Air An Lot is run by Donald Macsween, a young crofter born and raised in the district of Ness, in the north end of Lewis. Donald comes from a crofting family, who have been on this land for almost 200 years, and has spent his life tending to livestock and working the land in the village of North Dell.
As with most crofters, sheep are the main focus at Air An Lot, with Cheviots and Blackfaces the main breeds. Air An Lot also has a flock of Lohmann-Brown hens, which supply free range croft eggs to outlets throughout Lewis. As well as the sheep and hens, there are also pigs, ducks and turkeys to be seen, meaning a variety of animals and experiences.
Traditional activities such as communal village sheep gatherings are still at the heart of village life, while peat-cutting provides vital winter fuel.
Donald has also been involved in Gaelic broadcasting for many years and, as well as a stint as a journalist with the BBC, is best known for presenting BBC Alba’s sheepdog trialling programme Farpaisean Chon-Chaorach. Crofters have always worked more than one job and many were crofter/fishermen or crofter/Harris Tweed weavers. That model still continues today, although the crofter/tv presenter combination is relatively unique.
Crofting can be challenging at times, but a visit to Air An Lot will give you a taste as to why it is such an important way of life for many.
Tha Air An Lot air a ruith le Dòmhnall Macsuain, croitear òg a rugadh agus a thogadh ann an sgìre Nis, ann an ceann a tuath Leòdhais. Tha teaghlach Dhòmhnaill air a bhith ag obair an fhearrainn an seo airson faisg air 200 bliadhna agus tha Dòmhnall air a bheatha a chuir seachad a dèanamh an aon rud.
Mar mòran chroitearan, ‘s e caoraich na beathaichean is cudthromaich aig Air An Lot, le Dubh-cheannaich agus Cheviots na prìomh sheòrsaichean. Tha cuideachd tòrr chearcan ann, agus tha na h-uighean aca seo air an reic ann am bùithtean air feadh Leòdhais. Còmhla ri na caoraich agus na cearcan, tha tunagan, mucan agus cearc-fhrangach air an cumail cuideachd.
A bharrachd air na beathaichean, tha obair croit eile a gabhail aite cuideachd. Tha am baile ag obair còmhla airson càch a chèile a chuideachadh, agus tha obair mar buain mhònach fhathast cudthromach do mhòran.
Tha Dòmhnall air a bhith an sàs sna meadhanan Gàidhlig airson iomadach bliadhna agus, a bharrachd air ùine mar fhear-naidheachd aig a’ BhBC, tha e aithnichte mar phreseantair Farpaisean Chon-Chaorach air BBC Alba. Tha teachd-a-steach eile air a bhith aig croitearan tharais air nam bliadhnaichean, ach an àite a bhith na iasgair no na bhreabadair, chan eil mòran ann is urrainn a radh gu bheil iad nan croitear agus preseantair telebhisean!