Ardnamurchan Highland cattle breeder Michael Macgregor always joked he made more from photographing his cows than selling them.
That all changed this week when the Macgregor family’s three-year-old heifer, Anna of Eilean Mor, walked straight off her rough Ardnamurchan hill and into the Oban sale ring to make the breed’s top price of 8,000gns.
Mr Macgregor, a professional photographer, and his wife Karen run just 10 cows at Port an Airseig in Glenborrodale, Acharacle, and the animals feature in his annual calendars.
However, Anna, in calf to Tiree bull Harris of Balemartine, caught the eye of Richmond farmer Julia Carr and is now on her way to Marrick Park, North Yorkshire.
Mr Macgregor said: “We keep Highlanders because they’re the most practical cattle in our landscape.
Our previous best price was 3,000gns, so we’re thrilled today.”
Mrs Macgregor added the cattle also acted as a conservation tool by grazing parts of the hill that are protected for the Marsh Fritillary butterfly.
She said: “We’re very keen on the environment, so it’s a pleasure to have the animals benefiting nature in this way.
“It takes at least 20 years to build up good blood lines but we’re now starting to see names from our fold in catalogues and that’s pleasing.”
German breeder Falko Steinberg bought a selection of females for his growing fold, including the breed champion, Heather 12th of Tordarroch, from Farr, for 5,500gns.
At 5,000gns, the Browns from Ledlanet, Kinross sold Sine Dhubh 7th of Craigowmill to Julia Carr.
Other leading prices included 4,000gns for June 21st of Hyndford from Lanarkshire breeder Alan Prentice and 3,000gns for the Browns’ Victoria 22nd of Craigowmill. Both were bought by Balnagowan Estate.
Averages: Seven three-year-olds ave £3,750; seven two-year-olds ave £2,625; 17 yearlings ave £1,173.52; 20 heifer calves ave £918.75; four bull calves ave £603.75; and eight unhaltered calves ave £462.
The Jedderfield fold was dispersed after the main sale, with five cows and calves averaging £1291.50 and five cows £540.75.