East Central Scotland

Our Family

Stuart & Jo McNicol are directors of DRIFT., with Jo working full time in the business as well as running an additional business called Castleton Events, which she set up in 2013.  Castleton Events accomodates weddings and other high-end events based on the farm, with the site overlooking the sea.

Prior to setting up Castleton Events and DRIFT., Jo was a full-time teacher.

Stuart has worked full-time on the family farm since 1999 and now runs the business along side his father Bill.

Stuart is a former regional Chairman of NFUS, is a Scottish Enterprise Rural Leader and has been a participant in the Scottish Enterprise Planning to Succeed programme.

The couple have two children.

Our Location

Jo and Stuart are the fourth generation to live on Castleton Farm which is located two miles from North Berwick in East Lothian, Scotland.

DRIFT., the new agritourism business is located around half a mile from the farm on a cliff within the family’s farmland.

 

Agritourism

The McNicol’s run two agritourism businesses based from their farming enterprise.

Stuart & Jo are both directors of DRIFT., which sits within the farming business. The new café is built on a cliff within the family’s farmland and overlooks a sandy beach, with panoramic views out to sea and over to the Fife coast.

DRIFT. is built out of up cycled shipping containers and currently employs two full time and 14 part-time members of staff. Food is produced fresh on site and currently focuses on soup, scones, cakes, teas and coffees. The café also sells a range of retail coffee and e-coffee cups.

Castleton Events is run solely by Jo and delivers high end events and weddings in a marquee based on the farm. Currently they host around seven events per year due to planning restrictions on site.  Castleton Events take bookings from April to September and the venue can accommodate up to 250 people with access to a private beach.

Our Farm

Castleton Farm grows 430 acres of cereals compromising of  winter wheat, spring barley, oil seed rape and winter beans.  The farm has no livestock but provides storage and office lets for nearby businesses.

The farming enterprise is owned by Stuart’s Dad, Bill McNicol, with both father and son partners in the farm business. Stuart is currently the fourth generation of the McNicol family to farm at Castleton.

Farm Focus Areas

East Central Monitor Farm Focus Areas

  • Developing the local food and drink offering at DRIFT. and Castleton Events in a way which drives profits
  • Showcasing how to run a successful café and food service business to others
  • Growing the events business
  • Developing the farming story and the visitor experience to that of being on a farm e.g. farm walks
  • Developing food experiences connected to your when the farm is a cereals farm
  • Producing a masterplan for the development of the site at DRIFT. over the next 5 years with additional events space and accommodation
  • DRIFT. becoming a destination, using the beach and unique combination of land and sea
  • Maximising the opportunity from the year of Coasts and Waters in 2020
  • DrRIFT. becoming part of an agritourism food trail, working with others in the local area
  • Supporting the family with succession of the farming business
Jo & Stuart McNicol, Drift Cafe, North Berwick - Agritourism monitor farm East Scotland 2019.

Click below to see the latest meeting dates for East Central and West Central monitor farm meetings.

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Click below to access the East Central and West Central meeting reports, as well as all the latest news from Scotland’s Agritourism Monitor Farm Programme.

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East Central Meeting Dates

DateLocation
Wednesday 11th December 2019, Time: 10am-4pmScottish Enterprise Offices, Apex 1, 99 Haymarket Terrace, Edinburgh

Come along to the 5th meeting of the East Central Agritourism Monitor Farm which will focus on making the correct investment for your business in a website.

Lesley Wood, who previously delivered the Branding workshop with the West Monitor farm, will be our main speaker for the day.

** This meeting is restricted to 30 places **

Areas to be covered –

1. Where do you start when setting up a new website?
2. Website suppliers are unregulated and are not all deliver the same quality, or have the same skills – how do you research potential suppliers? A website investment is not a one off investment it is a longer term supplier decision.
3. Understanding why your business needs a website. What does it need to deliver for you?
4. Bespoke websites versus off the shelf solutions. What is best?
5. Explaining the front end of a website, options for design, content – explaining sitemaps. What off the shelf solutions are out there?
6. What will you need to invest in or have for a new website? – high quality photographs, brand, logo, high quality copy etc
7. Explaining the back end of a website, options for managing a tourism business. Online booking systems explained and compared. What off the shelf solutions are out there?
8. Cost and timescale and understanding if a proposal is good value/quality/will deliver for your business.
9. What can go wrong in the website delivery process and what you can do to manage this. What is expected of you to deliver?
10. Case studies. .

To register for any of upcoming East or West Central Monitor Farm Meetings, please click here.