Pathhead entrance around 1900

History

Pathhead Farm is situated in the historical and beautiful town of Kirriemuir in Angus, Scotland. Surrounded by breathtaking landscapes, Glens Prosen, Isla, and Clova provide some of the best walking, climbing, and stargazing in the whole of Scotland. Kirriemuir, also known as ‘The Little Red Toon’, was built from locally quarried red sandstone, giving the town a quaint and historic feel. You may recognise parts of Kirrie made famous by our own son, Sir J.M. Barrie. Just across from Pathhead is the small white house from the famous book, A Window in Thrums, and a statue of Barrie’s most famous creation Peter Pan stands proudly in the town centre. It is a well documented fact that Barrie buried the original manuscript for Peter Pan here on Pathhead farm. The quote, written by Barrie, in the front of the original play reads:

'With gloaming he steals out of the house, his library bulging beneath his palpitating waistcoat. I follow like his shadow, as indeed I am, and watch him dig a hole in a field at Pathhead farm and bury his islands in it; it was ages ago, but I could walk straight to that hole in the field now and delve for the remains'.

Ally offers 50% trove to anyone who might find it.

Another statue stands proudly in Kirrie; that of Bon Scott, the lead singer of AC/DC who spent the first six months of his life here before emigrating to Australia. There is a local legend (or did I make it up??) that young Bon learned to sing here on Pathhead whilst his mum was pu'in' berries with his pram sat at the bottom of the berry dreels, (along with a' the other roarin' wean's. ) We know it’s a bit of a tenuous connection but we don’t care.  Every year (covid excepting) for the last ten years or so, we have had ‘Bonfest’, our tribute to a lost son of Kirrie.  It is becoming a truly international event, where people from all over the world arrive en-masse to have a weekend of AC/DC tribute bands and lots of other nonsense! It is the busiest and best-fun weekend in the Kirriemuir calender.

Records for Pathhead Farm start around the 1830s with the building of the original farmhouse. It was purchased by Allan and Geo Bruce (Ally’s dad and uncle) in the 1950s, who used the land to farm soft fruit. The brothers were very successful, earning the Queen’s Medal for Horticultural Services to the Fruit Industry. They were well-loved, forward-thinking, and innovative, and we are very proud to continue their legacy. At the same time as farming raspberies and strawberries, Pathhead operated a small-scale nursery which soon expanded to a much bigger enterprise, selling almost one million bedding plants a year, as well as trees, shrubs, heaths, heathers and herbaceous plants. In the early 1980s the fruit industry in Scotland all but collapsed, and the nursery trade also started to diminish. However Pathhead Farm went from strength to strength. Ally’s wife Joyce, suggested bringing a horse to the farm. At first Ally was adamant 'that there'd be no horses here!'. But she won, and now Pathhead has anywhere between 60 and 70 horses on site at any one time, providing a new income.

Joyce was the motivator and lifeblood of Pathhead Equestrian for a long time. Her passing in 2016 was devastating to all who knew her, but her legacy lives on here at the farm. Joyce loved riding and was keen to build a successful business. First came an outdoor school which was swiftly followed by a livery barn, both of which are still functioning today. She also loved to take people out on hacks; often the groups would ride up through the glens to the pub and back again. Joyce had a certain ethos for the farm, and the stables are still run in the way she wanted; we are focused on creating a joyful and exciting experience for anyone who wants to give horseriding a go.

There have been a few new additions to the farm over the years. We now have a lovely indoor riding school, as well as a number of holiday lets. We have worked hard in keeping the farm sustainable by introducing solar panels, trying to be as organic as possible and keeping some parts of the farm habitable for wildlife. There is also a very successful cafe on the yard which serves delicious food, coffee, and snacks. Ally’s new partner Jan, who is also a great lover of horses, has brought her soft furnishing business to the farm, which we hope to integrate into the farm later this year.

Our history does not end here; the farm keeps growing and changing, making space for a new generation to flood Pathhead with their passion and ideas for the future. Stay up to date with what we are up to via our blog.