If you have ever walked past the village hall in Kinlochard, past the swing park on your right-hand side you will see a bungalow with solar panels on its roof. Nothing unusual there. Walking a bit further on you will see behind the house a large wooden barn with a rusty roof.
Now why should this barn be there?
Well, this goes back to the last world war when there was a great demand for food production. It was decided that a piggery should be set up adjacent to Mill of Chon House. The house and surrounding area was bought by an army captain, Tom Forrest and his partner Connie Waugh through the family business of Brownlees, large wood merchants in Glasgow.
By the mid-1950s there were at least 100 pigs housed on the site, consisting mainly of Large White and Landrace breeds.
Sows gave birth to litters of 8 to 14 piglets and were housed in wooden sheds at the east end (swing park) of the site. When they were about 12 weeks old, they were separated into 12 pens that ran down the middle of the site where they were fattened for the market.
They were fed food waste (swill) collected from local hotels and any pike or fish caught in the nearby loch.
Barley was delivered in sacks to the feed barn and raised to its loft area.
The feed barn, which still stands today, has a hole in its floor and through this the barley was fed into two hammer mills on the ground level, to be ground in a meal. The swill and any pike or other fish caught from Loch Ard was boiled in 2 coal/wood fired boilers and mixed with barley meal and fed to the ravenous pigs.
The piggery was a new style of factory farming, as before this date farmers only kept a few pigs. It was a bold move and worked well for about ten years. Eventually it became uneconomic as cheap State supported bacon was now being imported from Denmark. The Kinlochard piggery struggled on for a few years until it failed, and the piggery was closed down.
The present house was built on the site in about 1972 and named Torlochan. When we moved in in about 1998, we thought we might change the name to the “Old Piggery” in Gaelic.
On consultation with a native Gaelic speaker, we were told it would be “Sean Tigh Muic”, which sounded great until it was pointed out that it could be translated as either ”The Old Piggery” or “The home of the old Pigs”.
The name stayed as Torlochan.
Colin Boyd March 2021