A few years ago, there was reports of a gentleman trundling along the A91 in his disability scooter.
When asked where he was going, he replied “home”.
Jim Lawrie, Cuthill Towers, Milnathort, who has died in his 92nd year, had been at Kinross Show and had not been ready to go home when his family had suggested the idea.
Later he decided that the seven miles was achievable so set off at his own pace only to be traced two miles from home by his family and given a lift back to the farm.
While that incident demonstrated Jim’s determined streak despite being largely confined to his mobility scooter in recent years, it gives no clue to him being one of the most respected and successful dairy cattle breeders in the country.
He was born and brought up on the family farm at Bearsden and like many children of dairy farmers in those days, he helped out on the milk round before heading off to school.
Thus, from his early days, he was involved in dairy cattle and in Jim’s case, Scotland’s own breed, Ayrshires.
This passion for the brown and white cattle culminated in him being appointed as one of the Ayrshire Cattle Society’s honorary presidents in 2018.
Some 30 years earlier, he had served as president of the society and, using skills and knowledge picked up over many years, he also was in great demand as a judge in the UK and Ireland.
He did not neglect the social aspects of his role as president as he helped organise Ayrshire cattle society conferences and along with his wife, Jessie, he enjoyed holidays travelling the world on Ayrshire cattle society tours.
Long before, Jim had been an active member of Loch Lomond Young Farmers’ Club and as such enjoyed socialising with fellow young farmers.
He claimed he had been popular mainly because he was able to source fuel through a slightly dubious source during petrol rationing.
This made his farm cattle float a very popular taxi service to young farmers’ meetings and events.
Jim met Jessie Templeton at a young farmers’ dance in the Grand Hall in Kilmarnock and they married in June 1955 before settling down to life at Cuthill Towers.
This life included the setting up of the Cuthill Towers herd in the same year. Jim was an outstanding stockman with an incredible ability to identify cow families that would improve his herd.
One of his early purchases went on to give him his first Highland Show champion in 1963.
Gradually he built up the reputation of Cuthill Towers cattle as one of the top herds in the country.
In the mid 1970s while in Canada, he identified the potential in their cattle.
Using pioneering developments in artificial insemination and embryo transplants he was the first to import Canadian Ayrshire genetics into the UK.
Many of the cattle family lines he brought in are still in the Cuthill Towers herd book with one of his favourites having a heifer calf on the day of his funeral.
Jim liked nothing better than giving guided tours round the herd at Cuthill Towers with parties coming from all round the world to see some of the best cattle in the country.
He was a great ambassador for young farmers, acting as a host and trainer for many successful stock judging teams.
One highlight from this support came in 1968 when he trained the Fife and Kinross winning team at the Highland Show.
This was the last team to win the competition before it moved to its current format, a fact recognised when it was celebrated by SAYFC on their 50th anniversary at the Highland Show in 2018.
Jim also encouraged younger children to become involved in exhibiting livestock and he liked nothing better than seeing them parade their calves at Kinross show.
Through his encouragement and enthusiasm, there would often be a full ring of youthful exhibitors in the young handlers. The show was so encouraged by Jim’s enthusiasm that they started young handlers’ classes.
That same enthusiasm saw him become involved in a whole range of organisations, including, along with Jessie, Milnathort Bridge Club.
This card playing extended to having people round where the visit was not complete without playing a game of bridge or some other less card game.
Jessie died last year but Jim is survived by their four children, Arthur, George Jen and Irene, their spouses, 11 grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.