Members Dr Jean Balfour and Mark Pattinson together with Highland Regional Manager Drew McFarlane-Slack attended the latest SCF Gathering on Skye entitled ‘1886 and all that’, referencing the original Crofting Act. Before the start of the event they were joined at their table by Environment Minister Stewart Stevenson and SCF Chair Eleanor Arthur and were able to speak freely to him during lunch on issues that included salmon fishing, salmon farming and beavers.
Around 100 attendees were able to hear from a number of speakers on day 1 challenged by SCF to look at Croftings’ past and present during event at the Gaelic College in Sleat on Skye. As ever, the past was turned over like many a turf as speakers dug for fresh ways to characterise yesterday’s landlords and there was disappointingly little reference from any of the speakers on the vastly improved relationships that have been developed over the years. Day two looked towards a future outlined in SCF’s ‘Crofting Strategy Proposal’ http://www.crofting.org/index.php/publications/66 which calls for the creation of 10,000 new crofts across Scotland by 2020 and by 2030 have 25% of Scotland’s land under crofting tenure.
Scottish Land & Estates continues to enjoy a very good relationship with SCF and its members and during the event we were able to network with old friends and new contacts, including MSPs Tavish Scott MSP, Rhoda Grant and Rob Gibson. Dr Jean has arranged to meet with Eleanor Arthur in the coming months.