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The People of Craigencalt

A farm like this of course has a very long list of people that have lived on it and been associated with it over the centuries and we know of a few of these historical figures, not least ...Philp, self made flax mill owner, who is a famous historical figure locally as a result of his philanthropy which built a number of primary schools in the area, amongst other things.

This section necessarily therefore tends to concentrate on the friends who bought the farm together in 1988 and those who have passed through since.

In 1988 Di Bates and Diana Neil who were very old acquaintances decided they were at a time of life where they wanted to return to the countryside and slow down a bit. The initial idea was to buy a couple of adjacent cottages or a larger one to share but that proved difficult so they ended up joining up with two others, John Strachan and Chris Bell, to look for a smallholding and quickly came across Craigencalt. After some indecision on the sellers part the sale was concluded in November 1988 and they moved in at the beginning of February 1989. About a year later for a variety of reasons John moved on and several years later so did Chris Bell. Sadly Di died in 1998 but Chris and Penny Holland stepped into the breach to assume her share of the property and see the story kept running.

Of the many who have come through since the longest lasting have been:

Di's son Marcus, 'Mark the Spark', who was with us from the mid 90's through to 1999 when he moved on to live with his brother Ali in Angelsey.

Diana's former husband Eric who lived here for three years then in the village and who worked here virtually every day tending an organic market garden and flock of chickens and doing all kinds of maintenance and development work around the property. Sadly he was diagnosed with cancer in 2000 and died in August 2002.

Diana's son Richard who came here in 1989 while unemployed and spent the next ten years largely unemployed and heavily employed on the farm in all kinds of work to keep it going and developing. With the formation of the CFEC and a full time job he is much less involved.

Others include Nick Wilding, Tara O'Leary, Robin Naumann, Bill Warrell, Alistair McIntosh, Verene Nichol, and Ronnie Mackie (still around as part of CFEC). In addition a fairly large number of volunteer workers have passed through staying varying amount of time and contributed as they could.