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Family Farming in the 21st Century

The demands placed on family farms of modest size by current agricultural, tax and political policies are challenging, and commercial viability is always a challenge. At Spital Tower the resulting mix of diversification companies, leasing arrangements, and split responsibilities does not detract from the fact that Spital Tower is first and foremost a family farm. The primary aim is to preserve a viable commercial entity resilient to changing times. 3 of the family, operating as a team are working to make this a reality is strengthened by diversity of skills, experience, and age.

Wherever possible the team tries to use appropriately skilled local labour, contractors and suppliers, all a vital part of the mix without whom life would be very difficult.

Alan Bailey

Alan Bailey

Alan grew up farming in pre- independence Zimbabwe. After a short spell in National Service and a degree from Rhodes University in South Africa’s Eastern Cape, Alan worked as a civil servant before moving to Scotland. An introduction to accounting was followed by a long career as a Chartered Quantity Surveyor in Britain, East Africa and the Middle East. Alan also set up a QS practice in the Scottish Borders, which led to being a director of Borders Transport Futures Ltd, the pioneer railway company that in the 1990’s initiated the return of rail links to the Scottish Borders. In the early 2000’s Alan took the family farm at Spital Tower back in hand, where Carla and he set up Ruberslaw Wild Woods Camping. Alan is currently on the Board of the Campaign for a Scottish Borders National Park.

Robert Bailey

Robert Bailey

Robert was born and raised on Spital Tower. He took the lease of Spital Tower’s farmland in 2018, and continues as tenant today, running his own flock and looking after livestock for another grazer. Robert takes a keen interesting in regenerative land management, and has planted 11,000 native trees as the tenant on the hill ground as part of a larger mosaic restoration he is pushing. He also takes an active role in the management of the estates commercial woodland, and with Carla runs an apple pressing business. He is also a board member of Southern Uplands Partnership.

Carla Bailey

Carla Bailey

Carla has held numerous executive and directorial positions across a diverse range of local, national, and international organisations linked to chiropractic, healthcare, sports, women in business, and local enterprises.

Carla’s expertise and involvement with Ruberslaw Wild Woods Camping, along with her guidance and support in managing the estate and securing a Silver Accreditation Award from Wildlife Estates Scotland, have played an important role in shaping the Spital Tower vision. Her  experience, knowledge and practical skills contribute to finding solutions involving the provision of a nature-based authentic experience for metropolitan adventurers, whilst engaging with leading better, more sustainable, and environmentally friendly lives for all. It’s a lot of fun!