Sarah and Hugh have lived at Darach Croft since 2017 and are passionate about raising rare and native breeds of sheep and cows, living closer to nature, and becoming more environmentally friendly and self-sufficient.
Darach Croft is located near Strontian, on the Ardnamurchan Peninsula in the Western Highlands. It is on the edge of the Ariundle Oakwood, a part of the ancient Sunart Oakwoods, a rare surviving fragment of the native oakwoods that once spread along the Atlantic coast, sometimes referred to as the ‘Celtic Rainforest’.
Ariundle Oakwood has a huge diversity of mosses, lichens and ferns and is home to a variety of rare and beautiful butterflies and dragonflies.The lichen Usnea grows widely across the area. Usnea is very sensitive to air pollution, and as such is often used as a bioindicator, showing that the air across Sunart and the surrounding area is clean and of high quality.
Sarah and the other Hand Crofters regularly use the local mosses and lichens to dye their wool. This produces a wide range of beautiful and lasting colours, but without the use of chemicals.
In the shorter term, we aim to help conserve traditional breeds, maintain the crofting way of life and run a working croft. We are keen to avoid the over-use of medication, antibiotics and pesticides and aim to use environmentally sound farming practices.
Both Sarah and Hugh have backgrounds in providing support to people with mental health issues, substance use and learning disabilities. In the longer term we hope to establish Darach Croft as a care farm or ‘Social Croft’ providing social, mental health, and educational care services, as well as croft produce.