeing the building both inside and out made the detour worthwhile.
The Festival had a full programme of talks, plus demonstrations and workshops (some of which needed booking). We attended a session on weed control without chemicals by the Soil Association (where I come from this is known as slave labour!) Then we had a go at wool spinning (oops not so good) fleece identification (quite easy if its still on the sheep) and willow weaving (not too bad for beginners) The full programme of talks and demos is on display on the Scottish Smallholder Festival website, if you want an idea of what is available. Auction Marts aren’t very draught or sound proof structures, so warm clothes and good hearing are essential to get the most from the sessions.
We chatted with a lady at the prize egg table in the produce section and discovered that she had won first prize for her chicken egg – but she had no ides what the judges were looking for and she had just picked a good looking egg up that morning to bring with her – we’ll have a go at that next year!
The refreshments were supplied mainly by mobile food stalls, of good quality and the queues weren’t too long.
I shall be joining in the SRUC webinars aimed at small scale pig keepers, and I am looking forward to receiving more info on a solar powered water pump to assist with next years dry spells – courtesy of Scottish Water.
So if you fancy a day out and a chance to show off produce, livestock, or have a chat with local experts make a note in your diary – the 2019 festival is back at the Agricultural centre in Lanark, and the 2020 festival will be at the Forfar mart – both will be on the last Saturday in September