Visit an organic farm

Ardalanish Organic Farm, Argyll & Bute

Ardalanish lies in the remote south west corner of the Isle of Mull in the Inner Hebrides. The farm extends from the white sands of Ardalanish Bay to its extensive hill grazings of heather, dry heath, bog and scrub woodland. Aeneas and Minty MacKay rear native Kyloe cattle and Hebridean sheep. Tweed, throws, shawls and scarves are woven at the farm's weaving mill using native undyed Hebridean and Shetland wools.

Kyloe cattle

The Kyloe was the cow of the Western Highlands and Islands of Scotland - small black and hardy. At Ardalanish, as in days gone by, the Clach na Gruagaich fold of Highland cattle are predominantly black. The herd's grazing pattern is more like that of wild herbivores than of a domestic breed, copying in many ways the activities of the wild aurochs (now-extinct wild ox). Cows calve naturally on the hill, seeking out a sheltered brackeny hollow or heather filled corrie.

Hebridean sheep

These sheep are possibly an ancient native breed descended from Viking stock which evolved centuries ago in the Western Isles of Scotland. Their lustrous black wool, which is woven on the farm, makes hard wearing clothing – archaeologists have found traces of similar wool in ancient island burials.

Conservation

The farming practices at Ardalanish try to provide a balance between the natural eco-system and the animals that have evolved with the environment. The grazing helps enhance the flora on the hill ground and to improve habitats for wildlife.

Crops

On the 'in-bye' land crops are rotated around the small fields. The farm grows oats which are stocked in the sheaf (so the oats are not separated) for feeding to the cows in the winter. They also grow hay and turnips and for winter fodder. Tatties (potatoes), carrots and winter veg are grown for sale locally.

Textiles

The farm produces beautiful sweaters, throws and tweeds from the wool produced on the farm. The farm buildings house the last weaving loom on Mull, producing a unique fabric. A producer group has been set up to buy in raw fleece from other like minded breeders. The intention is to encourage native breeds and organic production.  

Arranging a visit   

The farm hosts schools and groups by arrangement.  

How to get there   

By road: As you head into Bunessan towards Iona, take left turn by the pub and then left again at the top of the hill, following signs for Uisken. Drive 1.5 miles and turn right, going past the Ardachy House Hotel. Follow to Ardalanish at the end of the road.  
By bike: Find your route on the Sustrans website   

Contact details