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TITLE
A cow in the ditch, South Uist
EXTERNAL ID
PC_HIGHLANDLIVESTOCK_074
PLACENAME
Askernish
DISTRICT
South Uist
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
INVERNESS: South Uist
DATE OF IMAGE
1965
PERIOD
1960s
CREATOR
Highland Livestock Heritage Society
SOURCE
Highland Livestock Heritage Society
ASSET ID
23527
KEYWORDS
cattle
droving
livestock
crofting
A cow in the ditch, South Uist

This photograph shows a group of men who appear to be having difficulty extricating a cow which has fallen into a the ditch. The location is near Askernish, South Uist, where a stance or temporary holding pen was set up.

Cattle buyers and an auctioneer made twice yearly visits to 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.


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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A cow in the ditch, South Uist

INVERNESS: South Uist

1960s

cattle; droving; livestock; crofting

Highland Livestock Heritage Society

Highland Livestock Heritage Society photographs

This photograph shows a group of men who appear to be having difficulty extricating a cow which has fallen into a the ditch. The location is near Askernish, South Uist, where a stance or temporary holding pen was set up.<br /> <br /> Cattle buyers and an auctioneer made twice yearly visits to 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 /> <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.