The physical factors of relief, climate and soils have largely determined where and how farming is practised. The wide fertile coastal plains and the broad straths of the east have long supported mixed arable farming. In the west the growing of crops has always been more difficult due to the thin soils and harsher climate experienced. Dependence on hill sheep farming has resulted.
But history too has played a large part in shaping the nature of farming in the Highlands and Islands firstly through the clan system, then through the clearances and finally through crofting. Dry-stane dykes and lines of gnarled oaks dating from the late 18th century mark field boundaries in the richer farmlands of Easter Ross and the Laigh o'Moray. Up in the poorer lands of the glens ruins of old blackhouses and long abandonned lazy beds are commonly encountered.
Today global competition, world markets and free trade all put pressure on Highland farmers. It is important for them that they meet the challenge and adapt accordingly.
There is a range of material available for teachers to use in the classroom specifically for this subject area.
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There is a range of materials available for teachers to use in the classroom specifically for this subject area