LYNBRECK CROFT has been presented with the NEWBIE award for Scotland's New Entrant Farm Business of the Year.

The NEWBIE awards are presented as part of EU-funded research aiming to help new farmers, crofters and small-holders network and develop successful businesses, and was judged by National Farmers Union representatives from England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

Lynbreck, a 150-acre mixed habitat croft enterprise located in the Cairngorms National Park, was selected as a shining example of a business that encouraged biodiversity within its long-term plan to make an income from food production. Its managers, Lynn Cassells and Sandra Baer, received a cash prize towards the cost of training, as well as an award plaque, farm video, and an opportunity to participate in a European new entrant conference with other award winners.

"When I got the call that we had won, I burst into tears - this means so much to us," said Ms Cassells. “We are really delighted to have been given the Newbie award. We have worked so hard over the last few years to build the foundations of our new croft business which we see as being rooted in nature and our community.”

NEWBIE project coordinator and Hutton researcher Dr Adam Calo, said: “I see Lynbreck as an example of how to leverage the existing and potential biodiversity, not just for the long-term benefits, but as legitimate income generation during the initial phases of their agricultural business.

Presenting the award, NFUS president Andrew McCornick put it more plainly as he described Lynbreck's approach to crofting: "They didn't think outside of the box – they just didn't believe that there was a box there."