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TITLE
Cattle Sale on Skye, 1950s
EXTERNAL ID
PC_HIGHLANDLIVESTOCK_021
PLACENAME
Dunvegan
DISTRICT
Skye
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
INVERNESS: Duirinish
PERIOD
1950s
CREATOR
Highland Livestock Heritage Society
SOURCE
Highland Livestock Heritage Society
ASSET ID
23475
KEYWORDS
cattle
droving
livestock
crofting
cattle markets
cattle sales
auctions
Cattle Sale on Skye, 1950s

This cattle sale is probably taking place in Dunvegan on Skye in the late 1950s. The auctioneer, Hugh Mackenzie, standing in the pen with a walking stick, is directing proceedings, while buyers Tom Adams from Stirling, Mr MacCallum from Dingwall, and Donald Maclean of Muir of Ord look on. The local crofters, and possibly other buyers, are no doubt taking a keen interest in the prices achieved.


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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Cattle Sale on Skye, 1950s

INVERNESS: Duirinish

1950s

cattle; droving; livestock; crofting; cattle markets; cattle sales; auctions

Highland Livestock Heritage Society

Highland Livestock Heritage Society photographs

This cattle sale is probably taking place in Dunvegan on Skye in the late 1950s. The auctioneer, Hugh Mackenzie, standing in the pen with a walking stick, is directing proceedings, while buyers Tom Adams from Stirling, Mr MacCallum from Dingwall, and Donald Maclean of Muir of Ord look on. The local crofters, and possibly other buyers, are no doubt taking a keen interest in the prices achieved. <br /> <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.