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On Farm with Loch Linnhe

At the south end of Lake Wakatipu 9km from Kingston sits Loch Linnhe a 11047 hectare high-country merino station that has been farmed by the Scott family since the 1970s. The property encompasses a number of 2000m peaks extending along Lake Wakatipu from Wye Creek in the north, to 4km beyond Staircase Creek in the south, from here it extends eastwards over the Hector Mountains to the Nevis Valley.

When Murray Scott finished Lincoln University in 1977 he returned to the family farm.

Originally part of Glen Nevis, Loch Linnhe was split off by the McCaughans' in the mid 1930's and

bought by the Scott family in 1973 after the Jardines had expanded the property property boundary to Wye Creek and Staircase Creek. “It was noted that it was usually the least favoured brother that got this end,” jokes Murray, “because in winter there’s only about 200 acres of sunny facing country. The rest hardly sees the sun”

Loche Linnhe has provided the Scott's with a lifestyle they adore, and an amazing place to bring their two daughters, Rosa and Sophie. The homestead was built in the 1930's and has been a great base for the Scott's since Murray and Karen met in 1982. The modernisation of the station through the introduction of technology has given the Scott's more time together enjoying their time on the land.

Their nearest neighbour is 10km one way and 20km the other but the property is also only 30km from an international airport. This unique position has made for plenty of unexpected visitors; planes and boats who have run out of fuel, a lost homing pigeon, people on horseback, and even a man who was biking around the world.

The Scott's have always taken the approach of keeping things on the station simple, focusing on ensuring their farm is mostly organic and non-intensive. “We were using fertiliser up until around the mid 90s and then we had drought,” Murray says. “So we backed off until we found the right level of stock numbers”, and since then they haven't looked back. This approach of less grazing pressure has shown natural regeneration of natives plants and bird life. They have seen an increase in native falcon pairs along with tui, bellbirds and wood pigeons, with over 10 returning to the property last year. There is also a large area of native beech forest on the farm, which survived the burn-off of early settlers.

Their love for their animals and desire for them to live a good life fuels their roles as growers. “If you look after the land, it looks after you,” Karen says. “The sheep suit the property. We do all grass wintering. We don’t feed out in winter. We rotate sheep around the lake face. They spend four or five weeks in each block.”

Daughter Sophie returned to the farm 6 years ago and Karen and Murray have enjoyed watching it all come full circle as Sophie steps up to the plate. Having Sophie back on the station has allowed Karen to spent more time on her other passion; art.

She took up painting at 25 after attending an adults panting course and discovering her portraits were rather life like. When her girls were growing up she would often paint at the kitchen table and the kids would contribute "" Karen finds her painting fits in well with farming, allowing her a guilt free activity on rainy days. Her main inspiration and subjects are her farm animals. She is represent locally at the Athol Gallery which specialises in rural and local art that is connected with the land.

“We just love what we do and to be able to live and work in a place like this, what more could you ask for? It’s brilliant.” Karen Scott


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