VISIT TO FOLDS IN ENGLAND & SCOTLAND May 2000.
          I left for the UK on the 27th of April and arrived at Heathrow on the 28th of April. My first visit to see Highland Cattle was at Dibden Fold at Sevenoaks on the 2nd of May. John Elwood the stud manager kindly showed me around the property. The fold consisted of several groups divided into breeding cows, heifers being mated for the first time along with a large number of heifers and steers.
          My next opportunity to see Highlands was on the 5th of May on my way to Scotland at the Weetwood Fold. I had corresponded with Geoff Miller on the Internet and was greeted warmly by Geoff and wife Jacqueline. Geoff introduced me to his stud manager John Wright who is one of the field's men of the Highland Society and his wife Andrea. The weather was cold and overcast with fine drizzle. I had the farm tour in very wet paddocks with the gateways looking more like mud ponds than gateways. The fold consisted of a variety of quality cattle from some of the many well-known bloodlines heard of here in Australia. John gave me several names to try and contact when I arrived in Scotland, unfortunately I only had time to see one of the folds recommended by John and enjoyed the hospitality shown to me, and the many questions answered by John and Geoff.
          The 6th of May the sun shined and we drove to Judy and David Bowsers property of the Benmore Fold. Benmore consists of 18,000 acres and includes the Mount Benmore. The fold is situated in the central highlands and the top peaks still had areas covered in snow. Judy kindly took me around her property, which had many of the old stonewalls climbing high into the mountains. Her cattle were very quiet and relished the small cow cobs offered to them. The fold had two mature bulls as part of their breeding program and two yearling bulls being kept for potential breeders. After touring the fold and being shown my first highland ponies, I had lunch with my Mother, Judy and David at the local pub before saying our fair wells and returning to Aberfeldy. On the way back to Aberfeldy we stopped off at a small tourist stop that advertised horn carvings. On entering the small shop I saw some great workmanship of all types, shapes and sizes. I started talking to the owner and enquired about some photos of highlands they had on the wall. The cattle belonged to the shop owner who was John and his wife Lesley Lacey whose fold was Beinn la thaur Fold. They had a small herd of quality cattle, which they kindly showed to me before having tea and general chat about Highlands. I later returned a couple of days later whilst passing to say good day and again spent time talking about showing, and the Oban show and sale.
          On the 7th of May we drove to Blair Athol to visit Mr Sandy Gordon at the Glenquoich Fold. My Gordon was a very colourful gentleman who guided around his estate. The 50,000 estate included the town of Blair Athol. One of the crofters on the estate was Beinn a Ghlo Fold owned by John Cameron. John’s main interest was in breeding Luing Cattle and Scottish Black face Cattle, we watched John bring his cattle down for me to have a closer look by using his trained dog. After refreshments and a chat about cattle we said our good byes and headed north toward Inverness were we had been told that another fold was not more than 20 miles up the road. We never found that fold but had a beautiful drive down past Loch Ness, Ben Nevis, Fort Williams and on to Aberfeldy.
          The 8th of May saw the only day as a tourist taking in the famous Edinburgh Castle. The history of this magnificent castle is thought to go back to the as early as the Stone Age with stone relics recently found in excavations. We finally left the castle shortly after the one o ‘clock cannon before returning to Aberfeldy.
          On the 9th of May, I travels took us past Loch Lomond and on to Pollokshaws Park and the Pollok Fold. We were warmly greeted by Malcolm Moy. Our tour of the park allowed me to see all the cattle in the fold. We also saw the sheded area were the Bulls and show cattle were held for preparation, along with the 70 acres on the outskirts of Glasgow were the main breeding herd and steers were kept. Malcolm has been the manager for the past 3 years and prior to which Malcolm had a fold of his own as well a collection of exotic waterfowl including cape barren geese. On the trip home we took the back way through Crief to Aberfeldy. This brought us in to a close encounter of the four footed kind when on two separate occasions we had deer run out in front of the car. One of which nearly left a permanent imprint on the side of my Mothers Car with the animal being so close we could look it straight in the eye as we drove past.          May the 10th saw the day pass quickly with a couple of hours spent in the local Gift Shop. The Highland Gift Shop as it is known was filled with various Scottish souvenirs. The Shop owned by Jenni Moncrieff had a huge selection of Highland Cattle related gifts, from statues and puzzles, to plates and magnets. I have put together a page on my links of all the items available for sale along with prices and Jenni is prepared to send parcels anywhere around the globe. That evening, we were invited to have drinks at the Moncrieff's and had a pleasant eve chatting about Australia and of mutual interests.
          The weather throughout our visit had been cool at times but clear and mostly sunny days. The 11th of May was of no exception when we left bright and early to visit the Craigomill Fold. I am usually fairly good at reading maps, but with assistance of my Mother we toured the countryside finally finding ourselves miles from were we where to finally get. Our gracious hostess Eva finally welcomed us 2 hours later than planned with apologies said on numerous occasions. Eva had some magnificent cattle and several bulls both working and of various ages. Eva's husband Ken was unable to be home due to work commitments but it was obvious to see that they were very keen on the breed with the home decorated with statues and paintings about the walls. We sent several hours discussing bloodlines and chatting. Finally after a bowl of beautiful homemade tomato soup and coffee we parted company-thanking Eva for her hospitality and a final apology for being so late.
           My last day in Scotland started early as we departed the unit that had been base for the past week. Our trip back to London was a detour via Crief, Stirling, Glasgow and on to the Ayr Agricultural Show. The Cattle were housed in a large marquee and housed Angus(33 head), Galloways(16 head), Belted Galloway(15 head), Hereford(7 head), Highland(32 head), Simmental(22 head), Limousin(11 head), Belgian Blue(13 head). The Highland Breed was well represented and Judged by Mr. A. Buchanan ESQ. of Meggernie Estate. The Folds represented on the day were Millerston, Pollok, Monkcastle, Inver, Hynford, Glengarnock, Douglas, Craigomill Tulloch, Carrowdore, Wadacre, Redrullion, Glengarry and Bentfaulds. All the folds represented put on a great show and attracted a lot of attention with the ring surrounded by spectators. The afternoon quickly came upon us and we left before the final classes completed due to our long trip. We finally arrived home to Eltham in London at 1am in following morning, having covered over 2000 miles.
          My last contact with Highland cattle was at Dibden Fold. Mr. John Elwood the stud manager invited me to attend a highland cattle field day held at the Dibden Fold in conjunction with the Midlands and Southern Highland Breeders Group. The discussion on the day was on Steer preparation and the guest speaker was Mr Archie McArthur from Orsmay Fold. After lunch we all went on a tractor tour of the stud, the weather had again been fine and gave me the best opportunity to see the cattle in the country where our chosen breed all began.

 

Photos are from the following folds

Pollok, Benmore, Pollok, Dibden

Beinn la thaur, Benmore, Dibden,

Pollok, Craigomill,Glenquoich, Glenquoich again,

Beinn la thaur, Glenquoich, Dibden field day and Pollok.

 
 

I would also like to thank Weetwood fold whos photos I lost whilst learning to use the new camera as well as Diben fold whos first photos dissappeared into my computer

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