The Accidental Smallholder Forum

Community => Coffee Lounge => Topic started by: macgro7 on April 12, 2019, 12:16:48 pm

Title: Living on Orkney
Post by: macgro7 on April 12, 2019, 12:16:48 pm
Hello
I saw some beautiful properties for sale on Orkney. It's sooooo much cheaper than around London and even Midlands where were are now.
You can get a 40 acres farm with a house for £300k. Our 2 bedroom house with 1/2 acre in the city of Leicester is worth more than that atm.
Work is not a problem nowadays - we have an online business - I know parcels are significantly more expensive from and to Orkney and Highlands but we can have a warehouse etc on the mainland.

My question now is what can you grow on Orkney? I know there's no frost but there isn't real summer either and it is quite short.
Can you grow enough trees to have enough for firewood? I could plant even like 20 acres of woodland but only certain trees would grow there - is that right?
Title: Re: Living on Orkney
Post by: Anke on April 12, 2019, 12:46:48 pm
Have you looked at photos from Orkney - there are no trees!
Title: Re: Living on Orkney
Post by: macgro7 on April 12, 2019, 01:15:47 pm
 I know lol
That's why I'm asking.
There are no trees not because they wouldn't grow but because they 've become extinct lol
They would probably grow if there wasn't so many sheep and cows. There are trees on Orkney and even ancient woodlands but not a lot. People grow trees in their gardens. Trees grow way further north than that so it shouldn't stop them.
Title: Re: Living on Orkney
Post by: Buttermilk on April 12, 2019, 01:54:44 pm
Wind is the biggest problem so using poly tunnels to protect the crops that are tender is helpful.  The wind is also the biggest hurdle in getting trees to a decent size.
Title: Re: Living on Orkney
Post by: macgro7 on April 12, 2019, 03:01:15 pm
Do they have hedgrerows up there?
Title: Re: Living on Orkney
Post by: Steph Hen on April 12, 2019, 03:53:55 pm
I spent a few days there a few years ago. Efforts were made to hedge around gardens and steadings, but don’t remember seeing any around fields. There were quite a lot of fuchsia hedges in flower which surprised me, and Rosa rugosa. Don’t remember seeing much thorns, but perhaps I’d have noticed them more in spring. There are efforts to plant trees going on, perhaps you could contact someone... I think I saw an ad for an Orkney permaculture group on Facebook the other day... ...here it is,
https://m.facebook.com/orkneypermaculturenetwork/
Maybe they could advise you?
Title: Re: Living on Orkney
Post by: CarolineJ on April 12, 2019, 06:10:31 pm
Wind is the big problem in getting trees going.  I'm on the north coast of the mainland and have been trying to get a hedge around my garden going for about eight years now.  Even with windbreak netting, it's still under 3ft tall.  50-60mph is normal for winter, usually we'll go to 80+ once or twice a year and every three years or so we'll top 100mph.  Think the strongest we've had since we moved here was over 110mph, which is flipping scary when it's 2am and you're lying in bed feeling your house shaking in the gusts and listening to your roof tiles being peeled off.
Title: Re: Living on Orkney
Post by: macgro7 on April 12, 2019, 07:12:52 pm
Wow.
We had a pretty scary storm over here 2 years ago. It broke lots of my fence panels, massive trees were broken in the middle of the road. But I'm pretty sure that wind was "only" around 60-70 miles per hour.

How is living on Orkney apart from that?
Any nice points?  :innocent:
Title: Re: Living on Orkney
Post by: Buttermilk on April 12, 2019, 08:28:18 pm
Lots of daylight in the summer, low crime rates friendly people, two distilleries.  Lots to like.
Title: Re: Living on Orkney
Post by: Anke on April 12, 2019, 09:15:21 pm
Orkney has got quite good soil - it is cattle country as opposed to sheep. If you can get wind protection you can probably grow quite a few things up there, and there are always Keder greenhouses or Polycrubs that you can rig up with grow lights.

But you are really quite far (6hours plus) away from Edinburgh/Glasgow... the A9 is a very slow road.

Also if you have children education past primary can mean boarding away, and you may not want that.
Title: Re: Living on Orkney
Post by: Mad Goatwoman of Madeley on April 13, 2019, 12:47:08 am
Three things really stand out about Orkney from my memories of many years ago: the friendliness of the people and the trees which were all short and leaning over at a great angle. I was told that we would only see bigger trees in the town where the buildings protected them rather than further south where trees are often grown to protect the buildings. The third thing is how quickly washing dries when it’s hung out on the line. I did a mound of washing using the twin tub that was in the cottage we rented and hung it out on the three lines on the drying green. By the time I’d hung the last few bits out, the first ones were dry.
Title: Re: Living on Orkney
Post by: Buttermilk on April 13, 2019, 06:52:46 am
On the school front every child gets funded music and an instrument right up to leaving secondary school as it is "cultural".  There are secondary schools on Orkney but it is a good bus ride away if you live in the further villages.  When my son got married four children were busking in Stromness and he asked them if they had ever thought of playing together, they had not but did for the wedding reception and were talking of forming a group after the event.

The place is beautiful and old.  My sister says that Orkney is a place of farmers who fish, whilst Shetland is a place of fishermen who farm.  The mart at Kirkwall is a big hub for the area and like most marts does good food.
Title: Re: Living on Orkney
Post by: Steph Hen on April 13, 2019, 08:28:02 am
I was stuck on oransay once because the wind got over 110 so ferry couldn’t get near. It didn’t go too well, the tractor back window got smashed out, opening and closing gates was hard and knocked me down and the land rover door whipped right round because someone (not me!) opened it and wind snatched it.  The livestock didn’t seem to mind, no babies though, this was October.

I loved Orkney and definitely want to go back but wouldn’t want to live there as I dislike wind and how it makes things difficult. I was meant to be camping but farmer said there was some weather coming in so got me to shift my tent inside his shed instead. (He also got me to muck another shed out first before realising it wouldn’t be so suitable as his other empty one for my tent and dog). I’d like to see more of the history this time round.