Year Graduated: 1960
John (right) and Andrew (left) Arbuckle
John studied at the ‘Edinburgh and East of Scotland College of Agriculture’, and was one of the first students to walk the halls of the new agriculture building in the King’s Buildings (now known as the Peter Wilson Building) in Edinburgh.
“One of my favourite memories from college days was Saturday morning farm visits followed by a lunchtime pint at Ma Scott's on Rose Street.”
John tells us his studies gave him a good grounding in the principles of crop and animal husbandry. And he remembers his lecturers Ken Runcie and Jim Harkins fondly.
“I farmed for 40 years - a small arable and fruit farm in the North of Fife, specialising in soft fruit and seed potatoes. During which time I was closely involved with the NFUS culminating as convenor of the potato committee. On giving up the tenancy of the farm I worked as a temporary potato inspector with the Department of Agriculture.”
John and his brother Andrew have recently published their second book ‘Farming Facts and Fake News’. This follows their first book together in 2015: ‘Farming is a Funny Business’, which raised almost £50,000 for RSABI. RSABI is a Scottish charity providing emotional, practical and financial support to individuals and their families across the agricultural sector including farming, crofting and growing.
‘Farming Facts and Fake News’ contains essential information on all aspects of Scottish rural life, with a good dose of humour – as it also lists fun ‘facts’ such as alternative uses of wellies.
“Andrew dreamed up the concept of the book but I have enjoyed helping to pull together the various lists as co-compiler.”
Once again, Andrew and John hope to raise much needed funds for the crucial work of RSABI.
John is still in touch with his classmates, with another reunion planned for 2018.
“Seven of us from the same course had a reunion lunch in Edinburgh in 2015 to celebrate 55 years since we left college. They were Hugh Smith, Bob Niven, Stan Bayne, Jim Sloan, Colin MacFarlane, Iain Roper-Caldbeck and myself. If we are all still around we intend to have a diamond celebration of going to college, next year.”
John is now retired and lives in Giffordtown.