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TITLE
Memories of a Highland Drover (5)
EXTERNAL ID
PC_HIGHLANDLIVESTOCK_AUDIO_05
DATE OF RECORDING
2006
PERIOD
2000s
CREATOR
Ian Munro
SOURCE
Highland Livestock Heritage Society
ASSET ID
2663
KEYWORDS
drovers
droving
markets
cattle drovers
cattle droving
marts
cattle sales
audios

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In this audio extract, recorded in 2006, former drover Ian Munro remembers droving in the Uists. The image shows Reith and Anderson auctioneers and buyers going to the island of Raasay, off Skye.

'Left home on the Thursday night by train from Dingwall, up to Kyle. Eh, got on the boat, what's the name of the boat was - the Loch Mor. And then that boat sailed out to, to Scalpay and then down to Tarbat, Harris, then down to Lochmaddy and by 7 o'clock that night you reached Lochboisdale, that's right down the south end of South Uist. That was all day Friday spent on the boat, eh, on the boat and arriving there.

First sale was held about 9 o'clock in Benbecula. There was a, one of MacBrayne's buses took us to the sale and that would be about thirty miles. Well, I can't remember really. The first sale was conducted there and it would be finished by maybe about eh, half past eleven or mid-day. Now all the cattle for both Reith and Andersons and eh, Corsons were all grouped together and the like of myself and a few more, eh, we walked that cattle about 7 or 8 or 9 miles along the road while all the buyers and everybody else went away on the bus, and were, were conducting a sale while we were doing this. And by the time we arrived, the second sale was almost completed and then our drove of cattle was increased by the number - it was, it was a repetition. And then we went on to another sale which would be starting maybe about 4 o'clock. That was at Grogary and that was the last sale of the day. Again now, by then we would have about 250 cattle maybe, in total, and they were put into a big fank, like a stone enclosure. And they were - there was a stone enclosure but there was also a well-fenced area - and they were left there until Sunday morning. Out we went again - we were staying in Lochboisdale Hotel - and we drafted the cattle then into two lots; the Oban cattle and the cattle that went to Dingwall. They were known as the Kyle cattle because Kyle was where they were landed. And there was two boats waiting in Loch Skiport and whoever had the greatest number of cattle - I think it was usually Oban - they went first in the drove, eh, their drove went away first, followed by the second ones and then they were loaded on that boats and that was all that cattle. All the Saturday's cattle was cleared off on the Sunday. At that time when we were going out there, 90% of North Uist was Protestant, and 90% of this area [South Uist] was Catholic. We wouldn't be allowed to load the cattle up there [North Uist] on the Sunday but it was OK down in South Uist. Then on the Monday morning we all went out to Stoneybridge.

Interviewer: I've actually got a photograph of Stoneybridge.

Yes, that's it. There's MacBrayne's bus.

Interviewer: That's the bus that brought the -

- the buyers, and well, there was, mainly the buyers and the office staff and all that. I mean we were very far down the line; we were only the drovers. But everybody joined in.

Interviewer: And the auctioneers?

And the auctioneers.

Ian Munro was born at Blackhill Farm, Evanton, Ross-shire in 1933. His father and grandfather were sheep and cattle dealers, and it was through his father's links with the livestock auctioneers, Reith and Anderson, that Ian, aged only 11 or 12, began assisting at livestock sales in Dingwall. At the age of 18, Ian started going out to the Uists with Reith and Anderson as a drover to help at the seasonal sales. At that time, there were no facilities for landing lorries on the islands so cattle had to be driven on foot from the sales to the boat, until the advent of roll on roll off ferries in 1965.

Ian took over the family farm near Evanton in 1964 and farmed there until 1984. He continued to help out at auction sales in Dingwall when required. Since giving up the farm, Ian has remained in farming related work, driving lorries, selling grass seed and helping neighbours and family with livestock.

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Memories of a Highland Drover (5)

2000s

drovers; droving; markets; cattle drovers; cattle droving; marts; cattle sales; audios

Highland Livestock Heritage Society

Highland Livestock Heritage Society audios

In this audio extract, recorded in 2006, former drover Ian Munro remembers droving in the Uists. The image shows Reith and Anderson auctioneers and buyers going to the island of Raasay, off Skye.<br /> <br /> 'Left home on the Thursday night by train from Dingwall, up to Kyle. Eh, got on the boat, what's the name of the boat was - the Loch Mor. And then that boat sailed out to, to Scalpay and then down to Tarbat, Harris, then down to Lochmaddy and by 7 o'clock that night you reached Lochboisdale, that's right down the south end of South Uist. That was all day Friday spent on the boat, eh, on the boat and arriving there.<br /> <br /> First sale was held about 9 o'clock in Benbecula. There was a, one of MacBrayne's buses took us to the sale and that would be about thirty miles. Well, I can't remember really. The first sale was conducted there and it would be finished by maybe about eh, half past eleven or mid-day. Now all the cattle for both Reith and Andersons and eh, Corsons were all grouped together and the like of myself and a few more, eh, we walked that cattle about 7 or 8 or 9 miles along the road while all the buyers and everybody else went away on the bus, and were, were conducting a sale while we were doing this. And by the time we arrived, the second sale was almost completed and then our drove of cattle was increased by the number - it was, it was a repetition. And then we went on to another sale which would be starting maybe about 4 o'clock. That was at Grogary and that was the last sale of the day. Again now, by then we would have about 250 cattle maybe, in total, and they were put into a big fank, like a stone enclosure. And they were - there was a stone enclosure but there was also a well-fenced area - and they were left there until Sunday morning. Out we went again - we were staying in Lochboisdale Hotel - and we drafted the cattle then into two lots; the Oban cattle and the cattle that went to Dingwall. They were known as the Kyle cattle because Kyle was where they were landed. And there was two boats waiting in Loch Skiport and whoever had the greatest number of cattle - I think it was usually Oban - they went first in the drove, eh, their drove went away first, followed by the second ones and then they were loaded on that boats and that was all that cattle. All the Saturday's cattle was cleared off on the Sunday. At that time when we were going out there, 90% of North Uist was Protestant, and 90% of this area [South Uist] was Catholic. We wouldn't be allowed to load the cattle up there [North Uist] on the Sunday but it was OK down in South Uist. Then on the Monday morning we all went out to Stoneybridge. <br /> <br /> Interviewer: I've actually got a photograph of Stoneybridge.<br /> <br /> Yes, that's it. There's MacBrayne's bus.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: That's the bus that brought the -<br /> <br /> - the buyers, and well, there was, mainly the buyers and the office staff and all that. I mean we were very far down the line; we were only the drovers. But everybody joined in.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: And the auctioneers?<br /> <br /> And the auctioneers.<br /> <br /> Ian Munro was born at Blackhill Farm, Evanton, Ross-shire in 1933. His father and grandfather were sheep and cattle dealers, and it was through his father's links with the livestock auctioneers, Reith and Anderson, that Ian, aged only 11 or 12, began assisting at livestock sales in Dingwall. At the age of 18, Ian started going out to the Uists with Reith and Anderson as a drover to help at the seasonal sales. At that time, there were no facilities for landing lorries on the islands so cattle had to be driven on foot from the sales to the boat, until the advent of roll on roll off ferries in 1965. <br /> <br /> Ian took over the family farm near Evanton in 1964 and farmed there until 1984. He continued to help out at auction sales in Dingwall when required. Since giving up the farm, Ian has remained in farming related work, driving lorries, selling grass seed and helping neighbours and family with livestock.