Highland Cattle are not just there to provide a photo-stop for tourists. Yet while they are a lasting memory from childhood holidays spent touring the Scottish Highlands and Islands, they are also vital to the local economy.
The Highland Cattle Society state, “The Highland breed of cattle has a long and distinguished ancestry, not only in its homeland of western Scotland, but also in many far-flung parts of the world. One of Britain’s oldest, most distinctive, and best known breeds, with a long, thick, flowing coat of rich hair and majestic sweeping horns, the Highlander has remained largely unchanged over the centuries.”
The Society proudly states, “Written records go back to the 18th century and the Highland Cattle Herd Book, first published in 1885, lists pedigrees since that time.”
There are several folds, as herds of Highlanders are known, on Tiree. The cattle are not just attractive to look at – they are good for you, too . As the Society adds: “Highland Cattle are naturally reared, thriving in the hills and uplands of our country without the need for intensive farming practices, producing an excellent modem beef carcass with the lean, well-marbled, flesh that ensures tenderness and succulence with a very distinctive flavour. Highland Beef is healthy and nutritious with lower levels of fat and cholesterol and a higher protein and iron content than other beef.”
But it’s not just the Scots who have discovered the wonders of this distinctive looking breed. All over the world, Highland Cattle are to be found. Once, we visited friends in Unteriberg in Switzerland. Knowing our Scottish roots, she took great delight in taking us to see the original herd of Highland Cattle in that country.
And, contrary to rumour, they’re by no means all ginger, coming in shades from light blond to the deepest black.