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Young Farmers' centenary stone to be unveiled at Lanergill


By Alan Hendry

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Young Farmers with their certificates and trophies at the 2023 Highland Rally. Caithness clubs took the top three places.
Young Farmers with their certificates and trophies at the 2023 Highland Rally. Caithness clubs took the top three places.

Young Farmers will mark their centenary next weekend by placing a commemorative stone at the former Caithness schoolhouse where it all began in 1923.

It is the latest in a series of events to celebrate the 100th anniversary of a thriving national organisation that had its origins at Lanergill, between Spittal and Watten.

The stone will be unveiled on Saturday afternoon and the ceremony will be followed by tea and cakes in Spittal village hall.

Scotland's first Young Farmers club was formed at a meeting in Lanergill school on April 9, 1923, with records from the time showing that a Mr Robson, a Mr Black and a Mr Sutherland were present. The building is now a private home.

Avril Henderson, secretary of the Caithness Young Farmers' 100th anniversary committee, explained: "The present-day Young Farmers thought it was only right that the centenary should be marked by putting a stone at Lanergill.

"After some deliberation, decisions were made and funding was found through the Camster Wind Farm, which we were all delighted about.

"Graeme and Louise Gunn have kindly agreed that the stone can be put within the wall of their house at Lanergill which would have been the door going into the old school, which we feel is quite significant in itself.

"Everyone is to meet at Spittal hall at 2pm on Saturday, condense into fewer cars to reduce traffic, and make their way to Lanergill. The ceremony will take place and then we'll return to Spittal hall for the honorary tea and cakes.

"We would be grateful if folk could let us know if they would like to come and join in the celebration so that we can organise catering."

Mrs Henderson can be contacted on 07765 646356 or email avril_henderson@hotmail.co.uk

The Caithness centenary year celebrations began over the festive season with a convoy of tractors taking part in a fundraising journey around the county. Picture: DGS
The Caithness centenary year celebrations began over the festive season with a convoy of tractors taking part in a fundraising journey around the county. Picture: DGS

The century-old movement is now led by the Scottish Association of Young Farmers Clubs (SAYFC). There are 72 clubs across Scotland, including three in Caithness – Bower, Forss and Halkirk.

SAYFC describes itself as a membership organisation for and run by young people from across Scotland. It is Scotland’s largest rural youth organisation with more than 3500 members divided into West, East and North regions.

The centenary year celebrations in Caithness began just after Christmas when a convoy of 59 tractors decorated with festive lights made its way from Bower to Thurso via Watten in wintry conditions. Each tractor paid £10 to enter and other money was collected for three charities – Scotland's Charity Air Ambulance, MFR Cash for Kids and the Royal Scottish Agricultural Benevolent Institution.

In May this year, Caithness clubs were dominant at the annual SAYFC Highland Rally held at the Black Isle showground in Muir of Ord with Bower in first place, Forss second and Halkirk third after a busy day of competitions.

Meanwhile, Lynn Ronaldson (Bower) came out on top at the Young Farmers' North Region Sheepdog Trial at Whiteley Farm, Inverurie, earlier this month. Eight competitors took part with 14 dogs.

Lynn was the overall winner with four-year-old dog Bob. She also took third place with seven-year-old Jen.

The event was supported by the International Sheep Dog Society and sponsored by Gilbertson and Page.


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