CROFTING AT BIG SKY LODGES
Here at Big Sky we like to keep the tradition of Highland crofting alive so you will find that the landscape around the Lodges is still put to good use. Dry stone dykes surround our lovely 17 acres and we always have livestock grazing the land. While you admire the view you’ll often see horses, Highland Cattle, sheep or hens as well as an abundance of wildlife.
Feel free to explore the croft and nearby Spittal Wood, which has some beautiful walks. You can often spot Roe Deer and occasionally Pine Martens or Squirrels.
Crofting in the Highlands of Scotland – FARM BIODIVERSITY REPORT
Introduction to farm environment
On 14 Drynie Park Farm during nesting times and while wildflowers develop and bloom, some fields are kept at low stocking rates and livestock are excluded in some cases.
Key species, which may be found on the croft and in the surrounding area include:
Barn Owl, Birdsfoot Trefoil, Common Eyebright, Corn Marigold, Devils Bit Scabious, Goldfinch, Knapweed, Lapwing, Ragged Robin, Yellowhammer, Corn Bunting, Great Yellow Bumblebee, Northern Brown Argus, Cornflower, Spotted Flycatcher, Song Thrush, Tree Sparrow, Bullfinch, Linnet, Brown Hare, Grey Partridge, Skylark, Reed Bunting, Pipistrelle Bat
Some of these are closely associated with farmland or are affected by farming activities and act as indicators of the extent and health of farmland habitats.
A new hedgerow was established recently on this croft . The hedge which contains a mixture of hawthorn, blackthorn, rose and willow will become a valuable source of food and shelter to wildlife on the croft.
This croft supports unimproved grassland on areas which were historically less intensively managed . A wildflower and grass mixture has also been sown in 2007 . These areas are now sensitively managed during the summer months to allow the development, flowering and seeding of wild grass and herb swards. Colourful displays and wonderful fragrances can be enjoyed from an array of wildflowers such as field pansy, ragged robin, devil’s– bit scabious, eyebright, red clover, yarrow and birdsfoot trefoil. The vigorous activity of bees and other insect make these areas a joy to behold.
Past amenity tree planting has lead to the development of young woodland on this croft. Birch, cherry and willow, together with Scots pine and European larch have all established well and offer good habitat for priority species such as pipistrelle bat, bullfinch, goldfinch and yellowhammer . Older woodland exists beyond the dry stone dyke outside the southern boundary of the croft and here rowan, gean, birch, whitebeam and Scots pine grow adjacent to fine open larch and Scots pine plantation .
Archaeology and Drystone Dykes
This croft is part of a traditional crofting landscape with small field enclosures, drystone dykes and mounds of stone which were once cleared from the land to allow cultivations to take place. One fine dyke marks the southern boundary of this croft and the adjacent croft land. These old, expertly crafted walls provide shelter and shade to livestock and habitat for plants, invertebrates and small mammals.
Drynie Park contains a number of excellent walks which allow visitors to view the croft and enjoy all the features of importance.
While exploring the croft and the surrounding area visitors are asked to minimise disturbance to livestock and wildlife.
Also take care when walking on the edge of the narrow single track road.
Farmers Markets are held on Dingwall High Street on the second Saturday of the month and in Inverness on the first Saturday of the month from March to December.
Loch na Mhoid Community Garden
Tasty seasonal local veg grown by Toni’s community garden just down the road from Big Sky, from £5 per box.
Please call Toni on 01463 871544 or 07748560597 to arrange delivery to your lodge or pop in to her garden
to choose your own veg.
Black Isle Berries
Black Isle Berries
Muir of Ord
Tel: 01463 811276
Sale of seasonal soft fruit and vegetables
Coulmore Farm CSA
Coulmore Farm CSA
Tel: 01463 731360
Organic beef and lamb
Organic vegetable box scheme
Connage Highland Diary
Milton of Connage
Producers of organic cheeses
For further local food producers, markets and retailers see the HLFN website: www.hlfn.org