Mother’s Day is traditionally the one day of the year when mums across the country are guaranteed a day of rest and relaxation. However, that’s not the case for one of Scotland’s leading Scotch assured farmers, Shona Duncan, and her daughters Rebecca (24) and Sally (22).
The mother and daughter duo work closely together running their farm and agritourism destination featuring luxury glamping pods on the idyllic banks of Loch Lomond. Duncan Family Farms is an ‘all hands-on deck’ business with farming at its heart.
Despite celebrations, Mother’s Day will look no different to any other day on the farm and Shona admits: “Mother’s Day is typically more chaotic given it lands in the middle of lambing time, so we all need to work together to ensure we keep all our new-born lambs and mothers safe and well.
“I’m sure I’ll get handed a box of chocolates and a card at some point in the day and I honestly wouldn’t want it any other way.”
As a family-run business for over 50 years, the Duncans have all attended Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), with both daughters getting a taste of student life in all its sociable glory before Covid hit and they returned home.
Working as a tight knit group works well for Shona, Rebecca and Sally, with each responsible for a different area of the business. They each head off in different directions early in the morning, only to get back together over a coffee at 10am. A typical day can see Rebecca heading out on the tractor and feed wagon whilst Sally might focus on booking administration for the cottages and pods.
Shona said: “Our team dynamic works well as we each have our own responsibilities that we are passionate about. Should any differences arise we settle these around the kitchen table - normality is usually resumed in a few hours and we’ll have gotten over our huffs.”
Farming is at the forefront of their business as a Scotch assured farm and one of nine Monitor Farms in Scotland. The Monitor Farm programme, managed by QMS with support from AHDB, aims to help farms reach full economic, social, and environmental sustainability by optimising production through farmer led knowledge exchange with support from specialists and experts.
The Duncans are leading change in the farming community through diversification, and the choice for both daughters to pursue a career in the family firm has allowed mum, Shona, to grow other areas including their recently renovated on site cottages and glamping pods.
Sally said: “Our accommodation brings a mix of families and couples from across the UK who want to book a break away from it all and enjoy the rural community we live in. Some guests use us as a comfortable base for walking and cycling and others are happy to sit in the hot tub and enjoy a glass off fizz and the scenery.”
Growing and transforming Duncan Family Farms into what it is today has been no easy feat for the family, but Shona’s hard work and determination has inspired her daughters to muck in and fully embrace farm life.
Rebecca remembers: “I used to be scared of the cows as a child and now I’m responsible for making sure 150 of them are happy and fed every morning.”
Shona added: “Rebecca would say from a young age ‘I want to be just like Mum and wander about in my wellies all day’!”
This Mother’s Day, treat your mum or mother figure to a memorable getaway at www.duncanfamilyfarms.co.uk.