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TITLE
Skye Cattle Sales, June 1957
EXTERNAL ID
PC_HIGHLANDLIVESTOCK_052
PLACENAME
Staffin
DISTRICT
Skye
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
INVERNESS: Kilmuir
DATE OF IMAGE
June 1957
PERIOD
1950s
CREATOR
Highland Livestock Heritage Society
SOURCE
Highland Livestock Heritage Society
ASSET ID
23505
KEYWORDS
cattle
droving
livestock
crofting
politicians
cattle markets
cattle sales
auctions
Skye Cattle Sales, June 1957

The Member of Parliament for Inverness-shire, Col. Neil McLean, can be seen here mingling with crofters and buyers at a cattle sale in June 1957. The location is Staffin, in the north Skye.

Colonel McLean (28 November 1918 - 17 November 1986) can be seen here on the left of the photograph. He is wearing a beret and is dressed in a kilt.

Lieutenant-Colonel Neil Loudon Desmond McLean D.S.O., known as Billy McLean, was born in London and educated at Eton and Sandhurst. After a distinguished military career he moved into politics. He succeeded Lord Malcolm Douglas-Hamilton in the Inverness constituency, which he represented from 1954 to 1964. He was a member of the Unionist Party. In Parliament he was mainly involved with Foreign Affairs due to his military service overseas with British Army intelligence operations, particularly in Albania. He was instrumental in the overthrow of communism in that country.

Some of those photographed here have been identified: Alasdair Ross of Elishader (on the left wearing a v-necked sweater), Alasdair and Ian MacLeod from Malagar (the latter holding a long stick), Alex Nicolson from Flodigarry and Jonathan MacLean from Kilmuir (both standing at the back behind the younger MacLeod), Murdo MacDonald from Brogaig, and on the extreme right at the back, John MacKenzie from Malagar.



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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Skye Cattle Sales, June 1957

INVERNESS: Kilmuir

1950s

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

Highland Livestock Heritage Society

Highland Livestock Heritage Society photographs

The Member of Parliament for Inverness-shire, Col. Neil McLean, can be seen here mingling with crofters and buyers at a cattle sale in June 1957. The location is Staffin, in the north Skye. <br /> <br /> Colonel McLean (28 November 1918 - 17 November 1986) can be seen here on the left of the photograph. He is wearing a beret and is dressed in a kilt. <br /> <br /> Lieutenant-Colonel Neil Loudon Desmond McLean D.S.O., known as Billy McLean, was born in London and educated at Eton and Sandhurst. After a distinguished military career he moved into politics. He succeeded Lord Malcolm Douglas-Hamilton in the Inverness constituency, which he represented from 1954 to 1964. He was a member of the Unionist Party. In Parliament he was mainly involved with Foreign Affairs due to his military service overseas with British Army intelligence operations, particularly in Albania. He was instrumental in the overthrow of communism in that country.<br /> <br /> Some of those photographed here have been identified: Alasdair Ross of Elishader (on the left wearing a v-necked sweater), Alasdair and Ian MacLeod from Malagar (the latter holding a long stick), Alex Nicolson from Flodigarry and Jonathan MacLean from Kilmuir (both standing at the back behind the younger MacLeod), Murdo MacDonald from Brogaig, and on the extreme right at the back, John MacKenzie from Malagar. <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.