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Overseas Legacy

Through the decades, the Douglas Fold has exported Highland Cattle throughout the world: South Africa, Canada, The United States, The Netherlands and Germany.

Cattle from the Fold featured at the 1993 National Western Stock Show in Denver, Colorado, when Mr Ted Robbins of North Pomfret, Vermont was Reserve Senior Champion with his 1987 importation Barabal Ruadh 18th of Douglas (30527) by Kennapole of Rothiemurchus (6759).

In 1985, the young bull Uillean of Douglas (7093) and two heifers Princess Matilda 1st of Douglas (29648) by Douglas of Hungerhill and Cuailean 18th of Douglas (30110) by Kennapole of Rothiemurchus were exported to the Netherlands.

Further exportations took place following the reduction sale in 1987.

Reduction Sale

The Douglas Fold reduction sale was brought about by not so much a change in farming policy but a total restructuring of the Douglas and Angus Estates.

As a result, fifty one Pedigree Highland Cattle were to be offered for sale on Friday 15th May 1987 along with over one hundred cross Highland cows and heifers.

The sale was to attract buyers old and new from all over the British Isles and one potential buyer from the Netherlands. Mr Erik van der Bilt was looking for Highland Cattle on behalf of his employer “The Stiching Het Drentse Landschap”, which was a private institution for nature management, managing 4,000 hectares of forest, moors, heathland and farmland in the North of Holland. Following extensive land management research, they had concluded that the grazing habit of Highland Cattle combined with their hardiness made them an essential component in the regeneration of moors and heathland.

Erik had been in Scotland for five days travelling the West Highlands in search of Highland Cattle which would be suitable for his purpose and it was purely by chance that the Douglas sale coincided with his visit.

On arrival at the sale, Erik was introduced to Andrew who assured him that he would do all that he could to help him with regard to testing and isolation, thus allowing Erik to buy with confidence. Being quite unaccustomed to the Highland Breed or to buying cattle at auction, Erik applied a very simple logic – he was going to concentrate on the cows with less condition on them, assuming they had been regular breeders and had reared the best calves. So whilst the experts were selecting the cream of the Fold, Erik would focus on the less expensive cattle. His first purchase was lot No 2 the 4-year-old cow Leanidh 19th (29644) with heifer calf at foot – this Padruig Ruadh’s daughter sold for 750gs, this was followed by another ten astute purchases, many of which had cross calves at foot.

The leading prices at the reduction sale were for the best cows. Mr R J Montague bought for his newly established Rushmore Fold in Kent, Ealasaid Ruadh 19th (29220) for 1,600gs and Cuailean 17th (29222) for 1,200gs, both by Douglas of Hungerhill; also the 2-year-old heifer Milis 13th (30526) by Kennapole for 900gs. Mr R A Clegg from Yorkshire was also in the market for some of the best, buying three of Kennapole’s daughters, Cuailean 22nd (31467) at 1,050gs, Milis 12th (30115) at 950gs and Mairead 16th (30111) at 880gs. He went on to buy the very good yearling heifer Bachy 3rd (30954) for 750gs. This heifer became Champion at the Great Yorkshire Show and also 1st in her Class at the Royal Show in 1988.

The second top price on the day was for Ealasaid 17th (28173) selling for 1,400gs to Garth Ramsey, Keills Estate, Taviealich. Mr M W Walker bought for his Leys’ Fold Betidh 19th (30536) for 1,050gs and the much fancied Dossan Ruadh 4th of Douglas (30953) for 750gs both by Kennapole.

The Sale averages were: 28 cows @ £759; 6 3-year-old heifers @ £1,052; 11 2-year-old heifers @ £880; 5 1-year-old heifers @ £637.

All the purchases made that day by Erik were kept at Douglas running with the Highland bull. In October all cross calves were sold and the entire shipment left Douglas on 6th October.  Thirty three cattle in all, including stock from Edentaggart, Cladich, Pennygown, Callachaly, Tinto and Old Greenlaw went to form what was to become by far the largest Fold of Highland Cattle on the Continent. The Douglas cattle in particular were the most successful, breeding true to form, especially when put to the massive bull Seumas of Edentaggart (7189).

The Douglas Fold Today

Prior to the reduction sale, a nucleus of the Douglas Fold had been established at the Crooks Home Farm on the Hirsle Estate, Coldstream. This is the Scottish Borders’ home of the Douglas family and the very place Andrew Morrow had begun his association with the Douglas and Angus Estates all those years ago.

All the very best bloodlines were retained in the Fold including Cuailean Ruadh 20th (30528), Seonaid 26th (30279), Mairead 22nd (30285), Chrira 10th (32081), Beathag 2nd (32080), along with the bull Iain Ruadh 2nd of Douneside (7112) whose Sire was the well known Jamie of Douglas (6501) and  Dam, Bernice 10th of Douneside (26577) who was a descendant of the old Ballemore Fold. The Fold at the Hirsle was to be under the care of Mr Allan Telford, the Manager of the Home Farm.

Although most of the stock had gone from Newmains and the adjoining farms, a Fold of Highland Cattle was retained, including some old cows, Morag Ruadh (33607), Ailsa 1st (33608) and Leanidh Ruadh 12th (33609), all sired by Douglas of Hungerhill, along with Milis 6th (26389), Seonaid 11th (24113), Cualean 14th (26984), Senaid 15th (2698), all by Exception of Ulva. The home-bred bull Mactallamh of Douglas was used for one year. His Sire was Kennapole of Rothiemurchus and out of the big Barabal 20th of Douglas (30950). Mactallamh was later sold to Mr John McKechnie, who had bought over the Douneside Fold after managing it for many years.

The yellow bull Uileam Bhuidhe of Ormsary (6875) by Brogach 2nd of Leys (6576) was also used for one year followed by the red Jock of Cullern’s (6816) son Thurso of Nallers (7353) and Jock of Achnacloich (7505) by Jock 25th of Leys (7129). The last Highland bull to be used at Newmains prior to crossing the Fold was Balach Laidir of Iona (7453) by Brogach Alex of Glenfintaig (6755).

During that time, the Fold at the Hirsle continued to develop and a new stock bull was found just across the Border:  Ruaidhri 5th of Flodden (7709) bred by Mr J Hayward and sired by Jock 26th of Leys (7171), his Dam, a former female Champion at the Oban Sale in March 1987 was Claire 11th of Ormsary (29764).

In the spring of 2000, it was decided to find a quality bull with a good percentage of the best Douglas breeding. Nothing of the right quality was found in the sale ring and Andrew set out to find what he thought would be a suitable bull and bought privately Calin of Coirefuar (8909) bred by Angus Mackay. This big yellow bull had some of the best Douglas breeding, his Dam Dossan Ruadh 2nd of Edentaggart (31072) was by one of Andrew’s favourite bull Padruig Ruadh of Douglas (6914). Andrew had seen Dossan Ruadh 2nd at the Royal Highland Show in 1987, standing 3rd in a strong yearling Class and had said to the owner “that will be a breeder” and how right he was! Her first son Macalastair of Coirefuar (7570) was placed 2nd in the yearling Class at the Oban Bull Sale and sold for 1,000gs to Auch Estate. Her second son born in 1992, Craig Mor of Coirefuar (7741) sold to the Countess of Kintore, Keith Hall for 4,800gs. Her 1994 born son Prionnsa Bhuidhe of Coirefuar (8128) was 5th prize yearling and went to Leys Castle for 1,400gs.  One of her daughters, Dossan Ruadh 13th of Coirefuar was Champion at Dalmally Show in 2002.

Andrew put this sort of consistency down to the fact that Padruig Ruadh was the Sire and Jamie of Douglas the Grand-Sire and to top it all his Great Great Grand Sire was none other that Iain Ruadh of Douglas (5729). This was just the bull needed with some of the best Douglas breeding. The breeding behind Calin’s Sire was just as impressive, with Angus of Corriemuckloch (8527)  out of the great breeding cow Lili Ann 8th of Corriemuckloch (30265) who in turn was by the best bull ever used by the late Tom Muirehead, Ben Hope of Scone Palace with the best of Glenforsa breeding coming in to the pedigree in Gille Ruadh (6359).

Most of Calin’s female progeny have been sold privately, helping to establish Folds in the South of England and Eire and some going to Calin’s breeder Angus Mackay’s Fold. A private sale saw one of Calin’s son Ruaidhri  1st of Douglas go to Mr Alan Prentice for his Hyndford Fold.

At the Oban Bull Sale 14 February 2005, Allan Telford exhibited the 2nd prize 2-year-old Jamie 2nd of Douglas, selling to Captain Farquharson’s  Torloisk Trust for 1,500gs, the unplaced yearling bull, Andrew of Douglas sold for 1,200gs to Bill and Pat Knox, Inisard, Newtonmore and the 3rd prize  2-year-old heifer Isabel 8th of Douglas for 700gs to the Coirefuar Fold.

Lady Caroline and Factor of Douglas and Angus Estates Oban Sale February 2005

Lady Caroline, Mrs Telford and Mr Allan Telford

In 2006 the Douglas Fold commemorated 80 years of Pedigree breeding with the private purchase of a new stock bull Daibhidh 2nd of Glengorm (9091) from Gatchonzie Estate, near Callander. A son of Jock 29th of Leys, Daibhidh 2nd has all the good attributes, scale, substance and breed character of their foundation bull An-T-Uramach of Errol  and is sure to maintain the Douglas Fold’s reputation for good sound commercial cattle.

Lasting Impressions

One has to look long and hard to find the name of the Earl of Home engraved on any silverware pertaining to Highland Cattle. The lasting influence of the Douglas Fold goes much deeper than the mere impression engraved on any trophy. There can be few Highland Folds, if any, which had such a lasting influence on so many famous Highland Folds. Over the past 80 years, the foundation and success of such Fold as Islay House, Claddich, Scone Palace, Barbreck, Douneside, Ulva, Glenforsa and Strathallan are testimony to this.

My good friend, the late John McKechnie (Douneside) said to me on many occasions how he wished he could find another Iain Ruadh. I know for a fact that the two Highland Stalwards at the foot of Glenforsa would not let another Seumas of Douglas pass them by… so great was his influence on the Isle of Mull.  For my part, I would not need a second look if a Padruig Ruadh or a Jamie were to cross my path as better breeders of good Highland females would be hard to find – “canny” cows with an abundance of mild.

I believe that this level of consistency was a direct result of the meticulous selection of the foundation females by James McLaren. It is unfortunate that I have been unable to find out more about the background of the Factor who must have had an intimate knowledge of the Breed or the ability to listen to and take notice of good advice.

The contribution made by the stockman Joe Frame cannot be over estimated. It was he who would have decided the breeding program, selecting which cows would best suite a particular Highland bull and which to put to the Shorthorn bull. Joe was reputed to have an amazing memory and could recall every cow by her tattoo number. His entire working life was spent with the Douglas Highland Fold and a more knowledgeable cattleman would be hard to find. Fortunately, Joe passed on his fifty years of experience to Andrew Morrow who for fifty years also has kept the Douglas Fold to the fore whilst remaining true to the original concept of breeding good strong commercial Highland Cattle. To use his own words: ”they should have a mouth like a shovel and a tongue like a scythe”.

Mr Andrew Morrow

Mr Andrew Morrow

Over a period covering eighty years, three men, James McLaren, Joe Frame and Andrew Morrow have ensured that the name Douglas and Angus Estates would always be synonymous with all that is best in Scottish agriculture.

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