Film-maker turns her lens on the future of crofting in the Highlands

A new film focusing on young crofters and the future of crofting goes live online today (Thursday).

Filmed during the young crofters’ gathering in Assynt earlier this year, ‘Crofting’s New Voices’ captures the hopes and fears of the generation as well as insights from the older generation of crofters and was produced and directed by filmmaker and crofter Robin Haig of Dornie.

Robin Haig_Photo by Matthew Thomas

“I see crofting as a fundamental part of Scotland’s future”, said film-maker Robin Haig

She said: “The purpose of the film is to give young crofters a voice, to present this voice to policy-makers, and to spread the word and agitate for a new movement in crofting. The gathering asked young crofters and aspiring crofters what they thought they and crofting needed to survive and thrive in the future. Some strong themes emerged concerning access to land, access to jobs – which included better communications – and access to meaningful support for young crofters.

“Many of the people who met during the gathering felt there needed to be a collective voice for young crofters and that we needed to work together and lobby for change. From the gathering a young crofters’ branch of the Scottish Crofting Federation was established and I am proud to say that I am one of the founding members of this new group.”

She added: “I lived abroad for six years and on returning at the end of 2013 felt instinctively that there was a change in crofting, something felt different. It felt like more people wanted to become involved and this made sense to me as I see crofting as a fundamental part of Scotland’s future, particularly in terms of sustainable and local food production.”

The film could attract a worldwide audience, as Robin has been invited to show it at an Elders Voice Summit in Canada and at a European workshop of the Hungry for Rights project in Italy of which SCF is partner.

James Shewan, chair of the Scottish Crofting Federation Young Crofters’ group, commented: “As chair of the Young Crofters’ group, and an aspiring crofter, I hope the film will inspire a new generation of crofters to carry on the tradition.

Still from film_James Shewan_144dpi

Young Crofters’ chairman James Shewan said: “I hope it will reach out to the older community of crofters. We need their guidance and support.”

“More importantly, I hope it will reach out to the older community of crofters. We need their guidance and support. For me, they are the film’s main audience. The film speaks mostly to them. It tells them that we are here, we are young, and we are inspired. And that they can trust us and help us pave the way forward, beyond the crossroads where crofting now stands.”

‘Crofting’s New Voices’ was commissioned by the Scottish Crofting Federation and funded by the Crofting Commission. To view or download the film, see vimeo.com/130894951