I am Donald Macsween (although most people call me Domhnall (Gaelic) or Sweeny), and live in what was my grandparents house, about 1/2 a mile from my parents house in the village of North Dell, Ness, Isle of Lewis. I have been working with sheep from an early age but have experimented with a few other animals in recent years, and I am also starting to increase the amount of land that I am working as well – although I’m self-taught and it’s a steep learning curve!
I am currently employed by the local authority in a role working with young people, but have previously worked as a journalist with the BBC and I was also self-employed for 5 years. I continue to work freelance now, mainly as a tv presenter. I have presented Farpaisean Chon Chaorach (Sheepdog Trials) for BBC Alba since 2008, with series 6 broadcast in Jan/Feb 2014, and have also presented series on Highland Games and Puppy Training.
I started up this blog to allow myself to document some of my work on my croft. I should explain that this blog name, ‘air an lot’, means ‘on the croft’ in Gaelic (I know some smart-alex will say croit is the Gaelic for croft but in Ness we use lot). Anyway, I have been tweeting and posting on facebook for some time now about all the bits & bobs that I do on the croft but became increasingly frustrated with the childish reaction of some people on facebook so decided to move the majority of it over here so that I can say what I want in peace!
I am from a crofting family and have been working on the croft for as long as I can remember. I was given my croft, 19 North Dell, as my 21st birthday present waaaay back in 2005. I now have a flock ewes, around 45 chickens, ducks and a sheep dog. I do all this while also working full-time and I find the crofting to be a great release from the stresses of day-to-day work.
This blog documents day-to-day life on my croft and there are, and will be, pictures and details of matters that will not suit everybody. Wherever there is livestock, there is deadstock, and I am a firm believer in documenting the darker side of crofting as well, whether that be the loss of an animal, or when it comes to slaughter time. I will not sugar coat things. It can be difficult for any crofter to deal with these matters too; we are not in it for death, but for life.
I am an animal lover but I raise my animals for meat and I know they have a happy, contented life while they are here.