THE next generation is an important factor on a family farm, and at Mid Brockloch, in South Ayrshire, it’s no different.

John Barclay is following in the footsteps of his father, and his three sons with wife Heather, are keen as mustard to follow in his, and their antics are being documented on this years’ series of This Farming Life.

12-year-old twins Cameron and Finlay and their eight-year-old brother Archie are always eager to lend a hand and learn the tricks of the trade, and the boys get hands on with the animals whenever they can.

Up until recently, John and Heather lambed over 600 ewes a year, but the family now run a flock of 140 pedigree Beltex and Suffolks, and fatten store lambs.

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This is a major system change, that took place in the aftermath of John’s fathers sudden passing, two years ago.

“We used to have a lot more pedigree, and we used to have 400 commercial ewes that we lambed and sold as units,” explained Heather.

“But we realised to make some changes after John’s dad died, to organise the workload and making things work for us as a family going forward.”

She continued: “We had 1000 stores the first year, but quickly realised it was a numbers game, so upped it to 2000 last year.

“Something had to change so that John and I could manage it, and have a work/life balance, and so far, so good.”

The workload is less intensive, but the new business involves a weekly gamble at the market.

The three boys are involved at every turn, when they’re not at school – they’ve just gone into S2 and P4.

“The boys couldn’t be keener, or more involved. We rely heavily on them at busy times like lambing, now. Especially the twins, now they are a bit older!” Heather told us.

“They’re in their glory, on the farm.”

When The SF spoke to Heather, Kelso Tup Sale prep was in full swing. The boys had been busying dressing 12 Suffolk lambs – a legacy that they are keen to carry on from their Grandpa Robert, who was a great supporter of the breed.

A pen of Beltex shearlings and five cross tups, had also been entered for the big day.

Heather said: “It’s lovely to see the boys pushing the Suffolks, and following in their Grandpa’s footsteps.”

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The family winter cattle for one returning customer and for six months of the year they house 150-160 on a B&B basis.

The crew also filmed the Barclay’s diversification project, their Sheep Shacks, holiday homes.

They have three luxury holiday pods, complete with hot tubs, and the business has been flying since they opened in June last year.

“Since Easter, we’ve been full every weekend until now, and October is nearly fully booked, it’s been amazing,” explained Heather.

“It was something we thought about during Covid, and I’m so glad we took the plunge, it’s been the best thing we’ve ever done.”

She continued: “It’s constant work, but we have minimum two night stays, so there’s always a day to change things over, and we manage to fit it in around farm jobs.”

The family were filmed from October to July, at everything from store sales, to shows to at home on the farm, to Livescot.

“We thoroughly enjoyed it,” concluded Heather.

“It never felt like a chore. It’s on at a good time of year when folk might actually get the chance to watch some telly, so hopefully they enjoy watching it as much as we enjoyed filming it!”