Highland Cows from Jura

The herd of Highland Cows at Persabus came from the Isle of Jura. Initially the highland cows were bought for our young clan. One for each child, and one for the Happy Farmer.

It is an exciting time on the farm with the birth of new calves

and the fields filled with heavily pregnant sheep. The Happy Farmer is hoping those ladies keep their legs firmly crossed for a few more weeks as the temperature has taken another dip, and we are getting all four seasons in a day. Heavy hailstorms give way to bright sunshine and then, even the Paps of Jura were covered in a peppering of snow this morning.

The Happy Farmer was away on business last week

Of course, such business trips and commutes to work come with a whole different set of values and meanings when your home is in the Hebrides. This trip involved a bit of an ‘island-hopping adventure’ seeing the Happy Farmer returning later in the day with a huge grin on that happy face and the promise of two Highland girls to follow.

The commute involved a fifteen-minute ferry journey

across the rolling blue seas of the Sound of Islay onboard the sturdy ‘Eilean Dhiura’. With the hearty craic of the ferry crew to keep him entertained on the short crossing, not to mention their fabulous Tunnock’s teacakes, which the Happy Farmer was soon munching his way through, and, before he knew it, the ropes were being tied at Feolin and it was time to disembark.

A landrover, and one Happy Jura man at the ready, and the Happy Farmer was soon trundling along a peat clad gravel road, down a very steep incline, across a rickety bridge, which brought him to the foot of the Paps of Jura. His colleagues in attendance at the meeting happened to be a large group of hairy Highland girls who were more than a little delighted to see one Happy Farmer and one Happy Jura man arriving with a large bag of cake especially for them. Having walked round the assembled group, studying those girls from head to toe with a careful eye, the Happy Farmer selected his favourite two, who would be following him back to Persabus in a few days.

Those two lovely Highland ladies have yet to be named but are settling in well. Markus the bull is their best friend as they all gather around the silage feeding ring. Happily, they are in calf already, and with Markus being a White Bred Bull, ‘friends’ is all he will hopefully ever get to be. The Happy Farmer will be mating these girls with a pure Highland bull later in the year. He opted to buy black highland cows as they are the original native breed of the Hebrides. The ginger highland cows evolved at a later stage when breeding programmes were introduced to make for a slightly larger highland cow which would provide more meat.

Each morning then the Happy Farmer pops by to check on the girls

along with a shake of their favourite bag of cake. Please note this is not the traditional sponge kind of a cake, so if you do happen to be along visiting our lovely Highland girls, know they will not thank you for a Mary Berry ‘classic’. At the farmhouse on the other hand, sponge cake is always very welcome indeed, especially if the Happy Farmer just happens to be on his coffee or tea break. The cake for these cows is a compound of barley, minerals, treacle and so on. Through feeding them the Happy Farmer can get to know them and is already aware that one of these ladies appears to have a very ‘mischievous twinkle’ in her eyes. He is already having to be on his guard around her, as on seeing him arrive, she duly skips and dances the highland fling around him. She is a character, and a half, I think the Happy Farmer has met his match. It is going to be fun watching this character settle into her new home on the farm.

Hopefully soon we will be able to offer you all a warm welcome back to Persabus where you can meet our new ladies in person.

Until next time…