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TITLE
Memories of a Highland Drover (7)
EXTERNAL ID
PC_HIGHLANDLIVESTOCK_AUDIO_07
DISTRICT
North Uist
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
INVERNESS: North Uist
DATE OF RECORDING
2006
PERIOD
2000s
CREATOR
Ian Munro
SOURCE
Highland Livestock Heritage Society
ASSET ID
2666
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 an auction at Clachan stance in the early 1970s.

We're now in North Uist and the name of the place you arrived in at North Uist was Clachan. And North Uist has a road - there's a road going right round North Uist - and eh, we went, the bus, a bus picked us up there and took us all down to Lochmaddy. On the Wednesday morning we all headed back out to this area called Clachan. It consisted of just maybe four or five houses, a shop, post office and that was it. But it was a, it was quite a, it was the heart of that area. And eh, there was a, a, that was a big sale; it was a one day sale, where there would be maybe three, two hundred to three hundred cattle in the one day. Now, if there was a good trade for cattle, a lot of cattle came forward, but if it was a sticky trade or a slow trade, they would, they wouldn't sell. But the buyers didn't worry much about that. 'Well, they'll have to sell sometime so we'll come back next year and get them.' Sometimes it paid the crofters to keep them, sometimes they had to sell them the next year for not much of an increase. That sale was completed and I think it's 11 or 13 miles that cattle had to be walked down to Lochmaddy. There used to be a load of cattle would break away at Locheport, at the road ends for those places, because you were driving past, the, the drove of cattle was driving past where the cattle came from. All those animals were led to the sale, well not them all , but most of them were, on, on a halter, and they were pets. And when you put them all together, if they broke away, it's home they wanted to go, and it took a good dog to turn them. Sometimes we didn't succeed in turning them and then we had to walk right all that way and I don't think there's half a dozen houses between there and Lochmaddy.

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 (7)

INVERNESS: North Uist

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 an auction at Clachan stance in the early 1970s.<br /> <br /> We're now in North Uist and the name of the place you arrived in at North Uist was Clachan. And North Uist has a road - there's a road going right round North Uist - and eh, we went, the bus, a bus picked us up there and took us all down to Lochmaddy. On the Wednesday morning we all headed back out to this area called Clachan. It consisted of just maybe four or five houses, a shop, post office and that was it. But it was a, it was quite a, it was the heart of that area. And eh, there was a, a, that was a big sale; it was a one day sale, where there would be maybe three, two hundred to three hundred cattle in the one day. Now, if there was a good trade for cattle, a lot of cattle came forward, but if it was a sticky trade or a slow trade, they would, they wouldn't sell. But the buyers didn't worry much about that. 'Well, they'll have to sell sometime so we'll come back next year and get them.' Sometimes it paid the crofters to keep them, sometimes they had to sell them the next year for not much of an increase. That sale was completed and I think it's 11 or 13 miles that cattle had to be walked down to Lochmaddy. There used to be a load of cattle would break away at Locheport, at the road ends for those places, because you were driving past, the, the drove of cattle was driving past where the cattle came from. All those animals were led to the sale, well not them all , but most of them were, on, on a halter, and they were pets. And when you put them all together, if they broke away, it's home they wanted to go, and it took a good dog to turn them. Sometimes we didn't succeed in turning them and then we had to walk right all that way and I don't think there's half a dozen houses between there and Lochmaddy.<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.