A wild and rugged attraction

A Highland bull

A Highland bull

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Tourists in Scotland may yearn to see a golden eagle, osprey or red deer stag, but most are happy to settle for this hairy, red-bearded Highlander with its impressive horn span and fashionable nose ring.

Meet the Highland Bull! What a looker – this handsome and noble native Scot!

Contrary to his wild impression, most “Highlanders” I have met are fairly calm and sedate, though any farmer takes great care when handling or moving a long-horned breed such as this.

Back in the days of cattle droving, herds were walked many miles along rough drove roads through high mountain passes to market towns where annual sales would host lively fairs,drinking and merry making!

At that time most Highland cattle were black.

In time, the familiar long flowing red locks we have come to know and love became more popular.

In fact, so popular that farmers cannot keep this breed in some roadside fields for fear of causing traffic jams as tourists pull in to take photographs.

It seems no Scottish holiday is complete without a curly coo selfie!

Of course, this native bovine has evolved and been bred to cope with whatever weather a Scottish winter can chuck at it.

Furthermore, the breed can survive perfectly well on sparse hill grasses and heathers, happily digging down through snow to find this scant fodder.

So, the hairy coo does not just look wild and rugged, he IS wild and rugged.

All in all our national coo is like our “other” national drink, made in Scotland… from girders!

By George Hogg, Hogg Estate Services (Wildlife Management)