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Inverness farming family to star in TV lifestyle she as they launch Farm Ness brand

By Neil MacPhail

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AN Inverness farming couple are set to become household names after the fifth series of a popular country lifestyle series resumes.

Mother-of-two Joanna MacGregor (34) and partner Donald (36) will feature in eight of the 12 new episodes of This Farming Life, a show that has been enthralling thousands of viewers over the years as it follows the fortunes of farming folk in Scotland and northern England. It resumes on November 23 with episode two on the following night.

The couple live on 3300-acre Dunain Park farm just outside the city on the Fort William road, a spread of arable and hill that is tenanted by Donald’s parents Mary and Donald.

While their 750 breeding ewes and 220 breeding cows and acres of malting barley are bound to feature on the show, the TV cameras will major on the couple’s dream of opening a sizeable roadside farm shop under their new Farm Ness brand.

They became involved in the programme after BBC Alba featured how the couple were using social media as a promotional tool during the pandemic, and suggested they apply to This Farming Life.

They were accepted, and filming started in March and will go on into the new year.

Joanna explained that they have planning permission for Farm Ness but, following delays, they have postponed building until better weather in the spring.

Undaunted, they have installed a temporary shop on the site using a large portable building.

They plan is to open on November 27 in time for the Christmas festivities, selling Farm Ness beef and lamb, turkeys, local pork, local vegetables, local store cupboard ingredients, Christmas trees, Christmas decorations and firewood.

“We also plan takeaway teas, coffees and food, and have lots planned for the Christmas month including a visit from Santa’s reindeer on December 10, 11 and 12 – so people could make their Christmas tree outing one to remember,” Joanna said.

While Donald’s family have been in Dunain Park since the 1940s, the farming life is relatively new to Joanna.

Although she was brought up on a croft near Spean Bridge, she taught geography in Glasgow and Edinburgh before coming to Inverness about six years ago.

She said: “I wasn’t too sure about the country life at first but with the social media side of things I am quite immersed in it now.

“I enjoyed being part of the new series, but I am really nervous about seeing the show on air.”

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