Old Man of Storr on the Isle of Skye in Scotland

The Multi Tasking Crofter


Alistair Danter
Edinbane | Isle of Skye

House Repairs

Alistair shares details and images of the hard work underway on his croft, getting ready for another busy holiday season, looking after the animals and working on the land to improve drainage, make renovations and the annual general maintenance that the buildings need, all which have required careful attention and repair after a long, damp, cold winter.

We are often asked what we get up to on the croft in Winter. Strangely we are often busier when the days are short, the weather challenging and not so many people around!


Spring is always a mad race to manage different aspects of the croft and of course make sure that our holiday cottages are ready for the new season.


In the last couple of months we have had to repair some storm damage which destroyed one side of our cattle pen. We will be bringing the cows down the road from our neighbours’ shortly for their 6 monthly “worming and fluke” treatment. The Bull is with them at the moment and we hope that all will go well on that front!

The area around one of our cottages, Tigh Dubh and the Armadilla (Helen’s treatment room), seemed to be constantly wet so we called in our local digger driver – “Finlay” – to dig a trench and now we are filling it with slotted pipes and drainage chips which should do the trick. When you see a land drain working there is a great feeling of satisfaction!

Drain Building

Managing rushes is a constant challenge, there is no single solution. We hope that we have improved the soils with some land drains and in addition we have been using a soil aerator, which is a roller with 6 spikes to improve water penetration into the ‘paircs’ or grounds. We have applied lime to change the acidity and have just invested in a chain chopper to “top” the rushes. This will be followed up with some careful spot spraying once the weather is a bit warmer.

We like to try and use local stone around the croft and have had some success in the past with a great fire pit and barbecue area. Just now we are working on a series of stone walls around our own house with the help of some wonderful local craftsmen.