Want an experience that’s uniquely Scottish? Then Grace Noble’s farm tour and tasting experience of her Highland beef cattle in Banchory, Aberdeenshire, is one to add to your bucket list.
Aberdeenshire Highland Beef, based at Lochton of Leys Farmhouse, has been running its tours and meet ‘n’ greets of its Highland beef cattle for the past couple of years.
With the experience including a tour around the working farm, a chance to take a picture with the Highland cows, and a delicious afternoon tea, Grace Noble says they’ve become hugely popular with people looking for a taste of Scotland.
“Highland cattle are a really unique breed and almost an icon of Scotland. They just have mass appeal with everybody. For people coming to Scotland it’s often on their bucket list to get a picture of them,” Grace says.
“All I have on my farm is Highland cattle and that’s what I’ve built the business around because I just absolutely adore the breed and I love to meet people and show them off.
“Offering a tour is great, we can’t welcome them enough because it’s a happy experience and people get to come and meet the lovely cattle.
“Some people who come on the tours have never touched a cow before in their life, or have even been close to them before. So when they come, they’re so excited to hear about what I do and what I enjoy about my job.
“People also love to taste local when they are on their holidays visiting the place and it’s something different and exclusive to the area. They’ll meet the cattle, love them and get their pictures with them.”
A taste of Scotland
Also, given the opportunity to interact with Grace and find out more about her role as a Highland beef farmer, guests get the opportunity to purchase and try the beef themselves.
“Once they’ve met the cattle, heard about what we do and had their pictures taken, they’re enthused to try the beef themselves and realise that if this is how beef is going to be reared, then they enjoy it because of the quality of what they are tasting,” she continued.
“People nowadays are so much more aware and in-tune about sourcing good-quality food and making sure it’s ethically farmed, reared and produced. It ticks a lot of boxes. The experiences are also quite relaxing, educational and heart-warming, and they’ll actually get to taste something very special and different.
“It is a complete cycle of the business – from being the farmer out in the fields, caring for them, producing the food to feed them, rearing the livestock to then produce the beef.”
For tours up to the end of August, Grace has also thrown in an award-winning afternoon tea that can be consumed on the farm itself. This will be switched for beef tasting sessions come September.
She added: “There are some picnic benches on the farm and I source the afternoon teas, which have lovely cakes, sandwiches and sausage rolls, from Country Flavours of Alford.
“It just adds a bit more to the experience, and people can also take their afternoon teas away with them and enjoy them in their holiday cottage or wherever they are staying.
“From September 5 we will be reverting back to our standard beef tasting tours, which we run outwith the summer months.”
Tours are running twice a week, for one hour every Wednesday and Saturday, with more days likely to be added if bookings get busy.
“I’ve had the farm experiences on the go for a couple of years and they’ve really appealed to the travel trade and the large coach groups,” Grace said.
“Also, I schedule a couple of tours every week that individuals can book, for example if they are individual travellers or visiting the area – they can come along to the farm and join a tour.
“It seems to appeal to a lot of people who want to come and see some Scottish wildlife and taste something different while also meeting the farmer.”
For Grace, the tours themselves are a source of joy for her as she loves welcoming people to her farm.
“I really enjoy welcoming people and telling them all about the job that I love. It means I can also answer any questions as it’s so topical and I think people like hearing from the farmer directly.
“Every day is a good day and I love the tours as well as I get to meet people from so many different countries and they remind me what’s good about my job. It’s so uplifting!”.
To book your tour, or for more information, visit aberdeenshirehighlandbeef.com.
Tours are currently priced from £20-£35 per person and Grace will take requests for private bookings upon enquiring.