Black cattle represent 40% of the Borland Fold since black was the original colour of highland cattle. Even in 1895 when the Highland Cattle Society was formed they still represented over 50% of the cattle registered. Numbers of registered black bulls dropped to nil in the 1940s but has since recovered. We run a black fold within the Borland Fold with Callum Seoladair Dubh 2nd of Killochries (M7249) having been used in 2003 leaving us a lot of good quality black heifers, we then moved on to a home bred bull Black Prince 2nd of Borland (M8891) in 2004 and Albert of St Ingbert (M8026) is being used in 2005.
For the main fold we began by using Joseph of Ardbhan (M8324) from North Uist. He was one of only three dun bulls registered. He is the grandson of the famous Joseph of Cladich and has produced top quality calves of all colours. He has now long since moved on and he was succeded byTalisman 2nd of Glengorm (M8703) produced large beefy bull calves and mainly yellow and white heifers. Talisman was sold in February 2005. After Talisman followed Donnachadh Ruadh of Achnacloich (M7950) an outstanding bull who we kept until the end. The majority of his heifers are all most all are the same lovely dark red colour as Donnachadh. To follow Donnachadh we purchased Neil of Dunvegan in February 06, Neil is quite a character and has managed to get 3 years worth of breeding crammed into 2 years!!! During those two years he left us a higher proportion of heifers to bulls, so after a busy 2 years we decided to move him on. To replace Neil we purchased Hector of Grisiphol at the Oban sale in February 2008. He is a lovely quiet bull with a little tinge of Brindle through him. We are lucky and have got some really nice calves from him.
The History of Our Hebridean Sheep
Hebridean sheep like the wee black cattle of the Highlands (Highland cattle), were numerous in Scotland prior to 1750. However they were small and thrived on poor grazing conditions. The meat was sweet but their high butterfat content milk and fine fleeces resulted in them being kept by the Highlanders as much for their milk and wool as for their meat.
The highland clearances and introduction of larger sheep breeds such as cheviot and black-faced led to the near total demise of these sheep now known as Hebridean sheep. An unusual characteristic of them was that many had multi horns usually four but sometimes more and it was this characteristic that probably saved them from extinction for as can be seen from the photograph of our ram, they are fine looking animals.
The last survivors in the Hebrides were on the island of Uist from which some were taken to Windermere in Cumberland around the 1880s. From there they spread to other stately homes. In this way their survival has largely paralleled that of Highland cattle. The Borland flock has been built around Hebrideans from one such stately home, Harewood House with others from Uist and the island of Lewis. Our original and still going strong, four horned ram is from Windermere itself. The flock comprises 60 pedigree breeding ewes plus ewe lambs and wethers but we plan to increase to 100 ewes following the success of local promotion of their meat.