The Scottish Smallholder Festival is coming back as a live event.

After last year’s move to digital, it will be held as a real event on October 23, at Forfar Mart and the organisers, Smallholding Scotland, are looking forward to welcoming everyone to the event.

Entry to the event is free, but will be ticketed and over 18s attending must have a valid vaccine passport in addition to a ticket, which can be acquired via the festival’s website, where full details are available.

The theme this year is 'Sustainability on the smallholding', supported by a programme of presentations and discussion on topics as varied as electric equipment, upcycling, tree planting and dung beetles and with a panel discussion on the future of small abattoirs.

The Forfar event will include five competitions – for sheep, goats, pigs, poultry and waterfowl and garden, craft and food, plus cattle and equine online shows, with the winners announced on the day. There’s still time to enter and schedules and entry forms are available on the website though the closing date for all competitions is Friday, October 8.

Alan Jamieson, Sauchenhall Farm, is stewarding the pigs again this year and has introduced both showing classes and a showcase, for those too shy yet to get in the ring. Alan, assisted by judge, Dawn Stevens and secretary, Karen McKay, will be running a workshop for those keen to show, but not quite sure how to go about it.

The sheep and goats shows are aimed at the 'Stars of the Future', with special classes for 2021-born lambs and kids as well as some special classes, including young handlers.

“We’re very keen to attract a good entry – we have classes for raw fleece that we hope will attract a range of entries, highlighting the beauty, range and versatility of this sustainable but sadly underrated material,” said Rosemary Champion, one of the organisers.

The Strathmore Hall will be hosting retail opportunities featuring the best of local food, drink and smallholder gear. Chair of the organising group, Martin Beard, said: “There’s no denying it’s been a challenge this year, mainly because the position regarding Covid regulations has been pretty fluid. But we’re almost there and we’re all looking forward to the event very much."

The event is supported by the Scottish Government and sponsored by Galbraiths.