The Tullie family celebrate 150 successful years as tenants on Borders Estate and look forward to the future.

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John Tullie’s family have farmed in the Scottish Borders since 1848. Originally farming at Deephope at Ettrick, James Tullie (John Tullie’s great, great, great grandfather) moved to Bowanhill in 1870, where seven generations of Tullies have since farmed, under six agricultural tenancies.

The latest generation of Tullies began farming at Bowanhill in 2007, when John took over the lease from his father, James.

Livestock farmer John has taken a forward-thinking approach to climate change and biodiversity. Working closely with Tweed Forum, he developed a detailed whole-farm conservation plan. This included grazing management to allow for wildflower grasslands and fencing off watercourses, reducing riverbank poaching and diffusing pollution by livestock. John’s work has significantly helped towards habitat creation along the Upper Teviot catchment, restoring floodplains by planting new trees, re-meandering sections of watercourse and planting native trees, which secures the landscape and environment for generations to come, together with assisting flood prevention measures further downstream. In recognition of this great and beneficial work, John was proud to have been Tweed Forum’s River Champion in 2021.

Buccleuch strives to maintain open and positive working relationships with all their tenants and, following a review of operations on Borders Estate, began discussions with the Tullies in 2016, to find the best future for the farm. Following discussions, Buccleuch and the Tullies agreed that the existing lease for Bowanhill would terminate in exchange for a new Limited Duration Tenancy (LDT) to John for part of Bowanhill, with circa 200 hectares of hill land being returned to the Estate for alternative use. As part of the negotiations, a new opportunity was identified for Andrew Tullie, John’s son.  Andrew was offered a tenancy at Whitchesters Farm, another of Buccleuch’s farms in the Teviot Valley. The move to Whitchesters will allow Andrew to progress and maintain a sustainable farming business for years to come.

Since moving to the new farm in 2016, Andrew and his wife Katy have converted to an organic farming system. Following in his father’s environmental footsteps, Andrew also takes great interest in grassland systems, ensuring sustainable farming which benefits both the climate and his business.

In 2022, John and his wife Caroline took the decision to retire from Bowanhill when another property on the estate, Fenwick Farm, became vacant. John and Caroline purchased Fenwick Farmhouse and steading whilst continuing to be tenants of the Estate by leasing the land at Fenwick. They left behind their flock of Blackface ewes but have retained their herd of Galloway cows which had been at Bowanhill for over 100 years, with Andrew & Katy planning to take them on in the future. They are now just next door to Whitchesters, allowing them to spend more time with Andrew and Katy, and their grandchildren, Wilson and Mairi.

Buccleuch have held a good relationship with the Tullie’s over the past 150 years, by showing transparency and working together we have been able to provide opportunities and outcomes which both parties have been able to prosper from. We look forward to continuing to work closely with John and Andrew into the future and wish John and Caroline all the best in their new home at Fenwick.