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TITLE
Cattle being driven near Skeabost, heading for Portree
EXTERNAL ID
PC_HIGHLANDLIVESTOCK_006
PLACENAME
Skeabost
DISTRICT
Skye
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
INVERNESS: Snizort
PERIOD
1920s
CREATOR
Highland Livestock Heritage Society
SOURCE
Highland Livestock Heritage Society
ASSET ID
23462
KEYWORDS
cattle
droving
livestock
Trysts
drove roads
Cattle being driven near Skeabost, heading for Portree

The cattle pictured in this popular photograph from the 1920s are being driven along the road to Portree. The location is close to the old school at Bernisdale and Loch Snizort can be seen in the background. Most of the animals appear to be of the shaggy Highland breed. These animals used to have dark, almost black, hair although now they are more commonly ginger or blonde.

The herd is probably made up of cattle from several crofts in the more remote areas of Skye, possibly Waternish, Dunvegan and Glendale, heading to a cattle market in Portree.

Selling a few cattle each year was a necessity for many Highland families. Not only was the income important but the relatively poor grazing ground could not sustain large herds. Small numbers of animals would be purchased from crofters in outlying areas and by doing this drovers would gradually accumulate a significant herd over the course of a few weeks.

At one time, cattle from the Outer Isles would be transferred by boat to Skye. There they would join livestock from that island and together these large herds would be driven down to the narrows at Glenelg where they were encouraged to swim across to the mainland. The cattle were then walked along traditional drove routes to the markets or trysts at Beauly, Crieff or Falkirk. This practise continued for nearly 200 years until the railway provided a faster alternative.

With advances in road and rail transport, small local sales of cattle took place in various parts of Skye and the animals were transported by lorry to the markets on the mainland. Cattle from the Outer Hebrides were shipped to the nearest railway station and then on to market.

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High Life Highland is a company limited by guarantee registered in Scotland No. SC407011 and is a registered Scottish charity No. SC042593
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Cattle being driven near Skeabost, heading for Portree

INVERNESS: Snizort

1920s

cattle; droving; livestock; Trysts; drove roads

Highland Livestock Heritage Society

Highland Livestock Heritage Society photographs

The cattle pictured in this popular photograph from the 1920s are being driven along the road to Portree. The location is close to the old school at Bernisdale and Loch Snizort can be seen in the background. Most of the animals appear to be of the shaggy Highland breed. These animals used to have dark, almost black, hair although now they are more commonly ginger or blonde.<br /> <br /> The herd is probably made up of cattle from several crofts in the more remote areas of Skye, possibly Waternish, Dunvegan and Glendale, heading to a cattle market in Portree. <br /> <br /> Selling a few cattle each year was a necessity for many Highland families. Not only was the income important but the relatively poor grazing ground could not sustain large herds. Small numbers of animals would be purchased from crofters in outlying areas and by doing this drovers would gradually accumulate a significant herd over the course of a few weeks. <br /> <br /> At one time, cattle from the Outer Isles would be transferred by boat to Skye. There they would join livestock from that island and together these large herds would be driven down to the narrows at Glenelg where they were encouraged to swim across to the mainland. The cattle were then walked along traditional drove routes to the markets or trysts at Beauly, Crieff or Falkirk. This practise continued for nearly 200 years until the railway provided a faster alternative. <br /> <br /> With advances in road and rail transport, small local sales of cattle took place in various parts of Skye and the animals were transported by lorry to the markets on the mainland. Cattle from the Outer Hebrides were shipped to the nearest railway station and then on to market.