I can tell you now. We had a call last week from Stuart Howsden who, Scottish members of the RSPB will know, is the Head of RSPB Scotland. He told us the extraordinary news -that we had won the UK Nature of Farming Awards...but that we were to keep it quiet until it was announced in the Telegraph on Saturday 17th September. What? Keep it secret?
What a secret! The days between then and now have felt terribly long! I realise now, worryingly, that I can lie through my teeth without batting an eyelid. So many people have asked us how we got on, and over the last 10 days we have looked them in the eye - and lied.
On Wednesday Dave Sexton, the Mull RSPB Officer, met Stuart and Dan (from Scottish HQ) at the ferry and brought them over to Treshnish in order that we could be presented with the Award and that they could get the necessary photo for the press release - see pic above taken by Dan.
It was a gloriously sunny day after some shocking stormy and wet weather earlier in the week. (Blue skies at last) Somerset took them on a tour just past the Haunn cottages, back to the farmhouse for a quick lunch before they were off back to the ferry (via Loch Na Keal and some sea eagles!) and we were left to attempt to absorb it all.
A staggering 22,000 people voted compared to around 6,000 last year. And amazingly we received 6,900 of those votes!
All we can say is a very sincere thank you to everyone who voted for us. Knowing that our blog has a readership of about 12, it is likely that our thanks will not reach the thousands who did vote for us, but the genuine thought is there.
There has been so much support from so many folk - on the island, off the island and from total strangers, and to us this has been the biggest 'win' of all. But it seems getting a Scottish farm to win the Award became an RSPB Scotland priority so thanks to everyone involved in that. RSPB staff on Mull (Dave, Debby and Sue) have really put in the time getting the votes at the Sea Eagle Hide, on the ferry, at BirdFair, on twitter. Thank you all.
The Telegraph article was published online early.
I will update the blog with farming news soon!!