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Young Farmer Focus: Clyde Williamson, 17 - 'It's rewarding and physical on the farm, just the way I like it'

It was actually my elder brother, Harris, who got me the job on a local sheep farm.

He worked there for most of his secondary school days before me and now, I have too, before again following in his footsteps and moving on to work at a local pub named The Grouse Inn.

 

I took on his place there last summer, balancing the six to seven-day week, the farm and the 22-mile cycle every day to and from the pub.

 

There’s nothing like a busy summer.

 

I mainly just work either Saturdays, whole weekends or occasionally after school.

 

Farming: It really stresses the term ‘casual labourer’. Despite the much less demanding hours than a full-time farmer, I feel I have become very dedicated to the farm this year.

 

It all happened very quickly during the recent lambing season.

 

After two ‘woofer’ workers on the farm had ditched the place in the night, my boss and I struggled to pick up the pieces of the heavy workload left behind – and the equally struggling ewes.

 

This was my chance to lamb. I had to do it.

 

My first was disappointing as it had died in the womb.

 

However, the second was a plump, healthy black-faced beauty. This was a process I was totally naive to, but still found to be fun and very educational.

 

These sort of moments are what I have come to appreciate while helping out on the farm: moments that put you out of your comfort bubble and test your inexperience.

 

It just so happens to be the perfect recipe for extremely good experience.


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Day-to-day: The pay is pretty good and the work is rewarding and physical, just how I like it.

 

With more than 100 ewes, rams, lambs, horses, cows, dogs, hens, ducks and alpacas, it is a busy place, on top of the abundance of odd jobs and DIY.

 

My highly capable boss manages the place, as well as offering ’workaway’ placements, vet student training, Airbnb accommodation and alpaca trekking.

 

The four alpacas, Dick, Harry, Bill and Ben, are a recent light-hearted addition to the farm and were shown at this year’s Rhynie Gala.

 

Rural life: I have learned so much over the years. When not on the farm this summer I work five days a week in the local town of Huntly at a community organisation called Deveron Projects.

 

Here, I engage with people my own age through fun events, addressing the lack of productive things to do in the struggling town.

 

I suppose I see the farm in a strange way with my interests in recycled art and sculpture, hill running and trades.

 

But I need to remember, they are all trades. Whatever we are doing, as long as we are working hard, we are all valued craftspeople.

 

I am just not sure which one is mine yet.

 

  • Clyde Williamson, 17, works on a 100-ewe farm, below the hill of Tap o’Noth. He is planning to study art and environment at university and train in mountaineering, climbing and mountain rescue.
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