Turnalt Farm Web Site


Turnalt Farm consists of some 3500 acres. 100 acres of this is good level arable land which forms the bottom of a 'U' shaped Glen.

As well as the arable land which lies at 100 feet above sea level, there are 5 hills, the highest of which is 'Turnalt' which rises to 1200 feet. The other hills are Lagandarroch, Arichuan, Clachaig and Grianaig. Duchra is a further hill which is ground that is rented from the forestry commission. Each of the hills are grazed by a hirsel (flock) of Blackface ewes.

The arable land comprises of grazing ground, Silage and Hay.

The Background

Turnalt Farm trades under the name John MacNicol and Sons. In the early 20th century John MacNicol (1871-1954) was the manager of Barbreck estate, which included Turnalt Farm. He subsequently bought and ran Turnalt Farm and when he died in 1954 left it to his two sons, John and James and his daughter Isabel. Three of the sons of James MacNicol, Alasdair, Iain and Hamish, inherited the farm and now, Alasdair, Hamish and Anne, the wife of Iain who died in 2018, currently own and run the farm.

The Sheep Stock

The Gathering

The Blackface flock are distributed as follows:

HILLSHEEP (Approx No.s)
Clachaig400 Ewes
Lagandarroch400 Ewes
Turnalt300 Ewes
Grianaig300 Ewes
Arichuan200 Ewes
Duchra100 Ewes

At tupping time the 6 hirsels need around 40 Tups (Rams) between them.

Around 350 of the ewe lambs are retained for breeding and the remainder are sold as store lambs at Oban Market. Some of the tup lambs off the best of the ewes are also retained for breeding.

The Cattle Stock

Cows and calves

There are about 60 cows on the farm and they calve from about January through to the late spring. The cows are Cross Highlander or Blue Grey breeds, there are also 2 Limousin bulls on the farm. In the summer about half of the herd graze on the hills with their young calves.

Originally half the cattle were wintered out on the hills and the other half on the low ground with access to a shed but since new sheds have been built all cattle are now wintered on the low ground with access to sheds.

© Iain MacNicol