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Breed Shows and Sales

Although the Earl of Home’s Fold had been established for almost fifteen years, it had yet to make a lasting impression at the Highland Breed Sales in Oban. It was at the February Bull Sale of 1941 that all the good breeding and patience were to come to fruition when the yellow Colin of Inchvanik’s son – An-Buachaille Bheag (4082) secured the Supreme Award for the Douglas Fold. His Dam had been the successful Show heifer Sine An-T-Uramach, a daughter of Baravalla Maiseach V (9905) bought at the Killbery sale. This 2-year-old bull sold to Miss Dunlop of Huntfield, Biggar for her Shieldhill Fold.

The following year, the Douglas Fold dominated the 2-year-old bull Class with Beinn Hiant (4117) 1st and Champion. This Colin of Inchvanik’s son had Killbery breeding on his Dam’s side Baravalla Milis (10707) by An-T-Uramach of Errol (3499) was purchased at 100gs by Major John Morrison of Islay House. Standing 2nd in the same Class was the yellow Beinn Buidhe (4118), yet another of Colin of Inchvanik’s son with his Dam An-T-Uramach Morag (10398) coming from Stronvar breeding in Morag Ruadh 3rd of Stronvar (9637).

It was at this Sale that the Douglas Fold secured the services of Dhaibhidh 3rd of Kilchamaig (4128) Reserve Champion on the day and bought for 80gs. His Sire was Iain of Quothquan (3931) bred by Miss Dunlop. His Dam Achavaraid 18th was once the best family in Mr A Turner’s old Kilchamaig Fold in Tarbert.

Owing to wartime conditions, which by this time was affecting everything, it was not possible to hold any sales of Highland Cattle other than the Annual Bull Sale in March. Government subsidy was now being paid for Highland Cattle and their crosses on hill grazing and the Highland Breed had a reputation for easy feeding at a time when there were so many restrictions on supplies of all types and there was no doubt that these considerations gave an impetus to the sale in March 1943 when the average price for bulls was £36.

Once again, the Championship was awarded to the Douglas Fold, this time with Creag-an-Or (4168), a son of Uistean  of Quothquan (4062). The Dam was the same cow which produced their first Champion in 1941, Sine An-T-Uramach (10543). This bull went on to command the top price of 125gs, a figure which had not been equalled since 1921 when the Department of Agriculture paid 370gs for a bull from Glen Brittle in Skye. The Earl of Mansfield bought Creag-an-Or for his new Fold at Scone Palace.

Another son of Uistean of Quothquan was to be placed 1st in the 2-year-old Class the following year in 1944. This time, Gille Ruadh Og (4220) was pride of place and his Dam, Catriona (11553) traced back to Tangy Ruadh of Killean (6917).

The sale of the 28 February 1945 was to be a unique event for the Earl of Home’s Fold. Not only did they win the top Honour with what many regarded as the “Best Bull ever to come out of the Douglas Fold” Ruaridh Mor (4262). Coming 1st in the 2-year-old Class, they were also awarded 2nd in the same Class with Prionnisa Maisach (4261) and 3rd in the same Class with Ruaridh Ruadh (4259) – all of which were sired by Dhaibhidh 3rd of Kilchamaig (4128). The Killbery Baravallas featured in the Dam lines of all their bulls with the Champion Dam Baravalla Milis (10707) already having produced the 1942 Champion Beinn Hiant (4117) and Baravalla Maiseach being the Grand Dam of both other prize winners.

Ruaridh Mor sold for the top price that day of 350gs to the Barbreck Fold of Mr J.P. Dalgleish. Ruaridh Ruadh sold to Mr Edward Lowes, Glenfalloch for 110gs, whilst Skipness Estate paid 100gs for Prionnisa Maiseach.

On the day, 35 bulls averaged £75 which was a reflection on the high quality on offer at the Sale: Abbot of Balmuick (4247) 300gs to Lord Trent, Mingary; the yearling Calein Ruadh of Mingary (4269) to Lord Glentannar for 130gs; Sir T Ainsworth’s Bratach Dearg (4257) for 110gs to Mr W Walker, Foreland, Islay and Achnacloich paid 100gs for their successful stock bull Calum Seoladair of Smaull (4254). The general agreement was that this had been the best Show of bulls for over a decade.

Although the Douglas Fold did not feature in the prize list at the Bull Sale of 1947, they had the distinction of not only breeding the Sire of the Champion bull Morair of Barbreck (4372) sired by Ruaridh Mor but also the Reserve Champion Laochan Ruadh Ile (4237) sired by Beinn Hiant

This Sale was to be the last attended by the James McLaren, Factor and past President of the Highland Cattle Society, who died suddenly on the 18th November 1947.

It was at the Spring Sale the following year that the late James McLaren’s association with the Douglas Fold and the Highland Breed came to a fitting end when his own home bred bull Alasdair Ruadh (4447), sired by Dhaibhid 3rd of Kilchamaig and out of Leannan (11414) was placed 2nd in the 2-year-old Class and sold for the record price of 420gs to Mr W Walker, Foreland, Islay. This record was to be broken later the same day when the 1st prize junior yearling Uallach of Achnacloich sold for 800gs to the same buyer. Alasdair Ruadh proved a great breeder and ended his days with Lady McRobert’s Douneside Fold in Aberdeenshire.

There is no doubt that the reputation of the Douglas Fold during the factorship of James McLaren was built around the quality of the bulls, but it was the females which were to come to the fore at the October Sale of 1941 when the Invernairn Cup was awarded to 3-year-old heifer Nighean Buidhe (11406) by Colin of Inchvanik (3851) and out of Baravalla Milis (10707). The Reserve Award also went to the Fold with Caileag Dearg (10851) by Niall Ruadh of Fanans (3525) and out of An-T-Uramach Tangy (10396).

The February Sale of 1949 saw Laochan of Douglas (4526) awarded 2nd prize in the 2-year-old bull Class and selling for 160gs to Southesk Estate while their 5th prize Fleasgach of Douglas made 200gs to Mr McDonald, Barguillean; both bull were sired by Dhaibhidh 3rd of Kilchamaig (4128). The same day, the Fold acquired the Islay bred Fear Baidheil Ile (4597) as a new stock bull from the Factor of Islay Estate Mr J. H. Cranston.

With the appointment of Mr R. M. Hamilton as Factor to the Douglas and Angus Estates and Joe still in charge of the Highland Fold, more emphasis was being placed on increasing cattle numbers as the Estate brought more tenanted farms into their own control.  By 1952 yet another stock bull was required and the 1st prize yearling Coinneach Ruadh of Jura (4707), bred by Col. W Riley Smith of Jura, joined the Fold for 300gs. His Sire was Balachan V (4013) and his Dam Riabhach Mhor (12445).

The early years of the 1950’s saw a growing demand for Highland Cattle and the surplus of females went to help establish many new Folds throughout the Country such as Lady McRobert’s Douneside Fold, Lt. Col. Hyde’s Braes of Greenock Fold and the Fold belonging to J & M Noble at Ardkinglas. This along with the new Bull Scheme, managed by the Department of Agriculture, whereby Highland bulls were sent to the crofting townships in the Highlands and Islands to ensure a supply of pure bred Highland females suitable for crossing purposes, increased the demand for Highland Cattle.

This revival of interest in the old Breed led to the decision by Douglas and Angus Estates to add some new bloodlines to the Fold such as Baravalla Usail 3rd of Achnacloich (13502) by Calum Seoladair of Smaull and the 2nd prize winner at the October Sale of 1952, Isabal of Kildalloig (13545) for 200gs, also Una of Severie (13468) at 155gs. Further Achnacloich breeding was to be added with the purchase of Forsair 2nd of Achnacloich  (4935) for 330gs, a son of Calum Seoladair of Smaull (4245) and out of Neoinean Og V of Achnacloich (12732).

With the expansion of the Douglas and Angus Estates farming activities in the early 1950’s, it was decided to appoint a Farm Manager and the position was awarded to Mr Andrew Morrow, the Manager at the Earl of Home’s Hirsle Estate at Coldstream on the Crooks Home Farm. Andrew had gained valuable livestock experience from his former employer, the well know cattle finisher and butcher, James Pettigrew of Bankton Farm, Mid-Calder.  Throughout his career, Andrew never forgot his training in the practical and commercial realities of livestock production and in the summer of 1955, Andrew and his wife Mazie moved to Newmains Home Farm in Douglas to commence an association with Highland Cattle which would last over fifty years.

Andrew was quick to realise the potential for a large-scale cattle enterprise on the Estate using Highland Cattle as the foundation. He was aware that running cows on the hill alongside the breeding flock of 6,000 blackface ewes would not only improve grazing but would also improve the quality of the sheep flock. The decision was taken to establish on each of the hill farms a herd comprising of 40 to 45 cross highland cows. The Highland bull was disposed of and a beef Shorthorn put over the entire Highland Fold.  Unfortunately, at that time, as size was lacking in the beef Shorthorn breed, a change was made and a Whitebred Shorthorn bull was introduced to improve the length, colour and milking ability.

In the early years, a Hereford bull was used on the cross highland cows with good results and the highland heifers were put to an Aberdeen Angus bull for ease of calving.

Calving took place in the spring on the high hill farms and in the autumn on the low ground farms of Newmains and Weston where 100 cows calved in September and October. The stronger hill calves would be sold in October weighting up to 260kg with heifers some 25kg lighter. The autumn born calves were sold at 12 months weighting up to 380kg.

By 1958, the Douglas Estate covered 16,605 acres and ran the largest herd of cross Highland cattle in the Country with over 220 cross cows grazing on the farms of Stonehill, Andershaw, Glentaggart and Parish Holm.

In order to maintain the numbers of Pure Highland cattle, a new Highland bull was required to run with the best twenty Highland cows, while the remaining fifty pure bred females continued to be crossed with a Whitebred Shorthorn bull.

The 1959 Spring Bull Sale in Oban saw both Andrew and Joe on the lookout for a suitable stock bull. They both took a fancy to the Champion Gillie Coir 2nd of Scone Palace, which was withdrawn from the sale at 450gs. This was the first major Championship in Oban for the Scone Palace Fold. The unsuccessful bidder was Iain Stewart, Kirkton, Crianlarich as Andrew had pulled out of the bidding at 400gs. Andrew also failed to secure the other bull from Scone Palace  Clashiegar 2nd which sold to the North British Aluminium Company, Inverlochy for 475gs. Fortunately, Andrew was successful in buying the 3rd prize 2-year-old Padruig Ruadh of Jura (5563) bred by Mr F.A. Riley Smith, Jura Estate for 360gs. He was sired by An-Gille-og of Foreland (4366) while his Dam Annag of Jura (13576) was by the very good bull Donald of Fordie.

Andrew and Joe had selected the Jura bred bull to complement the biggest and the best of the Douglas cows such as Ealasaid of Douglas (16666), Barabal of Douglas (16661), both by Forsair 2nd of Achnacloich  (4935), Betidh of Douglas (16004), Senaid of Douglas (16012) both by Coinneach Ruadh of Jura (4707). These cows had all the good breeding from the original Fold and along with Una of Severie (13468) they set the Douglas Fold on the right road and a new era.

The spring of 1962 was to see once again cattle from the Douglas Fold paraded in the Show ring at the Ayr Show. The cow Class was to gain the Fold a 3rd place with Barabal of Douglas along with Killbery of Douglas 3rd  in the yearling heifer section. It was in the any age bull Class when Iain Ruadh of Douglas (5729), the 14 months old son of Padruaig Ruadh of Jura (5563) and out of Ealasaid of Douglas (16666) took 5th prize in a strong Class of mature bulls and subsequently caught the attention of John McKechnie, Manager of the Douneside Fold. The following year, Iain Ruadh joined the Douneside Fold where he was to prove an outstanding breeder, siring several Highland Show and Oban Sale Champions.

By the spring of 1963, Andrew and Joe were once again in Oban looking for a new stock bull and with Iain Ruadh selling to the Dounside Fold, they would have money to spend. Andrew noticed a somewhat lean but very big yellow bull and to use his own words “absolutely rotten with lice” – Ballach Og of Benmore (5722) was being sold by Skipness Estate. Joe was less than impressed and warned his boss not to touch the brute as he could “kick hell out of the stars”, in other words he had a good reach with his back leg. What did impress them both was his pedigree, his Sire Ballach Buidhe of Ormsary (5588) was out of one of the best foundation cows in the Ormsary Fold, Eva of Laudale (12918) and his Dam Robina 2nd of Benmore (18357) was out of Robag of Fordie (12389), by Fearacher of Gartlea (4113). His breeding more than made up for his ragged appearance, so during the hours of darkness they decided to try to handle the bull and with the aid of an additional strong halter and two able-bodied volunteers they were able to ascertain that this “kicking brute” was worth a bid. The following day, this somewhat less than handsome bull entered the Sale ring. Nille Jackson, the auctioneer, looked for an opening bid of 100gs – no takers, 80gs – no interest at all – surely 50gs… at last a bidder was found, which proved to be the only one, the hammer fell and the “kicking brute” had found a new home at Douglas and Angus Estates. This was 30gs less than the price paid for their first stock bull An-T-Uramach in 1926! Regardless of the price, Ballach Og was to prove himself to be one of the best bulls ever used in the Douglas Fold.

The first of his progeny was sold at the Spring Bull Sale in Oban 1966 when a new Breed record was set with the Champion bull Exhibit of Strathallan sold for 900gs to Lady McRobert Special Trust, Douneside. It was in the 2-year-old Class that the sons of Ballach Og came to the fore, with Ullach 2nd of Douglas (5894) 3rd prize and Seumas of Douglas (5893) 4th prize. Uallach 2nd went to the former HC President Com. H Duncan’s Inveruglas Fold by Loch Lomond for 180gs, his Dam was Una of Severie (13468) purchased in 1952. Ullach 2nd moved on in later life to Brigadier Fellowes, Cladich Fold where he left particularly good females. Seumas sold for 220gs, his Dam Seonaid of Douglas (16012) traces back to the foundation cow Fuinary Queen 2nd (9043).

Seumas was without question one of the finest breeding bulls ever to come out of the Douglas Fold. He was to provide his new owner, Edith Lady Congleton, Ulva House, and the Fold Manager, Mr Angus McPhail, with Championship Honours in both the Sale and Show ring. 

It was at the same Bull Sale that the Douneside Fold were starting to reap the rewards of their recent Douglas purchase when their 2-year-old bull Prionnsiain of Douneside, by Iain Ruadh of Douglas was placed 1st in the 2-year-old Class and Reserve Male Champion, selling for 240gs to Mrs J L Campbell, Isle of Canna.

The following October Sale in 1967 was to see a Ballach Og’s daughter, Catriona Ruadh of Douglas (21308) secure 1st prize in the 2-year-old Class and sell for 170gs to Mr Turnbull, Allanbankmill, Duns.  Heifers by Iain Ruadh were also commanding attention with Caileag Ghrinn 8th of Douneside, Reserve Champion selling for 115gs to Mr Stewart, Breachacha, Isle of Coll, this heifer’s Gran Dam was Caileag Ghrinn of Douglas (13087). Also, the highly regarded Iain Ruadh’s daughter, Mairian of Douneside (22990) lifted the Championship award selling for 200gs to Lord Margadale, Islay House.

The Royal Highland Show was also to see the Douneside Fold winning the Championship on two occasions with Baravalla og 2nd of Douneside in 1967 followed by Boidhchead Og 4th of Douneside in 1971, both sired by Iain Ruadh of Douglas.

The Oban Bull Sale of 1968 saw another son of Iain Ruadh top the sale at 360gs, Niall of Douneside bought by Sir F.W. Walker, Leys Castle. Niall’s progeny were to go and win every major award in the Highland Breed over the next ten years for the Leys Fold.

Having used a Glenalmond bred bull on the Douglas cows for a short time, the opportunity arose at the Highland Bull Sale in March 1969 to buy the aged bull Marloach of Douneside from Mrs Judy Bowser. He had been Champion when sold in 1965, commanding the high price of 700gs. He had bred particularly well at Benmore and at 250gs was considered a bargain. It was also at this sale that the Ulva Fold sold Seumas of Ulva (6090), 2nd in the yearling bull Class for 300gs to the Scone Palace Fold.

This son of Seumas of Douglas went on to be Reserve Breed Champion at the Royal Highland Show in 1970. More glory was to follow the Ulva Fold at the October Sale of 1970 when the Manager, Mr Angus McPhail, was awarded the Invernairn Cup for his outstanding Champion, Anna 2nd of Ulva (22491) by Seumas of Douglas, selling for 220gs to Mr A Green Shorthope, Ettrick. Subsequently, the Douneside Challenge Bowl was won on two occasions by sons of Seumas of Douglas.

In 1973 the Department of Agriculture’s Glenforsa Fold received 950gs for the 1st prize yearling bull Seumas of Glenforsa; and were also awarded 2nd prize in the same class with another son of Seumas – Aonghas of Glenforsa, selling to Lady Ravensworth for 600gs.

The following year in 1974, the Ulva Fold lifted the same award with John 3rd of Ulva out of the great breeding cow Mor 6th of Mingary. Lt. Col. Sir E Wills bought this yearling for his Meggernie Estate for 700gs.

The height of Seumas’ career was to come at the Spring Show and Sale in 1975 when Viking of Ulva (6352) won the Craig Sellar Cup for the Champion Bull selling to Sir W Lithgow Bt, Ormsary for 2,000gs. Not to be outdone, the Glenforsa Fold won the Douneside Challenge Bowl with the yearling bull Gille Buidhe of Glenfosa, sired by their privately bought Fraoch of Douglas (6233), selling to the Lude, Blair Atholl for 900gs. Gille Buidhe’s Dam was yet another great breeding cow Mairi Ruadh 7th of Killundine (19846). The son of Marlaoch were selling well for the Douglas Fold at this time Gille-a-Glean of Douglas 1,000gs to R A Swain, Shropshire; Gais Geach Ruadh of Douglas, for 650gs to D H Thomson, Dousgill, Yorkshire.

There was a record entry at the Oban Bull Sale of 1976 – one hundred and seventy in total – seventy-seven females and sixty bulls. The over supply of bulls was to see the average fall by just over £100 to £269.94. On the day, the Judge’s selection did not prove popular with the Champion Bhaltair of Hungerhill unsold at 650gs and the Reserve Champion could only command 350gs. However, the 4th prize 2-year-old, Hector of Douglas, sold for 420gs to Moray Estates. There were some good bulls on offer such as Exception of Ulva (6483) by Jock 2nd of Ulva and out of Anna 1st of Ulva. This big yellow 2-year-old was to become the new stock bull in the Douglas Fold for 600gs, which was exactly the price paid by Sir W J D Roberts, Strathallan for Jamie of Douglas by the home bred Edward of Douglas – a son of Marlaoch of Douneside, his Dam was a descendant of the old Baravalla’s Betidh Ruadh of Douglas (21306).

Jamie’s daughters came to the fore at the Oban Sale of October 1980 with the Reserve Champion female Princess Matilda 36th of Strathallan selling for 500gs to Mr J Dickson, Cumbria, another of Jamie’s heifer stood 2nd  in the same Class, this was Dossan Ruadh 5th of Strathallan, selling to Mr A C Wright, East Calder for 480gs. A yearling heifer by Jamie, Annag Ruadh 11th of Strathallan was to be awarded the Championship at Perth Show in 1981 and went on to win further Championship as a 3-year-old heifer in 1983 at Drymen and Dalmally shows.

Jamie’s sons were also to command attention, at the Bull Sale in 1980, Neacal of Strathallan sold to Major Gordon, The Lude, for 1,700gs. The following year Oilibhres of Strathallan fetched 1,400gs to K W Walker, Leys Castle and in 1982 Philip of Strathallan (6983), sold for 1,000gs to Mrs J McPhail, Hungerhill. Philip went on to be Champion at the Royal Show for his new owner in 1985 and 1986.

Another of Jamie’s son which went on to breed well was Iain Ruadh of Edentaggart (7063) out of Annag Ruadh 3rd Strathallan (23873). He was bought by Mrs Judy Bowser for her Benmore Fold in 1984 for 1,200gs. He was later sold to Meggernie Estate, Glenlyon where he bred well.

By 1980, as Exception of Ulva’s work was done at Douglas, he returned to Oban and won 1st prize in the aged bull Class and was sold for 750gs to Capt Farquharson’s Torloisk Fold, Isle of Mull. Exception was replaced the same day by Douglas of Hungerhill, sired by Calum Ruadh of Earn and out of Euruch Chruinn 6th of Douneside, bought for 400gs from Mr John Taylor, Dall Farm, Loch Tay.

Two sons of Exception were sold at this sale, Na-Ruisg of Douglas sold for 300gs to Mrs L. A. Smith, Myrecairnie, by Cupar, Fife and Nijinsky of Douglas, out of the Mairead 7th of Douglas; this deep red bull sold for 600gs to Mr A Kerr, Inverberg, Loch Lomond. This good bull was to return to Oban in February 1982 standing 1st in the aged bull Class and selling to Mrs Bowser for 1,000gs.

In 1981, another son of Exception was to be placed 2nd in the aged bull Class. This big 3-year-old was out of the best cow in the Fold at that time, Barabal 10th of Douglas (25151), Padruig Ruadh of Douglas sold for 1,200gs to Angus Mackay, Edentaggart Glen, Luss and once again, a Douglas bred bull was to produce outstanding females. Padruig was only to be shown once during his time at Edentaggart, standing Reserve Champion at Dalmally Show in 1985.

The October Sale of 1984 saw the 1st prize heifer calf, Annag Bhuidhe of Edentaggart and the 3rd prize calf, Neoinean Og 2nd of Edentaggart win the Ferguson Cup for the Best pair of heifer calves. Another of Padruig’s daughters, Ban Righ 2nd of Edentaggart was placed Reserve Champion at the Spring Sale in Oban in 1987 selling for 1,400gs to Lady Hayward. The hallmark of all Padruig’s stock was their placid temperament and the milking ability of his daughters. He went from Edentaggart to the Pollock Fold in Glasgow and was used with great success siring the 9,500gs Coinneach of Pollock at the Bull Sale of 1990, selling to Glengorm, Isle of Mull.

Note: This article is © Copyright of Angus R. Mackay. It has been reproduced with his permission.
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