Family is at the core of Duncan Family Farms, but on Mother’s Day there is usually a different “priority”.  

There will be no rest for Shona Duncan this Sunday as the farm expects the true start of lambing season.  

 “Mother’s Day is typically more chaotic given it lands in the middle of lambing time, so we all need to work together to ensure we keep all our new-born lambs and mothers safe and well,” she said.  

“I’m sure I’ll get handed a box of chocolates and a card at some point in the day and I honestly wouldn’t want it any other way.” 

The farm, which lies nearby the banks of Loch Lomond, has remained a family affair since the 1950s – with 24-year-old Rebecca and 22-year-old Sally being the latest to join the business full-time.  

The leading Scotch assured farmers are expecting over 1000 lambs to be born over the following weeks, with the season beginning in earnest on March 20. 

“We have a few lambs on the ground already but we expect to be pretty busy on Sunday,” Mrs Duncan said.  

“My priority and the girls’ priority is probably sheep and cattle first thing and then worry about Mother’s day later.” 

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Working as a tight-knit group works well for the mother and daughter duo, with each responsible for a different area of the business. 

And as the youngest generation joined the business, the farm has recently been able to utilise its scenic location in a fresh way with the launch of glamping pods and cottages for let.  

Mrs Duncan said: “We’d always thought it would be a good idea to diversify.  

“We are sitting on the edge of Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park so it’s a very beautiful area and there are lots of visitors.  

“We are right on the West Highland Way so there are streams of folk walking past the farm on a daily basis in the summer months.” 

However, Mrs Duncan and her husband Bruce were “always flat out working” which made it difficult to work on holiday lets before 2019. 

The Duncans have all attended Scotland’s Rural College in Edinburgh, which is how Mrs Duncan met her husband and became part of the family business.  

“I had kind of been persuaded by my own family that farming was no place for a girl and in those days it wasn’t,” she said. 

“I did one year of zoology and then changed to do agriculture which is where my passion really lay.” 

 When it came time for her daughters to head off to university, she “very much supported them” in their passion for agriculture.  

She explained that women are “still the minority” in the industry, but added that “if you are determined enough I think they will accept you”.  

“Our girls have been brought up with it,” Mrs Duncan said as the emphasised that increasing mechanization is opening up farming to more women.  

Embracing different roles across the farm has helped limit friction between business and family. 

“We obviously all get on well, both the generation above and the generation below as well,” the farmer said.  

“Each of us having our own roles so that we are not treading on each other’s toes is probably quite important. 

“Should any differences arise we settle these around the kitchen table - normality is usually resumed in a few hours and we’ll have gotten over our huffs.” 

They each head off in different directions early in the morning, only to get back together over a coffee at 10am.  

A typical day can see Rebecca heading out on the tractor and feed wagon whilst Sally might focus on booking administration for the cottages and pods.    

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Sally said: “Our accommodation brings a mix of families and couples from across the UK who want to book a break away from it all and enjoy the rural community we live in.  

“Some guests use us as a comfortable base for walking and cycling and others are happy to sit in the hot tub and enjoy a glass of fizz and the scenery.” 

After Rebecca and Sally headed off to study agriculture and rural business management respectively at Scotland’s Rural College in Edinburgh, the farm had the opportunity to diversify.  

Growing and transforming Duncan Family Farms into what it is today has been no easy feat for the family, but Shona’s hard work and determination has inspired her daughters to muck in and fully embrace farm life. 

Rebecca remembers: “I used to be scared of the cows as a child and now I’m responsible for making sure 150 of them are happy and fed every morning.”  

Shona added: “Rebecca would say from a young age ‘I want to be just like Mum and wander about in my wellies all day’!”  

 While there is little rest and relaxation for Mrs Duncan on Mother’s Day, Duncan Family Farms is inviting people to treat their mother to a relaxing getaway in their scenic accommodation.