Whalsay woman Eleanor Arthur was appointed chairwoman of the Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) at the organisation’s annual general meeting on Saturday in Balmacara near Kyle of Lochalsh.
Mrs Arthur told the assembled gathering she considered the appointment a great honour, but also a considerable responsibility to represent the SCF board and membership.
She said: “Over the last decade each new chair has been confronted with big crofting issues and this time is no different with reform of crofting legislation, the inquiry into future support for agriculture in Scotland and the whole reformation of European rural policy.
“Common to all issues is the continuing uphill struggle to get crofting understood by the policymakers. The only way I see crofters having a voice and influence in Edinburgh, London and Brussels is for them to gather together under one banner and be big enough to be heard – we need numbers.
“The SCF provides this banner and it is very heartening to see that membership is increasing, that crofters are joining and so making the federation stronger and more representative.
“My intention is that the SCF continue to listen to its membership, to represent crofters effectively, and build on the good reputation it already holds nationally and internationally.”
Mrs Arthur crofts about 30 acres in Whalsay, keeping native and crossbred sheep and Shetland kye. She has been prominent in re-establishing the Shetland cattle breed and chairs the Shetland Cattle from Shetland Breeders’ Group. She also chaired the group responsible for the production a book on the history of the breed and its place in Shetland crofting culture.
She thanked the outgoing chairman Neil MacLeod for having served his two-year term of office with great commitment to the SCF and to crofting.