So Friday night was the awards dinner for the Spirit of Crofting held by the Scottish Crofting Federation. Best Newcomer Crofter and Young Crofter of the Year were awarded. Being a nominee meant going and needing to get dressed up. No excuses for getting cold feet, even if I couldn’t wear my insulated wellies.
Now, the Young Crofter of the Year award was the David and Goliath of the ‘young’ crofters (yes, we are classified as young if we are under 41). The shortlist was between Donald Macsween and myself. Having seen Donald on TV (yes, he’s got his own programme of ‘Air an Lot’ on BBC Alba), his mass following on Twitter, and a blog that points out he is from a crofting family who have been on the land for 200 years you would think, aye right. Why? In comparison, up until I met my husband, I had never heard of crofting. The one we ended up with had not been worked in donkey years and there was absolutely nothing other than spreading rushes and some old trees. Hence it felt like a David and Goliath competition. Like biblical David, I even have a sling, in fact, three. Although mine are for carrying a Mini Crofter, not for throwing stones at giants. And so too ends the comparison. Because in this event, the giant got the trophy. So huge congratulations to Donald.
Now, I have since been given commiserations by friends; I have been told I was ‘robbed’, why was it down to a panel of judges with no public vote, what system was used? But, that’s not the point. In every award you have a winner and therefore, a loser. I was fortunate to be shortlisted and become the runner up. It will hopefully provide inspiration to others to enter agriculture (because, as you saw I had no background in it). Being a theatre nurse may help with gralloching a deer but doesn’t help with learning to be a jack of all trades. I am also a woman in agriculture, something that is not always promoted among women and one of the reasons I wanted to help show others, it is possible.
So to end, what caused me to be the most gutted? Donald Macsween having no signed copy of Air an Lot!!! Thought the man had friends in high places? Surely the BBC can get archive copies? Anyone got friends in BBC archives? For all those trying to promote learning Gaelic, here’s a chance!
And my advice from the night? You can ceilidh dance all you want when you’re 6 months pregnant. You’ll just feel like you’ve competed in Olympic gymnastics for the next two days!