Inverlochlarig Farm near Lochearnhead has a place in history as a home of Scottish rebel Rob Roy MacGregor, and is where he died. His grave is at nearby Balquhidder Kirk. However, Inverlochlarig is also a 10,000-acre hill farm that’s been tended by the McNaughtons since 1877. Home to 3,000 Scottish Blackface and Cheviot ewes, 100 Aberdeen Angus-cross breeding cattle, and a thriving venison business, it’s a fine example of mixed farming in the Park.
Unlike Rob Roy, most of Malcolm’s cattle and sheep don’t end their lives at Inverlochlarig. They’re sold on to lowland farms to fatten up before slaughter, a common practice. ‘We do sometimes market our lamb as Inverlochlarig Lamb, because we have our own butchery for the venison, and that’s great,’ says Malcolm. But this comes at a cost: travel to the abattoir in Dunblane or Paisley, then travel back and packaging. It’s not always profitable and depends on the current price of lamb.
‘The venison is interesting because we can shoot it here,’ explains Malcolm. ‘We’ve taken the logical step of preparing and selling it directly to the end consumer. We believe it’s advantageous for everyone.’ He’s right, it’s a truly local product. The National Park and Forestry Commission want to keep deer numbers down, so Malcolm helps do that and controls cutting the meat. ‘My son William does the butchery, although he’s also involved on the rest of the farm!’ This is a family business, as it has been for three generations.
Not one to sit about, Malcolm McNaughton is also a community figure, and set up a hydro-electric scheme on his land in 2014, supplying power to the National Grid. ‘We had a burning desire to harness the raw energy around us,’ he enthuses. ‘Technological developments have made it more attractive for smaller-scale renewable energy schemes like this to be delivered.’