2016 seminars and demonstrations

Ruth Dalton, Field Officer North, RBST

One the most popular aspects of the Festival and part of what sets it apart from other events is our programme of seminars and demonstrations.

We’re busy putting together the full programme for 2016 but wanted to share some of the confirmed sessions you can access at Lanark on 24th September.


Lanarkshire Beekeepers will be making a welcome return to the Festival in 2016. Group members will be making a presentation on aspects of beekeeping as part of our seminar programme but will also be on hand throughout the day to answer questions about bees and beekeeping

Over the years, we’ve had a focus on how to plant an orchard. This year we’re moving on to what to do with your apple crop. John Hancox, from Scottish Orchards, will be explaining the techniques for processing and marketing your apples as juice and cider. John has recently launched his own range of Clyde Ciders.

And you’ve all been waiting for the return of Gordon Gibb – we missed him last year – and his wonderful demonstrations of butchery.

Caroline Robinson, from SRUC, will be reprising her informative talk on sheep foot health and foot care. The saying “No foot, no horse” can also for applied to sheep – aside from the obvious welfare issues, a lame sheep will inevitably less productive than it could be so we want to keep our sheep’s feet in tiptop condition.

Andrew Brewster from the Pasture Fed Livestock Association will be joining us to talk about the benefits of adopting a pasture-fed livestock system and the aims and objectives of PFLA.

If you asked a group of smallholders why they do it, you’d get as many answers as people in the group. But for some, and maybe a growing proportion, it’s important to make some financial return from their smallholding efforts. One way to do this is to tap into the power of the Internet with websites and social media. But what’s best to do? Dan Champion is both a smallholder and a web developer with over 20 years in the web industry, and he’ll be explaining how to market your smallholding online.

Many smallholders want to make productive use of their landholding in a sustainable way and for a growing number, permaculture is the way forward. Not sure what it is? Well, Carole Egner from Permaculture Scotland will be explaining all and giving practical tips as well.

Demonstration area

In our demonstration area in the Trade Hall, John Cowan of John Cowan Baskets will be giving folk a chance to try they hand at willow weaving. The sessions proved extremely popular last year, so do sign up at John’s stand easrly in the day.

Also in the demonstration area, you’ll be able to see members of the Lesmahagow Stick Club demonstrate their skills in producing sticks and crooks. There are classes for sticks and crooks in the Garden, Craft and Food competition, so you’ll be able to see the prize winners there and the demonstrators will be around all day to answer your questions.

Our final session in the demonstration area is supported by KnitBritish. Louise Scollay, the founder of the KnitBritish podcast series, will be on hand to help those who would like to knit but are either beginners or a wee bit rusty.