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TITLE
Cattle Sale at Struan, Skye
EXTERNAL ID
PC_HIGHLANDLIVESTOCK_047
PLACENAME
Struan
DISTRICT
Skye
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
INVERNESS: Bracadale
DATE OF IMAGE
1957
PERIOD
1950s
CREATOR
Highland Livestock Heritage Society
SOURCE
Highland Livestock Heritage Society
ASSET ID
23500
KEYWORDS
cattle
droving
livestock
crofting
cattle markets
cattle sales
auctions
Cattle Sale at Struan, Skye

This photograph shows a cattle sale at Struan, on the shores of Loch Bracadale, in Skye. The date is likely to be late May or early June 1957.

Crofters from the townships of Coillore, Amer, Totarder, Balgown and Glenfield from these crofting townships are gathered for the cattle sale, which was quite an event in the community.

Cattle buyers and an auctioneer made twice yearly visits to Skye and the Western Isles from the mainland. The buyers purchased small numbers of cattle from crofters at these local sales and 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.

Some of the people photographed here have been identified: Willie Lockhart, Alasdair and Angus Nicolson from Amer, Mary Ann Morrison (nee Campbell) from Ullinish, Christina Mackinnon from Struan, Alasdair Matheson of Coillore, Flora Beaton of Totarder, Marion Jane Matheson of Coillore, Charlie Beaton and his twin brother Davie from Gesto, Duncan (Duchan) MacPherson from Torvaig, Col. Neil McLean, MP for Inverness-shire, Peter Stewart of Totarder, John MacCusbic also from Totarder, John MacAskill of Ullinish and Willie Campbell from Glenfield. One of the regular buyers from Stirling has also been identified. He is wearing a hat rather than the flat cap favoured by the crofters.

Further information on those present can be obtained from Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre.



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 at Struan, Skye

INVERNESS: Bracadale

1950s

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

Highland Livestock Heritage Society

Highland Livestock Heritage Society photographs

This photograph shows a cattle sale at Struan, on the shores of Loch Bracadale, in Skye. The date is likely to be late May or early June 1957. <br /> <br /> Crofters from the townships of Coillore, Amer, Totarder, Balgown and Glenfield from these crofting townships are gathered for the cattle sale, which was quite an event in the community. <br /> <br /> Cattle buyers and an auctioneer made twice yearly visits to Skye and the Western Isles from the mainland. The buyers purchased small numbers of cattle from crofters at these local sales and 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 /> Some of the people photographed here have been identified: Willie Lockhart, Alasdair and Angus Nicolson from Amer, Mary Ann Morrison (nee Campbell) from Ullinish, Christina Mackinnon from Struan, Alasdair Matheson of Coillore, Flora Beaton of Totarder, Marion Jane Matheson of Coillore, Charlie Beaton and his twin brother Davie from Gesto, Duncan (Duchan) MacPherson from Torvaig, Col. Neil McLean, MP for Inverness-shire, Peter Stewart of Totarder, John MacCusbic also from Totarder, John MacAskill of Ullinish and Willie Campbell from Glenfield. One of the regular buyers from Stirling has also been identified. He is wearing a hat rather than the flat cap favoured by the crofters. <br /> <br /> Further information on those present can be obtained from Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre.<br /> <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.