Baddinsgill is a hill farm in the southern Pentland Hills, south of Edinburgh. 4000 acres of heather-covered hills are populated by 1400 hardy blackface sheep, along with a small fold of Highland Cattle. The Marshall family have farmed here since 1912, and we remain a family farm, with four generations currently living here.
We have long shared our lamb with friends and family (and enjoyed it in copious quantities ourselves). Hill sheep like ours are traditionally either sold to lowland farmers for fattening, or are exported to the continent where our smaller but lean and flavoursome lambs are popular. This seemed to us to be something of a waste, when our hardy, heather-fed sheep are so delicious straight off the hill, so we decided to put our heads together to make our lamb more widely available to lamb lovers here in the UK.
Our sheep are ranch-farmed, meaning they live outdoors on the open hill all year round, being brought down from the hill just a few times a year for health care and flock management. It's a tough life, but the Scottish Blackface breed is built to live out in even the harshest conditions, and the sheep's active life and all-natural diet gives the meat a wonderful flavour. Our aim is to let our sheep be sheep, allowing them to live the most natural life possible.
Our sheep are expertly cared for by Josephine Holbrook. Josie came to Baddinsgill in July 2016, along with her then 4 month-old son Ruairidh, and they look after the flock as a mother-baby team! Josie is a qualified vet, who (luckily for us) on graduating, decided instead to pursue her ambition to farm Blackface sheep.
Josie is aided in 'Project Lamb' by Laura, Andy, Nick and Anna. Siblings Laura and Nick grew up on Baddinsgill and now live on the farm with their own families. As is often the way in the rural community, we all have other jobs – Nick works in forestry, Laura is a bookkeeper, Nick's wife Anna is a publicist, and Laura's husband Andy a web designer, but we all have one thing in common – we all love lamb and are passionate about helping others love it too!