Monday 10 February 2014

Winter sports holiday in Kent

Good shooting

You don't need snow for a winter sports holiday; just some countryside, woods, congenial company, pheasants and a gun, or in my case, a stick as my eyesight has rendered me a liability shooting in in dense scrub. The last Friday in January was the end of the pheasant shooting season when the cock birds are shot before the start of the next season of hatching and rearing.

Good company
Its a bit odd for an old Crofter to travel 600 miles south for a days shooting and totally irrelevant you may think to a blog about crofting and life in Lochaber. But we all need a holiday and I did live and work in E. Kent for 20 years. It was a chance to meet up with old friends, have some good food, sup real Kent ale and have a look at the state of farming in the South.

The sheep are bigger (Romneys), soils are deep and fertile, summers are warm, farms are big. The usual problem is a lack of water but not this year.  Rivers are overflowing.

Its one extreme of the farm business spectrum, the profitable extreme. Many of the farms are arable, large and fertile, owner occupied without an overdraft and the farmers are technically competent. Contrast that with livestock farming in the west of Britain where farms are smaller, soils thinner, overdrafts common and there are more tenant farmers.

River Stour at Godmersham Park
Between the two extremes there is an infinite number of combinations of all of the factors I've listed that affect farm profits, all farm businesses are different. But it has to be easier in the South, "boys land".

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