Farmtoun Eco Holidays


Sustainable Self-Catering Accommodation in Angus, Scotland




Rose & George

at Cairn O’Mhor

‘a sustainable way of life in Scotland’


We started our hospitality business in Spring 2018, in

our home Cairn O’Mhor, a converted farm steading in

the pretty rural countryside of Angus, Scotland.

the possibility

of a

better life

Cairn O’Mhor and our adjacent -but not connectedsmallholding,

known as ‘The Whirlies’ are our little

slice of semi-sustainable rural pie.

We started our journey in Smallholding together more

than 10 years ago -though George had already started

creating a permaculture garden (in what was an

empty field) by the time I came along. We share a

great passion for Self-Sufficiency, Sustainability,

Permaculture and Organics. Both of us have familial

links with farming, me (Rose) having been raised by

the Head Grower on a large fruit farm in Kent, and

George being a local tattie (potato) farmer’s son. Our

smallholding is situated on a small chunk of what was

once the Maxwell family’s (Georges clan) Angusbased

potato empire! We moved into Cairn O’Mhor

together 6 years ago, and have been working on

developing and evolving both the smallholding and

the house ever since.

Living sustainably in the modern world comes with

significant challenges; we do not profess to be selfsufficient,

in fact we are far from it. We are hoping

rather to integrate smallholding as a committed

lifestyle choice (lives enriched with real home-grown

food, and ‘soul’ food from being outdoors and caring

for the land) with engaging in the wider world in a

socially-conscious, locally-supportive and

environmentally-friendly way. We enjoy a superefficient

heating and hot water system fuelled with

wood and solar thermal heat collection, we treat our

waste water on site, minimise the use of treated tap

water, and use electricity from 100% UK renewable


Food is very important to us. We love growing a huge

variety of fruits and vegetables, and are always trying

new varieties, both modern and heirloom. We like to

experiment with unusual / novel food-plants and plant

trees and pollinator-friendly flowers every year. We

have achieved sustainability in potatoes, carrots,

parsnips, onions, leeks, garlic, beetroot and a number

of culinary herbs; producing the right amounts of each

for our own consumption and storing them

accordingly for use throughout the winter months. I

coordinate a local ethical food-buying group, and we

are members of a farm-to-table food-sourcing

collective that together buys and butchers meatanimals

from other small-scale local producers. This

group also organises informal workshops for shared

food-related learning experiences and resource

pooling, arranges fishing trips and foraging forays as

well as sharing other skills and food surpluses. These

groups supplement what we grow/raise ourselves,

minimise our consumption and waste production and

nurture a tangible connection with our landscape and

where our food comes from, while supporting each

other in making ‘greener’ choices.

‘soul’ food from

being outdoors

& caring for the land

On our own land, we aim to nurture a healthy

environment for wildlife as well as ourselves and our

animals, working with nature rather than against it.

We grow and raise food, make mend and reinvent,

applying many of the principles of a closed loop

system. We are trying to live a ‘slow’ life of

environment appreciation with thoughtful and caring

animal husbandry that sets welfare as a priority.

Balancing all of this with an existence outside the

‘ranch’ has taught us that going big on sustainability is

most definitely, for us, about thinking small.

Just 12 acres, by conventional farming standards ‘The

Whirlies’ is tiny, but it is diverse. Variety is king of the

world as far as I am concerned; so good for our health

and wellbeing (varied highly nutritious diet, variation in

our work, space for a love of experiments!) and our

animals health and wellbeing (facilitating diversity

better simulates a healthy natural ecosystem). Scale

is key to this: A small size of holding makes managing

diversity more viable, low stock density that is well

managed (we rarely experience the commonplace

health issues of intensive farms) requires fewer

‘inputs’, and we produce only what we need. This

works for the animals too, we know them all

individually, I truly believe they are content, they know

their own environment and us well-enough that

stress is at bare minimum.

‘the whirlies’ is very

much a


Like most folk, we need to earn an income. Our self-catering accommodation is

part of that, and though there is always work to do on the smallholding over winter,

this system allows me to have different summer and winter occupations (more

variety! Woohoo!).

Our smallholding currently consists of two

polytunnels, a vegetable and bush-fruit garden, young

mixed orchard, hens, ducks, rare breed Soay sheep,

two young dairy goats and a rescued farm cat that

keeps the veg-eating mini-critters at bay! There is

also Sonny, the bouncy ginger Spaniel, he wouldn’t

like to be missed out though he is not exactly part of

the working ‘farm’!!! We plant trees and flowers

annually. We enjoy our own harvest all year round,

even in winter we have hardy veg, as well as stored,

dried, preserved, frozen, pickled and fermented

produce for the table. Our own eggs and lamb from

the wee woolly flock, and milk, cheese and goat meat

just around the corner. Our smallholding’s water

needs are met almost entirely by rain-water



I am in the process of growing a creative business

designing and making Harris Tweed handbags. My

love affair with Tweed started long before I moved to

Scotland but after a visit to the beautiful and unique

Outer Hebrides I was hooked on playing with it, such

tactile and practical fabric. George and I visit the

Hebrides in late autumn every year for a breather

after the busy summer months, and I buy buy buy for

the coming winter of making. I am involved in a local

artisan collective called 56 degrees, we organise popup

shops and events as a group of independent local

makers. If you would like to see more of my work

check out, and please visit my

website’s wee Artisan Market page for details of the

talented local artisans whose work is available to view

and buy from my studio when you visit!

borders & woodland

George works locally for Angus Boundaries creating

all kinds of borders from dry-stone dyking (walling) to

slat & rail fencing, as well as working all over the North

of Scotland on small parcels of woodland that are

being made ready for sale as woodland environments

for conservation and recreational enjoyment. Do

check out!

our ethos

Sustainability, for us, is about the interconnectedness

of a healthy ecosystem. A web of living organisms all

reliant on each other both directly and indirectly. We

see globally -brutally summed up in the increasing

extreme weather events of climate change - a stark

expression of the breakdown of these systems, and

the knock-on effects imposed across species. We

believe strongly that our future can only be secured

by massive shifts in governance, and agreed upon by

international communities for shared environmental

and social benefit. However, we are also committed to

doing what we can as individuals, always striving to

adapt and evolve our efforts as we learn and

understand better how we can engage in being part

of the web of solutions, rather than the cascade of


We are committed to waste reduction and strong

believers in the Reduce, Reuse, Reinvent, Repurpose,

Recycle philosophy. We are always looking to

connect with and promote other sustainable and local

businesses. We also aim to help facilitate our guests

enjoyment of the natural environment: Of Scotland’s

natural beauty, rich history and vibrant culture, with a

growing reference library of local – regional - and

countrywide - information from Ordinance Survey

maps to cultural and historical reference books,

nature guides etc.

Our buying choices reflect our desire to minimise our

impact. From recycled paper products, Fairtrade and

organic teas & coffee as standard, to cleaning &

personal hygiene products that are naturally derived

and bulk bought or home-made. We shop around for

environmentally friendly & socially conscious options

as well as asking ourselves ‘do we really need that?’

(difficult question as the answer is almost always no!)

Joining the Green Tourism accreditation scheme was

a logical step. The folk at Green Tourism offer a great

service for members and the public alike, making

‘going green’ accessible and easy to navigate and

offering friendly advice and support.

We have been on this path for some time, perhaps our

experiences can help inspire, or at least to show-case

some of the wonderful companies and organisations

we support and that support us along The Green

Road, do take a peek at our Green Connections page

on our website for our catalogue of green businesses

and products.

Rose & George


More magazines by this user
Similar magazines