Late summer time every year, I receive a delivery of mutton and beef from the Outer Hebrides. I always look forward to the delivery, not just because of delicious naturally reared meats it brings, but because it is also a chance to see Sandy Granville, my friend who drives all the way from the Isle of Lewis to deliver it.
I first met Sandy several years ago when I stayed on the Hebridean croft run by him and his wife Ali. Wonderfully welcoming and warming the Granville’s soon made me feel at home, even though the croft was a world away from the kind of agriculture a southerner like me is used to! I was soon feeding the croft hens and pigs from the community pig club and enjoying the Leòdhas or Lewis crofting ways.
Barristers turned crofters, the Granville’s have quiet a story to tell, and sharing home cured meats and hearty meals around the dinner table, I would laugh heartedly with Ali & Sandy as the tales were told. It was clear from the outset that Sandy is what most people call a ‘character’ but I think of him more as a rock star of the crofting world 😉 So it was no surprise to me when the media became interested in him. However it was a bit of a surprise to get a phone call from Sandy telling me that with my next meat delivery he would also be bringing a camera crew.
One Saturday in September I found myself making tea for Sandy and his team as we discussed animal welfare, sustainable food and mutton that Sandy raises through ‘sea shepherding’. The filming forms part of a new prime-time BBC 2 programme called ‘This Farming Life’ that starts this Monday (07/03/16) and was filmed over the course of a year following life on five farms around Scotland, including the Granville croft. I don’t want to tell you too much or it will spoil the programme! However I will say that if you want to learn about crofting or just find out more about the Hebrides, you will not be disappointed in watching.
And…. if after watching you get a taste for the Hebridean way of farming you too can order mutton meats from the Granville croft by ordering on-line here. Or better still you can visit the Tolsta Chaolais croft on the beautiful Isle of Lewis for yourself.