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.


  1. Great to see young Crofters like yourself keeping the traditions yet moving it forward. I am looking forward to reading along and I have already learned a lot from your posts so far. I hope you don’t mind if I add your blog to my blogroll.

  2. Hey ho! Nice Blog indeed.

    As you’ll have gathered, I was brought up not too far down the road. All our sheep had names – not only that but we kept track of their family histories too! Used to do all that slaughtering stuff also and in them days there was nothing impersonal about it – on a table at the shed door… It took a while but eventually those bad memories overtook the good ones and I’m veggie now. And happier and healthier for it.

    Re peats: do you not miss the tareisgeir and the art of “throwing”? Nothing like a good traditional May Holiday outing to the peats in the rain/hail/snow/force-10 to break your back and strain your sinews. Every year we get together for that annual peat-cutting event with renewed determination that this will be the last one… but it never is, and we’re actually quite pleased about that. Anyhows, how do you do the steidheadh? Do you end up with a sausage-shaped cruach?

    Keep it up – lovely pics – makes me quite homesick. And that’s quite an admission from a Siarach to a Niseach 😉

  3. Hey there! I’ve been following your blog for a bit of time now and really enjoy following the ups and downs of croft life. It’s both intriguing and inspiring in a lot of ways. Keep up the posting and crofting!

    I wrote a short post on my blog: http://veryveryquiet.blogspot.com/2012/10/air-lot-crofter-blog.html

    (I hope you don’t mind me using your pictures, I’d be happy to take them down if you are opposed whatsoever)


  4. I’ve been following Anne’s (Homeschool on the Croft) blog for some time now, and really enjoy learning about life on Lewis.

    i’m a “townie” and don’t have any livestock except Angora rabbits (for handspinning fiber) and chickens, but I am officially part of the “Sheep Community” in my area. I’m going to be happy to follow your blog and maybe get into a bit more depth with the animal side of life there than I can wth Anne. 🙂 I wish you all the best with your crofting ventures – farming in any country isn’t easy!

    Deb from Lexington Kentucky, USA

  5. Pingback: Life on a croft in Ness | Musings from a Stonehead

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s