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TITLE
The Skye Pilots
EXTERNAL ID
PC_HIGHLANDLIVESTOCK_027
PLACENAME
unknown
DISTRICT
unknown
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
UNKNOWN
PERIOD
1950s
CREATOR
Highland Livestock Heritage Society
SOURCE
Highland Livestock Heritage Society
ASSET ID
23481
KEYWORDS
cattle
droving
livestock
cattle markets
cattle sales
auctions
The Skye Pilots

This photograph shows cattle buyers and auctioneers from the Dingwall-based auctioneers, Reith and Anderson. The men have been referred to as the "Skye Pilots".

They made twice yearly visits to Skye and the Western Isles where they purchased small numbers of cattle from crofters at local sales. They gradually formed large herds which were then transported by boat to a rail terminus on the mainland. From there they were taken on to larger markets.

Reith and Anderson was originally an Aberdeen-based company. In 1924 they took over D. Mackintosh and Company of Dingwall, and in 1928 formed a separate company, Reith and Anderson (Dingwall & Tain) Ltd.

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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The Skye Pilots

UNKNOWN

1950s

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

Highland Livestock Heritage Society

Highland Livestock Heritage Society photographs

This photograph shows cattle buyers and auctioneers from the Dingwall-based auctioneers, Reith and Anderson. The men have been referred to as the "Skye Pilots". <br /> <br /> They made twice yearly visits to Skye and the Western Isles where they purchased small numbers of cattle from crofters at local sales. They gradually formed large herds which were then transported by boat to a rail terminus on the mainland. From there they were taken on to larger markets. <br /> <br /> Reith and Anderson was originally an Aberdeen-based company. In 1924 they took over D. Mackintosh and Company of Dingwall, and in 1928 formed a separate company, Reith and Anderson (Dingwall & Tain) Ltd. <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.