Sandy Granville, the crofting star of the hit “This Farming Life” television series, has offered an unusual piece of advice for his fellow island crofters – go back to traditional working ways and bring back into use the vast acreages of heather-rich moorland.

The former London barrister moved to the croft of his grand-parents in the coastal village of Tolsta Chaolais 14 years ago and started direct sales of mutton reared on heather to customers in the south of England – a venture which has proved very successful.

Opening the West Side Agricultural Show in Barvas last Friday, he said that there was ample opportunity for other crofters to follow in his footsteps. But that, he stressed, would require them to embrace the working ways of their forefathers, something he was able to experience in the 1960s on visits to the island.

“I can remember the great old days when the moors from here to Stornoway were just full of sheep,” said Mr Granville. “With the right sheep it is the right place to have them. At the moment, that whole area is largely going to waste.

“What I’d like to see is that being a hotbed of mutton production. The meat of the moors – as everybody in this island knows – is the best meat in the world.”

He called on local restauranteurs to embrace offering local mutton on their menus – and not to hide it under the guise of lamb which, he said, happens all too often.

Mr Granville conceded that with the number of crofters being small compared to 50 years ago it would be difficult from a practical sense to make use of the open moor, but felt that one solution could lie in the formation of stock clubs, which already exist in other islands and on the west coast.