Scotland's countryside magazine. Arlene Stuart explores the issue of connectivity. Dougie Vipond finds out how the potato industry will cope outside the European Union.
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If you want to keep in touch with what's happening
in the Scottish countryside, Landward will keep you connected.
Hello, and a very warm welcome to Landward.
In a moment, we're going to be launching
a campaign to get Scotland connected.
But first, here's what else is coming up on the programme.
MasterChef champion Gary Maclean's bringing home the bacon in Ayrshire.
God gave me two hands and he gave you two hands,
I would appreciate if you could do this side for me as well, OK?
Of course I can, yeah.
It's the last in our series celebrating
Scotland's native dog breeds.
You have to groom them, look after them, obviously.
Which blocks up your hoover!
And Arlene's on the road, keeping Scotland connected.
Sometimes, to drive 10 miles east
you have to begin by driving 10 miles west just to fill up.
But first, I am heading down the Angus coast to Forfar,
where some things still happen the old way.
It's a long time since I've had my morning pint of milk
delivered in a glass bottle.
But there is at least one place in the country where it still happens.
It's 7am, and I'm off to meet a man
who started his shift five hours ago.
I feel like a bit of a skiver.
-Hamish, how are you doing?
-Not bad, Dougie, how are you?
-Nice to see you.
-Look at that. Real milk bottles.
-Real milk bottles.
-I've not seen these for years.
-Yep, with cream on the top.
-Beautiful. Can I give you a hand now?
Hamish Miller is the fourth generation of his family
to work in the dairy industry.
He bottles milk, delivers it and produces his speciality -
a rich, creamy butter - from his dairy in Forfar.
How we doing? There's your paper, sir. And your milk.
But it's not so easy these days.
And making a living involves hard work and long hours.
You were up at 2am this morning, is that the way your day normally starts?
My day starts at 2am, every morning.
A normal week to me is between 80-90 hours.
Blimey, blimey, blimey - that's a lot, man. That's ridiculous.
-You know, you never...
-And you're only 25!
-Ha-ha, I wish!
So, does your milk come from a local farm?
Yes, the milk actually comes from Baldoukie,
-which is about a mile and a half that way.
It's about five miles, actually, from the dairy.
So, very local.
Our deliveries are within a five-mile radius as well,
so food miles is a big issue with us.
-Yeah, so they're pretty small.
Back at the dairy, we're just in time for Hamish's own milk delivery.
It's 8:15, the tanker's just arrived,
I'd better get out the way.
North Street dairy has seen many changes since its humble beginnings
in 1918 as a croft with only one cow.
But the local independent dairy, once common across Scotland,
hasn't been able to stand up to threats posed by globalisation
and changing shopping habits.
Hamish's father, Norman,
has seen many of his competitors fall by the wayside.
There was nine of us.
All had different milk rounds.
-Now it's amazing how time just seems to vanish.
And now how many are there?
Hamish may be the last dairy man standing in Forfar,
but making the business pay is still tough.
Especially when you like to keep things traditional.
We do, probably about 600-700 bottles a day in glass.
-So why do you still use glass?
..it's returnable, everything's recyclable.
Milk actually tastes a lot better in glass than it does in plastic.
I agree with you.
Phew, that's quite hard going.
'Hamish can't match the supermarket's low price on milk.'
-Oh, look at that! And that's pure cream?
'But there is value to be had in the by-product of skimmed and
'semi-skimmed milk production.'
We've had to diversify into other things rather than just purely milk.
-It's the likes of your cream, which we use for our butter.
-That's liquid gold, that's the profit.
Because, I guess, selling milk, for you, the one thing I'm sure
-you can't compete with is price, when it comes to milk?
And flavour is second to none.
You hope your customer base is a loyal base.
Hopefully it stays like that.
And I can see why his customers are prepared to pay a premium
when Hamish gives me a crash course in old-fashioned butter patting.
Looks lovely. Now, grab yourself a pair of patters.
-You want them ones?
-Absolutely, I've never done this before, so...
-Well, we'd better swap.
-Have a matching pair.
-A matching pair.
Really get a shape.
Give it a slap.
-That's very satisfying.
-Don't be frightened to squeeze it.
Yours is a very different shape from mine, it would appear.
I mean, do you see a viable future
-with carrying on the way that you're going?
I honestly, the way the market's going now,
-I can't see my kids coming into it.
-Nobody would want to work the kind of hours that I put in.
Certainly, the younger generation don't anyway, that's for sure.
-You were up at two this morning, it's now 12:20.
-What does the rest of your day look like?
I will call it a day about five o'clock tonight.
My goodness me.
-I'll keep patting, shall I?
-Yes, you do that.
Not so long ago, there were hundreds of small, independent dairies
across Scotland, using milk from farms just down the road.
This business is one of the last, run, literally,
round-the-clock by one hard-working family.
Can't wait to taste this.
Landward is all about the joys of living and working
in the Scottish countryside.
But those of us who live in the back of beyond always face
the risk of being cut off from the essentials of modern life.
Arlene's on the road, finding out how we can stay connected.
For many of us, our lives revolve around being online.
But that's not always easy.
DIAL-UP MODEM CONNECTING
Like, dial-up, used to be,
it made a lot of funny noises and stuff like that.
It was buffering all the time.
Willie Harper was lambing when we visited
his Renfrewshire farm in late March.
He remembers what life was like in the old days of modems and dial-up.
Not that long ago.
Pages were taking long to come up on screen.
And even simple farm things, going to register calves and things
like that, was taking a lot longer than it does at the moment.
The network around Willie's farm near Bridge of Weir
has been getting an upgrade.
And it's making a huge difference to farmers in the area.
I touch a button now, instantly, everything's...
We just can flick through all the websites
that we need to go on as farmers.
And with two teenage daughters in the house as well,
it means they can watch what they want to watch,
and I can still get on with the farm business online.
That's great news for Willie, and his daughters.
But 15% of Scotland's homes and businesses still don't have
a decent internet connection.
Everything is online now.
A lot of the time, there's no paper equivalent do it.
It's not just in the remote areas,
even farmers round about central Scotland,
if they're just a wee bit too far away from the exchange,
their speeds are still horrible and terrible.
The Government say 95% of us should have fast broadband
by the end of March 2018.
But being connected is about much more than the internet.
It's about the services we need to run our lives.
And the public and private transport networks that allow us
to get from A to B.
So now, and in the next few programmes,
Landward is on a mission to find some of the cleverest ideas
that are helping keep Scotland connected.
And we want to hear your stories about mobile phone reception,
broadband, transport and delivery services.
And we want to know the least-connected place in Scotland.
Go to the Landward Facebook page.
Or, if you can't get online, send us a postcard.
This week, I'm heading for the Trossachs,
to find out how one rural community has come together to preserve
the transport link they almost lost.
If you live in the countryside, you'll know that worrying feeling
of watching the petrol gauge edge into the red.
And it can be a really, really long way to the nearest petrol station.
Sometimes, to drive 10 miles east,
you have to begin by driving 10 miles west just to fill up.
In the past 10 years,
rural Scotland has lost hundreds of its petrol stations.
A loss that has become a serious problem.
In 2011, the petrol station here in Aberfoyle
was threatened with closure.
For locals like Fiona McEwan, it would have been a devastating blow.
People were having to travel, when the station was shut,
up to 50 miles on a round-trip to get fuel. So it's really important.
Because we're a tourist village,
a lot of visitors come to the National Park.
It's tremendously important that we keep the station running
for the people that come to visit the area.
The locals got together, and with lottery funding and help from the
Scottish Government, the residents of Aberfoyle and several surrounding
villages brought the petrol station into community ownership.
I know that you were given lottery funding, but it was really essential
that the community rally round and raise a certain amount of money.
How important has their support been?
There's six villages in and around Aberfoyle, all of whom joined in.
And several hundred people indicated support.
And also, more than 100 of them made a contribution financially.
So we manage to keep going.
Nobody in their right mind is going to buy
a petrol station in the countryside, particularly one that needs
lots of repairs and maintenance and upgrades. So it's an ongoing...
Struggle's a bit strong,
but it's an ongoing task to keep the place working well.
Now, I've got diesel?
Because I've done that quite recently,
at this very petrol station!
This is now the largest community-run petrol station in Scotland.
And for tourists and locals alike, it's vital.
Even if the fuel does cost a wee bit more.
Well, if the petrol station hadn't been here,
we'd have been stuck, I think.
We were running low on fuel, and we've been going for several hours.
It's fantastic that the community decided to take it over.
The nearest alternative is about 10 miles away.
I absolutely don't mind paying for petrol a wee bit more to
have it here. Because we wouldn't be able to get 10 miles without petrol.
Without the petrol station, we'd be kind of stuck.
The ultimate aim is to make the petrol station a services hub
for Aberfoyle, keeping jobs and money in the area.
For Fiona, it's a model other rural communities could follow.
You really have to get everybody involved in this.
The local community, of course,
it's absolutely essential that they really want it to happen.
Funders are generally great.
The Lottery Fund, the Rural Petrol Grant Scheme - all of these
things have to come together to make it happen.
And it's really good when it does.
And next time, I'll be in Fife, where public transport is the issue.
And now, we're putting another native Scottish breed of dog
in the spotlight.
This week, it's the collie.
And a bearded one to boot.
Robert Ballantyne has looked after bearded,
or Highland, collies for more than 30 years.
And he's brought one along to show us.
Her pedigree name is Balbridge Nancy's Kiss.
And we call her Nancy.
They're used for herding and working sheep in the Scottish Highlands.
And they're also known as the Highland collie.
Or, as they say, Heelan Co'lee.
But what's with all the hair?
It's actually a dual coat.
They have an undercoat which actually helps them during
the heat, keeps them cool.
And during the cold, keeps them warm.
You have to groom them and look after them, obviously.
Which blocks up your hoover!
Working beardies have a slightly shorter coat,
because a lot of the coat disappears in the bushes.
Temperament is excellent.
Children, people, even dogs - they love to play with dogs,
but they love humans.
They can be playful.
They can enjoy your company, just relax beside you.
When it's bedtime, they're in the bed before you,
and you can't get into bed!
Oh, they get up to mischief.
They can steal things.
But the best thing is, whatever they do, their eyes give them away.
Aye. If you can see them, that is.
Now, what does the future of farming look like
when we leave the European Union?
These are uncertain times in our history.
And that uncertainty is perhaps felt most in the agriculture industry.
Europe currently provides £530 million of subsidies per year
to Scottish farmers.
And that equates to a staggering 71% of total income from farming.
The UK Government has pledged to honour those subsidies until 2020.
But what happens after then?
Last time, we looked at how the beef sector might change in the future.
This week, we're looking at the arable sector.
Scotland produces around 12% of UK cereals.
Barley is the biggest cereal, with Scotland producing nearly a third
of the UK's crop for the Scotch Whisky industry and animal feed.
But we're even bigger players when it comes to potatoes.
Scotland produces a million tonnes of tatties every year,
and the value of that is £176 million.
-How are you?
-Very good, how are you?
Our guide through the complexities of modern farming -
how it's supported and what the threats and opportunities may
mean in the future - is Johnny Hall, director of policy at NFU Scotland.
Johnny, your mantra has been that farmers perhaps have to stop
farming for subsidies, but farm for the market.
How well set up is the arable sector for that?
The arable sector, particularly the veg-producing sector,
is pretty well set up, I think.
You know, for a lot of years, the vegetables sector, the potato
growers of Scotland, have been what we call the unsupported sector.
Therefore, their focus has been on the market.
That sector's also made pretty big investments and really thought
long and hard about its costs and how it sells its products.
We have the comfort, if you like, currently, of the single market,
given to us by Europe.
We don't know what will happen beyond the single market,
We talk about new free trade agreements,
but we don't know how they will shape up.
Will they be beneficial to us in creating new export opportunities,
or will it be a case of the UK and Scotland sucking in more and more
cheap imports, which can undercut our producers?
Johnny has brought me to Samuelston South Mains,
near Pencaitland, in East Lothian.
-Hi, James, how are you doing?
-Not so bad, how are you?
This is where James Logan grows cereals and potatoes.
Over the course of a year,
his farm will produce 15,000 tonnes of tatties.
You've obviously done lots of investment here on the farm.
How worried are you about Brexit in terms of planning for the future?
Yeah, I mean, agriculture's huge investment in long-term gain
the whole time.
And the potato sector, it's got more and more intensive.
We've invested more and more in infrastructure,
in sheds and buildings and processing plants.
There's people up and down the whole country investing huge
amounts of money into agriculture.
It's just that uncertainty that worries us.
What do you need then,
both Government and the public to do to support you?
We need market security, is number one, I think.
Scottish agriculture is fantastic.
We are very efficient, we produce huge volumes of produce,
but we have small consumers.
I mean, there's only 5.5 million, and we export 80% of our produce.
The majority goes south into England and across to Europe.
So, I think as long as we get a fair deal for Brexit,
as long as there's not unfair tariffs involved,
I'm sure farmers up and down Scotland will take on the challenge.
But as long as that deal is fair and the marketplace is fair.
So, for tattie farmers, the devil will be in the detail.
Access to markets will be key
to give farmers the confidence to invest.
So, Johnny, what do you think the opportunities are
that are going to come with Brexit?
Well, the opportunity, in my view, is to repackage
the support settlement for the whole of Scottish agriculture.
That support will remain vital, but it's how we use it.
It's not necessarily the amounts of money that are
coming into Scottish agriculture, but how we spend it.
And if we spend it in new and innovative ways,
and we encourage a degree of risk taking,
looking at market opportunities, selling what we do, getting
a better margin in return from the supply chain in every sector of
Scottish agriculture, then I think that's going to be money well spent.
But that's going to take a new mind-set, if you like,
across a lot of swathes of Scottish agriculture.
And indeed, a new mind-set within Government as well.
So we need to have that dialogue, to have that discussion,
we need to come up with new ideas and new ways of thinking.
Next week, I'll be heading out west where the landscape makes it
even more difficult to make a living from farming.
When you consider the average Scottish farm
loses £17,000 a year before subsidy, it's hard to imagine
a remote hill farm in the West making any profit at all.
But perhaps there's a different way of looking at the problem.
I'll be heading to Mull to find out more.
Now, we're letting MasterChef: The Professionals champion
Gary Maclean loose on the Scottish countryside.
He's donned his long johns - on my advice - and hit the road
to track down some of his favourite Scottish ingredients.
This week, he's in a windy Ayrshire to cook up
an alfresco feast.
I started working in professional kitchens at the age of 15.
And over my 30-year career,
I have cooked all sorts of exotic ingredients from far-flung places.
But for me, there's no place like home.
And you can find some of the best produce in the world
right on your doorstep.
Like here, in Dunlop...
-Hi, how you doing?
-Good morning, Gary.
..where pig farmer Thomson McKenzie
produces some of the best bacon I've ever tasted.
Pig, pig, pig!
This is absolutely fantastic here. What incredible animals.
Tell us a bit more about what you do here?
We rear rare or traditional, native breeds.
Preferably rare breeds, but it must be a traditional, British breed.
These are Tamworth pigs. At the back, we have Humphrey.
He's our breeding boar.
And then we have one of his girls, one of our breeding sows.
And the litter of piglets.
And these pigs, they look happy.
To us, an important thing for us is for animals to be in
a natural environment.
So, pigs, same as sheep and cattle, are reared to be outdoors.
What makes this different from the commercially,
intensively reared animals?
All outdoor pigs should have a more depth of flavour to them.
The Tamworth gives you a nice, long, lean carcass.
So it's got a nice fat covering.
Gives you the moisture and the flavour while it's cooking.
But also a nice, moist meat behind it afterwards.
But you'll know about that better than I do.
Is it a specialised market?
Is it much more expensive then the more intensively reared pork?
It's certainly dearer than our intensively reared pork.
If you consider one of these chaps will take 36 weeks to come to plate,
an indoor-reared pig will take about 20-22 weeks.
So you're looking at an extra 50% feeding to come to plate.
'It's not just the outdoor rearing and slower growing
'that makes a great taste.'
Come on, in, Gary.
'In the farm shop, Thomson's wife Arlene cures the bacon.'
Arlene, what have we got happening here?
Well, we've got some curing going on this morning.
What we're going to do is, we're not going to put it in brine,
because we're making dry-cure bacon.
This is going to take maybe about...
I would say probably five days to cure.
And then we'll dry it for about two.
Use some of this.
Now, God gave me two hands and he gave you two hands,
I would appreciate if you could do this side for me as well, OK?
-Of course I can, yeah.
-Now, be careful with your salts.
Just shake it on.
And then just salt it all over.
And you're just rubbing it in.
So the type of salt, is it just natural...?
Well, this is coarse salt.
So it actually takes to the meat better.
It's great to see, this is how our ancestors would have done this,
I mean, it won't have changed at all, animals in the field.
-Everything done by hand.
It's got to be. It's got to be. It's a traditional way of farming.
And when we've got something as lovely as this
and as tender as this,
then it all comes out on the plate.
Well, I hope so.
And it's up to me to do this amazing product justice.
The bacon is going to be the centrepiece of my carbonara sauce.
But this isn't my usual cooking environment.
You know, we've got a couple of ponies and a deer running by.
So it's a wee bit different from my day-to-day in the classroom.
The first thing we have to do is we're going to cut the bacon up.
And we want the bacon to be fairly chunky.
This is going to be the absolute king of this dish.
And then, from there...
..what we want to do is just get that bacon into the pan.
What we want to do is just leave that pan alone.
We want to try get that to caramelise and to really
bring out the flavour of that pork.
So you can see that is lovely and dry.
You can see the difference between that and a brine-cured bacon.
No moisture coming out at all. It's starting to dry up.
From there, we're going to add just some chopped shallots.
Little bit of garlic.
And just a little touch of butter in there, just for a bit of flavour.
Now we're going to put in a little bit of double cream.
Again, all of this is local.
And to finish off the sauce, a splash of wine and an egg yolk.
And what that's going to do is just...
..thicken up the sauce.
We've got some flat-leaf parsley and some chopped chives.
We're ready for our pasta.
Plenty of it.
'..and a bit of local cheese,
'and we're ready to taste my Ayrshire bacon carbonara.'
-There you go, guys, let us know what you think.
-Here we go.
There's plenty of bacon in there.
So that should be the flavour that really comes through.
The flavour's lovely.
This took you, what, about 10 minutes?
-It's the ultimate fast food.
I do love the bacon, I must admit.
Well, I think you're allowed to be biased with the bacon,
it's absolutely stunning.
I think it would compare to any Italian pancetta
-any day of the week.
-I could get used to this.
That's amazing, that's lovely. Very nice indeed.
An unqualified - if windy - success for Gary.
And we'll see if he can cut the mustard next week,
when he travels to the Isle of Arran.
And here's what else is coming up next time around...
Kelsey Bennett is back, celebrating our regional accents.
-HEAVY DORIC ACCENT:
-Ach, if you're oot oan the fairms and
speaking to fairmers, there's no point in speaking fauncy, because...
-It disnae... That's "fauncy", wi' a U as opposed to an A.
Arlene finds out about a car-share scheme in Fife.
-It's like being chauffeur driven, isn't it?
Don't tell Rolf that!
Well, yesterday we had the first Arctic tern coming in...
And Euan meets a wildlife enthusiast who's so passionate,
he's created his own nature reserve.
Even when you think there's nothing going on,
if you spent a bit of time, you'll find lots of activity.
So please join us for that and much more at the same time next week,
Friday night, 7:30 on BBC One Scotland.
In the meantime, from all the Landward team,
thank you so much for your company. Bye for now.
Arlene Stuart explores the issue of connectivity. Dougie Vipond finds out how the potato industry will cope outside the European Union, and MasterChef champion Gary Maclean takes his frying pan to Arran.