Welcome to Heatherbell


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.

looking over Heatherbell to the salmon cages at Lober

Dad never remembers this field having been ploughed so it hasn’t been turned over for 55+ years until last year when we cropped it with barley. There are quite a few stoney patches in the field as there used to be a small quarry area in it. It is quite evident in the field where a road was once as it is a mass of stone. I think over the two years we have spent 4 afternoons picking stones.

The current owner of Heatherbell (the house) happens to be a big whisky collector (Iain Dick) and owns The Hoxa Hill Bar facebook page. It’s a private collection of whisky which he often shares/enjoys a dram with other whisky fanatics in the Island, sampling whisky from all over.


We sincerely hope that in a few years, everyone will be sampling the Bere Barley 2020 vintage grown in this very field. Thank you very much to Barrie and Victoria for the update and for all your labours so far. 


Barrie Moar and Ian Sinclair, Orkney

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