In the heart of the Trossachs, on Scotland’s first National Park, you’ll find the historic 300-acre Ledard Farm on the shores of Loch Ard, surrounded by the majestic slopes of Ben Lomond and Ben Venue.
Fergus Wood, head of the Wood family and Ledard Farm, was hoping to hand his farm over to his children but understood that there might be a need to diversify. “Everyone wants to hand their farm over to their family,” Fergus supposes; however, children might not want to take over the farm, “they want to be IT experts or lawyers or accounts, or whatever they want to be.”
Fergus and his oldest son Gregor partnered up and branched into tourism to keep the farm in the family and maintain their heritage. “It’s all part and parcel of what we’re about, welcoming people onto our farm, and giving them the opportunity to meet a Scottish farming family in their home.”
The oldest building on the property was built in 1587. Behind this building, the friendly Scotsman is proud to show off a hydroelectric turbine taking water down from the mountain that rises above the farm. Ledard also utilizes 109 solar panels.
“We’re an ancient farm with old buildings, the buildings we use for our visitors are of a vintage of 1604, at the same time the electricity in them is coming from a solar skin, so renewable energy is a big part of our diversification, ” Fergus says. Guests dine under these solar-powered lights in the historical MacGregors Barn.
As for dinner, “It’s very traditional fare, lamb is always the main course – as you would expect from a sheep farm.” It kicks off with a lentil broth, a classic farmer's soup according to Fergus, and finishes with the Scottish dessert Cranachan [pronounced: kranəkən]. Cranachan combines many ingredients that Scotland is known for whiskey, homemade shortbread, and raspberries layered together with cream.
Home to the Scottish Sheepdog School, Ledard Farm trains and keeps Border Collies. “My number one dog is called Jess,” Fergus says fondly. Guests meet Jess and learn about the work she and her fellow sheepdogs perform on the farm. “You can’t gather sheep without sheepdogs, it’s physically impossible, so our dogs are very important to us. There’s a very strong relationship between man and dog.”
Along with Fergus, his youngest son and wife help train and care for the dogs. “It’s very much a family business, that’s how we set it up, that’s how we hope it will continue, welcoming people to the farm is very big part of that. We’ll give our guests all the history and a wee bit of music.”
From the history of the farm and country to renewable energy, Fergus enjoys sharing and conversing with his guests. “We hope we send them off that they’ve got a much better understanding of what Scotland’s about. We’ve got a country of great history, but a forward-looking country… We’re not just talking about the history and the past, we’re talking about future.”
The trips to take
Amazing Britain, Best of Britain, Best of Ireland and Scotland, Best of Scotland, Britain and Ireland Highlights, Britain and Ireland Panorama, Castles and Kilts, Highland Trail inspired by Outlander, Highlights of Ireland and Scotland, Real Britain, Scotland's Highlands, Islands and Cities, Wonders of Britain and Ireland