EWES from a famous island flock have been relocated to Wester Ross as part of a pioneering project between two National Trust for Scotland properties.
The arrival at NTS Inverewe of 16 ewes from the renowned Isle of Canna stock is part of a sustainable land use project managed under the well-respected husbandry of Geraldine MacKinnon.
The aim is to allow the Inverewe Estate to grow the local skills and knowledge to start farming its own land.
Inverwewe property manager Kevin Frediani explained: "The idea is that the Canna sheep graze the conservation meadows in the in-bye fields on the Inverewe estate, improving the biodiversity of the area by encouraging wildflowers and the insects and birds that they bring.
"We can then use the sheep to provide quality wholesome local meat to be consumed by our visitors in Osgood’s Café at Inverewe. Any excess produce could be used within the Trust at other regional properties such as Culloden and Brodie Castle. Our hope is that this will eventually provide a model of sustainable land use that allows visitors to eat good local produce, all while conserving the landscapes in the north-west Highlands."
The vision for Inverewe is an integrated approach to sustainable agricultural systems which should have minimal negative impacts on the environment. It hopes to make a positive contribution to the environment managed by the NTS by increasing and protecting biodiversity, by capturing carbon and by respecting water cycles.
This builds on the work across other Trust areas, with cattle at Torridon and crofting work at Balmacara over the past decade.
Through this approach, Inverewe aims to demonstrate its role as custodian of the food supply chain and will produce food that is nutritionally diverse and healthy, in turn helping improve the food we provide to our customers Inverewe. Sustainable agricultural systems are linked to efficient and sustainable supply chains that reduce food loss and reduce food waste.
Mr Frediani added: "It’s a win-win situation and this is an exciting example of working in partnership across the Trust and across our local communities to create a more integrated and sustainable approach to land use. Thank you to our fellow NTS colleagues in Canna and our local community for their help."