This year, for the first time, Barrie Moar and partner Victoria will grow bere barley for us on South Ronaldsay, near “The Hope” (the village of St Margaret’s Hope). Barrie and father-in-law Ian have worked for many years as contractors with our other Orkney bere farmers’ crops. We asked them for some information about their land. And this is what they told us.
Victoria Moar: We call the field “Heatherbell” – that is the name of the house that can be seen at the end of the field. We rent it, have done for 10 years, from Smiddybanks Estate. It was originally a 7/8 acre croft so we have planted the whole croft with bere. The last lady who ran it as a croft was Annie Bruce an old spinster and she lived off the croft which only had 2 cows. There are some heather fields bordering it and perhaps this is where the name heatherbell came from?
There are stunning views from the field. One photo shows Scottish Water newish salmon cages at Lober with the island of Hunda in the background. The other (above) shows Hoxa with Flotta terminal and Hoy hills. If there had been a shower of rain or a week later the drone footage would have looked a lot better, its just a bit early for those photos yet.