The Crofting Year
The Crofting Year is a National Progression award in Crofting which gives young people the opportunity to experience real-life situations on a working croft. The course was designed by the Western Isles Council (WIC) in 2005 and approved by the Scottish Qualification Authority (SQA) for delivery at Lionacleit High School, Benbecula, from 2006 onwards. The National Trust for Scotland (NTS), as part of its ongoing support for crofting has developed and adapted the course for delivery at Plockton High School, Lochalsh from May 2013 onwards.
The NTS at Balmacara has been actively supporting crofting since 1999 with the creation of eight new crofts, the first new crofts anywhere in 80 years according to the Crofters Commission. This was followed by the establishment of the Traditional Croft Management Scheme (TCMS) in 2006 which delivers direct financial support for crofters on the estate who are undertaking traditional agricultural activity on their croft, e.g. rotational cropping and rearing cattle. The new Crofting Year course represents the next step in this programme of support and is aimed at ensuring the next generation of crofters have the skills and experience necessary to take crofting forward as an active agricultural system.