William Noss Clyne (Noss) age 94, died peacefully on Thursday July 19, 2018 in Wick, Caithness. Noss was the eldest of three children born to the late George and Elizabeth Clyne at Noss Farm, Wick.

He is survived by his only sister Euphemia (Phema)(91) and sadly his brother Alister (93) (Field of Noss Farm) died only weeks before him.

The brothers lived as neighbouring farmers since their father died in 1958. The Clyne family were initially butchers, moved into farming, renting five farms at one time in Caithness and have lived on and farmed the Noss peninsula since 1892. George Clyne bought Noss Farm in 1924. Noss’ death marks the end of an era of the Clynes at Noss. Noss gave his life to farming and was proud of his heritage.

In his youth Noss was a champion shot at clay pigeon shooting and was proud he beat many senior ghillies across the north of Scotland estates. From a young age, Noss shouldered the responsibility of running the 700 acre farm. He took his responsibilities towards the farm and his workers very seriously. Several families lived on the farm with up to seventeen men and women employed at one time in the early years.

Former farm workers speak of Noss’ fairness and kindness and reflect on good memories and hard work and a loyalty for a boss they respected. Noss witnessed the great changes in farming from labour intensive manual work with Clydesdale-drawn ploughs and harvesters to large scale machinery.

Noss realised with progress comes new opportunities and he was not shy of developing the farm to meet the changing market demands. He introduced new breeds of livestock, started growing barley intensively for the German beer industry and built a grain dryer. He was not a man who stood still.

Noss married Elizabeth (Beth) Cochrane (physiotherapist) in Glasgow Cathedral on February 8, 1951. Long distance romance blossomed after their blind date, arranged by a friend the year before. Sadly Beth died of MS in 1981. Throughout her illness Noss was at her side. Noss and Beth had four daughters, all still living.

Noss Clyne is a name synonymous with North Country Cheviot sheep. Under the care of shepherd Jimmy Gunn, the pedigree flock won innumerable awards over the years at breed shows and at national shows. In 1977 at the Royal Highland Show the long-term partnership between the Noss flock and HM The Queen Mother’s Longoe flock led to the breed championship for their jointly owned tup.

A longstanding relationship with Martin Leslie at Longoe Estate developed and the resulting breed awards acknowledges the value of this sharing of knowledge, as the Longoe flock (est. 1960) grew to achieve sustainable breed success.

Noss Clyne also maintained an impressive herd of pedigree Aberdeen Angus cattle (started by his father) winning top breed awards and high prices at the Perth Bull sales each year in February. Noss was a tall, charismatic, good looking man who held a strong presence in the auction mart ring, at times lifting the tense atmosphere with his subtle wit. He had a good sense of humour and was well liked and respected by his contemporaries in the farming community nationally having many friends in farming all over the UK.

Simmental cattle were introduced to Noss Farm late in Noss ’career and again he was successful with this breed.

Over the years Noss Clyne has flown the Caithness flag on numerous organisations – he was a past president of the Caithness branch of the National Farmers Union, and spent nine years on the union’s influential general purposes committee, he was a director of the NFU Mutual and of the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society, president of the Caithness County Show in 1956 and also a founder member in the 1960s of the Caithness Livestock Breeders Association.

Outside of farming Noss was dedicated to supporting the RNLI and was chairman of the board for several years, being honoured with a gold badge for his services. The highlight of his term of office was the official launch of a new self-righting lifeboat for Wick by Princess Alexandra. The whole town of Wick turned out for the occasion as the harbour basin and the the cliff overlooking it were packed with townspeople. Noss believed in ’Raise awareness to raise money’. He was good at motivating and encouraging a committee and he got results.

Noss’ commitment to his community was shown in many more ways. He was a Justice of the Peace and also served on the county Education and Licensing committees.

In his retirement Noss often spoke of the farm during the war years. His adolescent years were spent surrounded by the British army and RAF at home as Noss Farm became an army base during WW2 and he, like many farmers contributed to the war effort by providing food for the nation. Noss would talk about his memories of building the airbase, the anti-aircraft guns positioned behind Noss House, the secret radio work of the army and the RAF, the checkpoints leading to the peninsula he had to pass and also working in the family butcher shop in Bank Row during times of rationing. He remained fascinated with war literature into his later years. Noss retired in 1989 but would not leave the Noss peninsula and built a small house there with a field attached…for just a few sheep and a highland cow or two!

Noss loved to travel to discover farming around the world and succeeded in visiting South Africa, Germany, Austria, New Zealand, Texas, Canada, France, Belgium, Netherlands before his health deteriorated. The memories of these trips were of great comfort to him as his health started to fail. He had at least 1000 photographs of cattle, sheep and tractors from around the world.

The atmosphere at his funeral on July 31 was very touching, many having travelled great distances. St Fergus Church was full of respect and sadness, his coffin draped in the RNLI flag. There was a feeling that all present would have liked to shake Noss’ hand just one more time.

He was a farmer and a gentleman.

Patricia Clyne-Kelly