Families tune in for online farm tours

MORE than 10,000 families have tuned in to watch live online tours of Scotland’s farms during lockdown.

Almost 100 farmers have guided virtual visitors around their sites via the Go Rural Facebook page.

Their “Welcome to my Farm” videos followed on from 14 farmers streaming two weeks of “lambathon” during the spring from their lambing sheds.

Viewers from as far afield as Canada and the United States have tuned in live or watched the videos later online.

Caroline Millar, who helped to set up the daily tours with help from VisitScotland, said: “All types of farming enterprise have been showcased, from dairy farms in Dumfries and Galloway to hill sheep farms in Argyll, strawberries and soft fruit in Aberdeenshire to crofts in Shetland.

“As well as providing an insight to farming life to those watching, the agri-tourism entrepreneurs have been able to take people for a tour of their on-farm accommodation, farm cafes and shops, wedding venues and event spaces, with even a speed boat tour of Loch Lomond being featured.

“The hope is that – by streaming the tourism and leisure experiences available – this will stimulate interest and demand to visit a Scottish farm post lockdown for a day out or holiday, generating considerable benefit for the rural economy.”

The farm tours have been such a success that a new structure, Scottish Agri-tourism, has been created to provide a unified voice for the sector.

Marc Crothall, chief executive of the Scottish Tourism Alliance, said “One of the most prominent good news stories to emerge from the Covid crisis has been the emergence of this growing appetite for people to feel and experience a connection to Scotland’s rural parts and ‘Go Rural’ must be commended for tapping into this trend so quickly and innovatively to bring a piece of Scotland’s farming life into our homes.”

Read more stories about how Scottish businesses are bouncing back from the coronavirus lockdown on Scottish Field’s news pages.