The Accidental Smallholder Forum

Smallholding => Crofting => Topic started by: fiestyredhead331 on August 05, 2014, 06:39:01 pm

Title: Crofting Federation?......not impressed!
Post by: fiestyredhead331 on August 05, 2014, 06:39:01 pm
on our way home from Ullapool on the bus on Saturday we had the pleasure of chatting to Euan McIlwraith from Landward.
Of course, didn't waste the opportunity to inform on what we are doing on the croft and local markets etc and he was very interested. We got on to the topic of the Scottish Crofting Federation's Produce Mark, you remember, the one we battled for months to get after and admin problem?
Anyway, Euan asked where he could get more info about it from so we told him to get in touch with the office in Lochalsh as I'm sure they would be only to happy to chat/promote what they are doing.

WRONG!!!!!!

We emailed the SCF to let them know about our chat with Euan and their response was......tell him to look at the website!!!  :o

I am beyond livid, and that came from the CEO himself  >:(

we also asked for some time to catch up with the SCF at this years Black Isle show on Thursday but they have informed us that they won't have a stand there this year.

Whats going on? If we don't get some reasonable answers then we'll not be renewing our membership as they clearly don't appear to be working to promote crofting etc  >:(
Title: Re: Crofting Federation?......not impressed!
Post by: Hamish Crofter on August 05, 2014, 08:15:44 pm
This is really disappointing. I have had positive dealings with them but from what I hear your experience is not an isolated incident.
The comment about telling Euan to look at the website is incredible. With his radio and tv shows the chance of some positive media coverage was high.
Title: Re: Crofting Federation?......not impressed!
Post by: fiestyredhead331 on August 05, 2014, 08:19:49 pm
well to be honest I was shocked at their response! A golden opportunity for some publicity and free press but no....look at the website?... >:(

I've had mixed dealings with them over the last year but things seemed much more positive lately but this has really made me think twice about my membership of a group who don't seem to be doing much for the crofter
Title: Re: Crofting Federation?......not impressed!
Post by: Treud na Mara on August 05, 2014, 09:31:48 pm
I too have had very mixed experience of SCF, but I was coming round to them again. OH and I joined at the Black Isle Show last year before having a croft ourselves was realistically on the horizon. And since buying our croft their performance had been very mixed. All in all I think a coup is called for Feisty so if you are at the Black Isle Show on Thursday how about meeting up for a bit of plotting ? After all if we are members we should be able to hold them to account.
Title: Re: Crofting Federation?......not impressed!
Post by: fiestyredhead331 on August 05, 2014, 09:57:46 pm
all up for that  :thumbsup:

we went to the SCT stand last year and were almost blanked by someone who wanted a press release or some such, believe me Patrick Krause got a rather scathing email from us afterwards!
Title: Re: Crofting Federation?......not impressed!
Post by: Treud na Mara on August 06, 2014, 12:18:29 am
Mind you I should say that OH and I went on one of their courses on Monday - introduction to grassland management and I think it was about the best 72 we have spent (for the two of us) and has easily saved us  from spending many times that amount in doing stuff we don't need and doing the wrong stuff.
But they still need a rocket IMHO!
Title: Re: Crofting Federation?......not impressed!
Post by: fiestyredhead331 on August 06, 2014, 11:32:43 am
their courses seem a bit hit and miss for us, they put on some great ones and then end up with poor qualified people running them, one being regarding eggs and egg sales, we had to correct the tutor cos she was way wrong in what she was saying and then a  fencing one with a tutor who had no experience on fencing! The ones in Lairg are usually well run though
Title: Re: Crofting Federation?......not impressed!
Post by: Hamish Crofter on August 06, 2014, 08:20:21 pm
The irony to all this is that if Euan or his Landward/Scotland Outdoors team got wind of our discontent the SCF would probably get a bit of a kicking from a negative media piece!
Title: Re: Crofting Federation?......not impressed!
Post by: Treud na Mara on August 07, 2014, 07:47:30 am
Well I'm sorry but if the cap fits.  I thought that it was just my unfortunate personal experience and had no idea that anyone else was similarly discontent. And I do mean to be voicing that as if we all keep quiet in our little corners nothing will change. Don't worry - I don't mean I'm going to go public or anything -  I'm a firm believer in if you want something fixing then roll up your own sleeves and get stuck in first.
Title: Re: Crofting Federation?......not impressed!
Post by: fiestyredhead331 on August 07, 2014, 11:28:05 pm
each time we've had a problem, we have emailed or called them direct and we get apologies etc and you think oh well thats fine but its so frustrating when you push for something not just for my benefit but for theirs and they don't take the opportunity handed to them on a plate,
how was your day at Black Isle Treud? Managed to come home with a new jacket and boots  :innocent:
Title: Re: Crofting Federation?......not impressed!
Post by: Treud na Mara on August 08, 2014, 01:42:56 pm
We were a bit rushed because we had to pick someone up from Inverness (found on HelpX) who's coming to help us for the next week - took an hour to get out of the car park. But met up with folk as arranged and had a good catch up. Bought OH a new pair of waterproof trousers, failed to buy self a summer hat. Disappointed at no goats - I blame Brucklay for not going  :-J. But good altogether - definitely worth it to see OH's face when he was told the price of a new Rayburn  :roflanim: :roflanim: :roflanim: I knew what was coming so I made sure I was watching him! If a new one could be justified as a heating source and eligible for a renewable heat incentive payment now that would be worth it ! But somehow I suspect not.
Title: Re: Crofting Federation?......not impressed!
Post by: fiestyredhead331 on August 08, 2014, 05:36:49 pm
yeah I was gutted at the lack of goats, if I'd known I'd have taken mine! Did you see those big hairy sheep from Austria outside the wool tent? gorgeous but wouldn;t have them! Got my eye on the zwartbles though  ;)

our biggest gripes was A. how long it took to get out of the carpark, poor stewarding and traffic police weren't much better and the usual pamphlets on the windscreen which were actually stickers so made a hell of a mess  >:(

the high point for me is the New Zealand sheep show, he is priceless and I sooooo want Lenny the sheep
Title: Re: Crofting Federation?......not impressed!
Post by: Treud na Mara on August 08, 2014, 06:05:29 pm
Yep - the Sheep Show is worth the admission alone - I could sit and watch him all day!  Mind you I must say I was very shocked at the number of penned sheep without water or hay  :o where are the SSPCA when you want them. There also seemed to be quite a number with no shade from the sun either - poor panting creatures. Not taken with Zwartbles myself, or most of the big heavy commercial sorts - bad cases of being hit with the ugly stick IMHO. Give me Jacobs, Shetlands, and Scottish Blackface any day  ;)  and that's just the people ! :roflanim:
Title: Re: Crofting Federation?......not impressed!
Post by: Patrickatcrofting on August 14, 2014, 07:50:24 pm
Hello. I think this critisism is a bit harsh. You asked me for information on the SCP Mark to pass on to Euan so I said that all the SCP information is on our website www.croftingenterprise.co.uk (http://www.croftingenterprise.co.uk). Landward have covered the SCP already - Euan presented it. We do our best to promote crofting and the SCP mark. I explained that we decided to not attend the BIS this year as their charges are just too high - we have to be careful how we spend our members' subscriptions. The further critisism of our ability to answer queries I also think is a unfair; our staff can answer many queries but when they can't, as clearly no-one knows everything about crofting, they use our advisers and this usually takes a bit of time to come back as our advisors are crofters and are busy crofting. But we always reply. We also have a free legal help-line. I dont mind critisism from members - it is what helps us to improve - but I appreciate it when it is constructive.  All good wishes. Patrick
Title: Re: Crofting Federation?......not impressed!
Post by: Treud na Mara on August 16, 2014, 12:53:49 am
Thank you for that reply Patrick, it's good to know someone is listening and paying attention. I am well aware that I am one of these very annoying, loud, high maintenance members that many members would classify as 'hobby' crofters or part timer as I am in the very fortunate position of not needing to make my living at it. But, my sole concerns so far have been related to the welfare of my stock and the land which, although I technically own, I only regard as in my temporary care. I cannot speak too highly of the recent Grassland Management course my husband and I attended in Lairg recently, and I expect similar levels of satisfaction with the Introduction to Crofting course in Inverness later this year. I would have liked to do it a year ago, but my family and work commitments prevented that.  I would love it if it was possible to have regional/local meetings and I understand why these would be difficult to organise, but I would volunteer to do this for our area if you think locals would like the idea too and be prepared to participate in something dreamed up by a 'sooth-moother'.  I hesitate to put myself forward only because of my lack of experience, and forbear to as an unrepresentative member.
Title: Re: Crofting Federation?......not impressed!
Post by: fiestyredhead331 on August 16, 2014, 01:50:56 am
As you are aware Patrick, when we have an issue we deal with you directly as we did with regard to Landward/Euan MacIlwarith, who at no time mentioned that the SCP mark had already been covered by their team, or his wife who was sitting next to him who I believe is to do with the production of Landward?.... ???
I would still have thought that the possible inclusion of our small crofting business and as members of the SCF would have warranted a better or certainly more personal response than directing them to a website for information they require? Even if there had been previous coverage along those lines, surely an update on crofting or the 'success' of the SCP mark would not have been a bad thing?
I don't know the actual costs involved in having a pitch at the Black Isle Show but I do know that its hard to promote things when you're not visible to the public, surely the drive for new members outweighs or negates some of the costs involved? It was our visit to the stand last year that prompted our decision to join.