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16 October 2014
Scotland on Film

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Forum - rural - Click here to return to the Forum menu page.
Farming and beach
There are 2 messages in this section.

Trudy Penk from London. Posted 14 Nov 2005.
I was brought up in the country, in Nairn. I had to cycle three miles to school at the age of five, my brother used to go and leave me which upset me a lot. We had to pass a quarry where one of our village characters lived, we had three altogether: one by the harbour, one lived anywhere and sat on a bench at the bottom of the town, and one at the quarry.
We also did potato picking I can still smell the fresh earth and hay in the sheds where we had our tea. And the harvest when all the local people got together to "stook" the hay. We had cows, pigs, and hens. we used to get up early to go to the farm with our dad and help feed the calfs. I remember the smell of the fresh milk and the dairy. it was a lovely life best ever - full of happy memories.
John Cunningham from Largs. Posted 14 Mar 2006.
While I was still at school, I spent every holiday and many weekends on Grandfather Cunningham's farm in Fife, where I had a glorious time, running wild. At time I went off on my own to explore the surrounding countryside. In one of the fields on the outskirts of the farm (Nether Lochty) was a small wood or copse. In the middle of this was a rocky clearing where an abundance of wild raspberries grew. In season I had many a feed and the smell of fresh raspberries still brings back memories of those days.

Rabbits were prolific at Lochty and my uncles had ferrets, snares and a 12-bore shotgun. Rabbiting was a good method of getting a bit extra pocket money for them. They used to cycle to the local butcher at Pittenweem with the rabbits strung from the handlebars of their bikes. I remember vividly Lochty railway station and the Stationmaster (probably a Leading Porter, but he was always called the Stationmaster), Jock Pryde, and my grandparents were very friendly and we visited them a lot. His wife was an extremely good baker and we enjoyed some lovely meals with them. Lochty was the terminus of a single freight line, which branched off the East Fife line near Leven, and served the rich agricultural land surrounding Windygates, Montrave, Largoward and Lochty. I think the freight train arrived twice or thee times weekly and brought fertilisers, coal, paraffin and other necessities of life and took away the farm produce of grain, seed potatoes, and sugar beet, etc.

Latterly my grandfather farmed at East Pitcorthie, a few miles north of Anstruther, where I found many new and exciting things to do and, as I was a bit older, I helped, as I thought, with the farm work. The school summer holidays were in July and August and, at that time lasted for eight weeks. I thinned the neeps (swede turnips). Turnip seeds were sown in rows, by means of a machine for that purpose, drawn by a horse. As the seeds were so small it was impossible to sow them at their proper spacing for growing. (The same applied to sugar beet seed). So, in early summer, the seedlings were required to be 'thinned out', - that is, left about six inches apart. We used a hoe to push or pull the unwanted seedlings out. It was quite a skilled operation, as it was a dead loss if the seedling intended to be left was inadvertently pushed out. This was a slow process and very labour intensive, so all hands, sometimes, including the females! I actually became quite an expert!

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