Horrie Farm History
The farm of Horrie is situated in the Parish of St Andrews in the Toab district. It was formerly part of the Earldom Estate and is mentioned in the Earldom Records as being in existence in 1510 when disputes regarding ownership took place over the following 50 years.
Horrie became part of the Sebay Estate and did not become owner occupied until 1924 when it was sold to the Anderson family, the descendants of whom own the farm today. The Andersons came from Stenness as tenants in 1817. During the decade 1881 to 1891 over 4000 people left the Orkney Islands to settle overseas and many members of the Anderson family settled in Canada.
During the 50's Bill and Annie Manson (nee Anderson) made many improvements to the farm and kept breeding cows and sheep and hens. It was a typical Orkney Family Farm.
In recent years small farms like Horrie have had to adapt and diversify to stay viable.
We have installed 2 wind turbines – a French built 6kW Eoltec and an Ayreshire built Proven 3kW. This provides much of the electricity for the apartments and the farm – they are both grid connected and are registered with Ofgem as generating stations.
For many years we have been participating in agri-environmental schemes on our farm. We now have three fields planted with a mix of plants producing seeds suitable for providing food for small birds in the winter. A 6 metre wide area of rough grassland that is left to flower and set seed encloses all our cereal fields. This area and the adjoining stubble fields attract insects and small birds such as twite, linnet and skylarks as well as bumble bees. We have 3 hives at our own house that provide us with clover honey.
Orkney voles also make their home in the long grass and the sight of hen harriers and short eared owls hunting over the area often rewards us. Spring is a noisy time as the newly sown cereal fields are favourite nesting sites for lapwing and oystercatchers while redshanks and curlew nest in the area of managed wetland. The antics of the brown hares delight our visitors; the hare numbers seem to have been increasing over the years.
The accommodation offers a comfortable setting to watch the wildlife as well as the antics of the hens and cockeral.