‘Hipster crofter’ sends out the wrong message

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A Ness crofter has hit out at a potential new trend of crofters who he says would be getting into the industry for all the wrong reasons.

A recent article in a national magazine discussed the growing trend of ‘hipster crofters’ a term they have given to what they say best describe the ‘twenty-somethings beginning to take up crofting, the historic small-scale farming method peculiar to the Scottish Highlands.’

Ness crofter Donald Macsween was left shaking his head at an article he feels could entice people not suited to crofting into taking on tenancies of crofts – at the expense of others.

Macsween said: “The article raises the cost of buying the tenancy of a croft and the airy-fairy way it talks about things can encourage people from cities to consider taking on a croft to try and ‘live the good life’.

“Fair enough if those who take on a croft do work it properly then fantastic.

“For many, me included, it’s a way of life. I’m actually offended to see it trivialised in this manner.

“All it does is make crofting less attainable for those young people already living in crofting communities.”

The piece, which featured online at the New Statesmen website, focuses on the affordability of securing a croft tenancy which it describes as a cheaper alternative to high rent and ‘unstable working conditions’ the article profiles new crofters but Macsween feels it sends out the wrong message.

“Crofting is in a relatively sensitive position just now,” explained Macsween.

“This year has been particularly difficult conditions to be a crofter with the weather, poorer lamb prices and reform.

“Then seeing articles or trends like this saying hipster crofters is something I find very belittling and conjures up this stereotypical romantic image of a crofter which people can have of the rural way of life. Which is not reflective at all in reality. While those with a genuine interest in crofting and practical knowledge are pushed out because they will never afford it.”

Pictured is Ness crofter Donald Macsween.