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Wind and Snow Welcomes Oatridge Students to Hill Farming

Published Wednesday, 26th February 2014 in Study at SRUC news

Even blizzards failed to dampen the spirits of students from the Oatridge Campus of Scotland’s Rural College as they saw hill farming at first hand during a recent visit to Strathtay, Aberfeldy.

The HND Agrics were hosted at West Park and Pitacree by farmer Roddy Thomson. He runs the 445 ha unit in the Upper Tay Valley which climbs from 100 metres to 300 metres with sheep and suckler cows. As part of their module on Hill Farming and Pasture Management they were shown the different types of land farmed and were able to discuss both the cropping and stocking potential and the limitations of each type.

On a clear day the Strathtay and Grandtully area is beautiful. Indeed some call the area the “Gucci Glen” because of the number of celebrity’s living there. However, according to lecturer Joy Miller the students saw the realities of farming in that environment.

“One student, Laura Young from New Cumnock in Ayshire was surprised by the topography of the farm”, said Joy. “Perhaps she is more used to flattish ground.”

‘The snow was horizontal but everyone appreciated Roddy’s effort and enthusiasm whilst showing us around, ’ commented student Finlay Ross from Bankfoot.

While the visit was challenging enough, given the conditions, there was even more of a challenge for students living north of Aberfeldy. Having left their cars in Perth they returned to them with the news that the A9 was blocked above Blair Atholl, leaving them stuck. One lucky person found relatives in Perth to stay with. Two more opted for Oatridge while another pair of intrepid individuals travelled the long miles via Aberdeen. Next year the Hill Farming Systems visit may be in May!

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