We established the Craigowmill Fold in 1987 with the purchase of 3 heifers from Cladich but Ken's Family have been in Highland Cattle since the early 1900s. His great Uncle , John Christie, won the Bull Championship at Oban twice; first in 1920 with Auchmar of Netherton and latterly with the famous Fearchar of Gartlea in 1942. Fearchar was the grandson of Mairi Ruadh 20th of Atholl who he purchased at the Atholl Dispersal in 1927. Atholl cattle can be traced back to the early 1800s,well before the HC Herdbook was established. Many Highland Bulls exported to America after 1945 were direct descendants of Fearchar.
Ken's father also bred highland cattle from 1932 to 1950 but commercial pressures led to a change in farming policy although there were always a few highland steers on the farm!
We have also changed our farming policy with a reduction in the number of highland cows and diversification into Angus and Shorthorns. However we still have c.50 highland cows, all bred pure.
Our policy is to try to increase the growth rate of highlanders to make them more attractive to commercial farmers but without compromising their looks and style. Good bulls are very important and we were the first to import a bull from overseas with Brogach 1st of Austie in 1998 and then Panther 2nd of Aignerhof from Austria in 2007. Both have left their mark on the Breed but we have also used UK bred bulls purchasing Russell of Balure at Oban in 2005 when he was overall Champion. More recently we used Fear Siridh of Balmoral who has bred a number of high priced heifers at Oban including Female Champion 2017 and our current stock bull Ruaridh 1st of Ubhaidh, RHS Champion 2014.Our only criteria is whether the bull is good enough – where he comes from is not important!
Females are also very important and even with our reduced number of cows we have in excess of 20 female breeding lines.
Please come and see for yourselves. We have a few photos in the Gallery and “For Sale” pages but there is nothing like seeing them on the hill!