The Ballantyne family have been farming at Clynelish Farm since 1982 when Murdo & Jane secured the tenancy of the farm from what was then Scottish Malt Distillers (now Diageo). Their son Jason and his wife Victoria moved into the farmhouse at the end of 2012.
Jason is full time on the farm looking after stock and will try to answer any questions guests may have about the business – like most farmers he is happy to talk about farming ’til the cows come home’!
Victoria, originally from Australia and slowly acclimatising to the Highland climate, is also from a farm and helps out in between making beds and cooking breakfast.
Clynelish Farm is about 300 acres and despite its small size carries around 650 ewes and 80 cows, with some extra grazing rented to help spread the mouths at times. We also contract farm 300 North Country Cheviot ewes just up the road.
We are very passionate about farming and our environment and believe there is a sustainable economic and environmental future for livestock farming.
We operate a grass based system with very little feed bought in. Soil health and grass productivity are a vital part of our business plan and though we are not certified organic we are close to this system.
We have been working toward a low input system for several years in the hope of reducing our work load, costs and carbon footprint. This has largely been successful on all fronts and we hope to continue to improve our business – though our dream of a 4 day week may be a wee bit unrealistic!
The sheep flock has its base in North Country Cheviots, with Aberfield rams used more recently to produce a nice cross ewe for breeding. NZ Suffolk rams are used on the rest of the commercial flock to produce prime and store lambs.
The cattle are mostly cross bred cows, with native bulls used to produce breeding heifers and Charolais bulls for all other cows. The calves are housed in winter and fed a combination of draff (left over mash from Clynelish Distillery) and beetpulp (bi-product of sugar production).
We have placed a lot of effort recently into improving our pasture quality and rearing as much as we can from grass and forage as we see it as a sustainable way of farming and running a business.
We lamb outdoors in April/May and calve May/July, so keep an eye out in the fields for new life at these times of year!
Away from farming we love to travel and are always planning the next adventure – near or far. Meeting people from all over the world is one of the great things about running a B&B and we look forward to meeting you and hearing about your town/city/country.
Clynelish Farm has been involved in the 'Farming for a Better Climate' Carbon Focus Farm Program in recent years and is now the 2017-2020 Sutherland Monitor Farm as part of the QMS Monitor Farm Program. For more information on the farm please see our Facebook Page 'Clynelish Farm'.