Skimming the cream

THERE IS widespread support for the brave plan by Kintrye farmers to take their future into their own hands, with the purchase and running of their 'own' creamery.

Certainly, the crowd-funding success has been testament to that, but before everyone gets carried away, there must be a sustainable future for the creamery and what it produces. Kintyre is 'built' to produce grass – and early, high quality green stuff at that – so it is God-given to produce milk.

Its future success, though, depends on being different. That means it must capitalise on its location and name by producing a truly unique cheese. Properly marketed, this will be the foundation of what should be a successful business.

Sir Paul McCartney certainly found the name to be so!

Balance the key

IF SEA eagles are as important to the Scottish countryside as their supporters say they are, then it is high time a system was in place to compensate for the losses they incur.

The meeting last weekend to discuss the topic – with all the major stakeholders present – seemed to have been constructive ... but only to a point. There has to be an end game for those who have to endure the heavy predation these birds exact on their sheep stocks, but without proper compensation, then that end game might include putting sheep off the hill.

This country is famous for its biodiversity and for centuries, the sheep that graze its hills have been part of producing that rich tapestry. They and the farmers that look after them, need protecting just as much as the birds do.

Balance is the key here, but it will take a brave move by the final custodians of any 'control' scheme – SNH – to finally accept that in many areas, there is a problem. And it is a problem that they must face up to with a robust, but sensible outcome for the birds, sheep and farmers.