Saturday, January 18, 2020
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Five Staffin crofters may not hit the heights of Hollywood but this week they could find themselves with a little bit of celebrity status.

For the locals are set to "star" in the film premiere “Grazing on the Edge” when it is screened on Thursday (November 10) at the Aros in Portree.

The film features local crofters who have sheep on the Corries and Staffin General grazings, which cover two large swathes of hill ground lying below the Trotternish Ridge and are close to the Storr and Hill of the Red Fox.

The contribution Staffin crofters make to managing land of “high nature value” will be the focus of the 35-minute film which includes appearances by Ronald Angus MacDonald, Dol Alec Gillies, Iain MacLeod (Marrishadder), Donald MacLeod (Culnacnoc) and Donald MacDonald (Clachan).

It was filmed in 2015 with interviews and footage shot on the hill, while the crofters also employed Go-Pros to record themselves out with their dogs going about their work and gathering sheep.

Janette Sutherland, who is the Corries and Staffin General clerk and also works for Scotland’s Rural College in Portree, said the new film illustrated the challenges local crofters faced rearing sheep on hill grazings. “I believe the film showcases the experience and knowledge of those working on the ground and demonstrates their concern about its management and issues they face,” she said.

Made in collaboration with researchers from the James Hutton Institute and the Universities Innovation fund, via the Scottish Funding Council, the film is part of a research project which will outline how upland land use is key for for community, agricultural and environmental benefits.

Janette added: “The JHi team filmed interviews with stakeholders with a wide range of experience of the issues. There was a strong contribution from a local group of the Scottish Association of Young Farmers. Earlier this year that evidence was used to stimulate workshop discussions which in turn helped in the editing of the final cut which is now ready for its public premiere.”

Trotternish Gaelic singer Anne Martin will start the premiere, which is free to attend, at 7.30pm with a short performance.

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