Commercial property: Scottish farms market cultivates interest

The Scottish farmland market isn't a single entity. At the more expensive end are vast tracts of agricultural land which change hands between landowners or corporations in multi-million pound deals when they come on the market.
Druimghigha farm on the Isle of MullDruimghigha farm on the Isle of Mull
Druimghigha farm on the Isle of Mull

If a farmhouse is included, it tends to be sold in a separate lot from the acreage.

Bob Cherry, rural consultant at Galbraith, says: “Currently tracts of farmland on this scale are attracting English buyers, for whom Scottish land offers an inexpensive way to expand their holdings south of the border.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Agricultural land, despite being less expensive in Scotland, is seen as a good investment. Demand tends to outstrip supply so keeps prices steady.”

At the other end of the scale are farmhouses with a few acres. No longer economic as traditional farms, these properties tend to be sold as residential homes, offering the potential for equestrian facilities or hobby farming to buyers whose income comes from elsewhere.

In between, there are some mid-sized Scottish farms which may have 200 acres or so, but to those hoping to make a living from agriculture, they can present a challenge.

According to government figures, 62 per cent of UK farmers are having to diversify alongside running a traditional working farm. Diversification – turning to other forms of income outside the sphere of traditional farming practices – has become increasingly commonplace.

Raising heritage breed pigs, or more exotic livestock such as cashmere goats, alpacas, llamas and ostriches offer a more lucrative return than traditional animals.

While the low market prices of milk or wool are unlikely to bring in a profit, adding value by churning your own ice cream or producing woollen items can make keeping cows and sheep more cost effective.

Tourism is another way to bring home the bacon.

Farm holidays range from cottages or camping barns, a B&B or a boutique hotel.

Some of these ventures are so successful that they have overtaken the farming income.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Selling a lifestyle is the key, and some enterprising farming families have been successful in running specialised holidays.

Whether it is teaching visitors how to make cheese, running pickling and preserving workshops, smoking fish or working with sheepdogs, townies are prepared to pay for the experience of a farm life.

Druimghigha on the Isle of Mull is a typical island hill farm, with just under 300 acres of land, which offers a wealth of potential for running a diverse rural business.

The farm is centred around the farmhouse, and adjacent to the farmhouse there is the self-catering cottage and agricultural buildings.

The land is divided into 145 acres of permanent pasture and rough grazing and 148 acres of woodland.

It is on elevated ground and has spectacular views of the countryside and across the sea to Rum, Eigg and Muck.

The farmland is currently let on a seasonal basis to a farmer, which is an added income stream.

Druimghigha Farm is being marketed through Bell Ingram and is for sale as a whole for offers over £575,000. Mark Mitchell, of Bell Ingram in Perth, says:“The capability for holiday lets on the bothy, the spacious farmhouse and land and outbuildings makes this property excellent value for money.”