Breeding Highland cattle on Bute - ‘a hobby that’s gone mad’

Highland cattle breeders Eileen Lawrence and Ronald 'Scooby' McMillan with Bob of Isle of Bute, the two-year-old bull crowned champion of champions at this year's Bute Agricultural Society show.
Highland cattle breeders Eileen Lawrence and Ronald 'Scooby' McMillan with Bob of Isle of Bute, the two-year-old bull crowned champion of champions at this year's Bute Agricultural Society show.
Share this article

Bute Highland cattle breeders Ronald McMillan and Eileen Lawrence have spoken to The Buteman about their passion - and about just what it is that makes the breed so special.

The couple started in 2001 with siblings bought from friends who were leaving the island - and now have around 60 cattle on land around their home at Little Grenach near Rothesay.

“This just started as a hobby,” Ronald - known to just about everybody as Scooby - tells us.

“The couple who owned the Ardbrannan riding centre in the late 1990s, the Rooneys, were retiring and moving away to England, but they had a couple of Highland cows who were looking for a home.

“Eileen’s daughter Sarah-Jane went to the riding school and absolutely loved these two - Mr and Mrs Moo, they were called - and the next thing I knew I was up there getting them.

“In 2002 we had our first calf, Holly, named after the Rooneys’ granddaughter. She’s 13 now - we have 16 or 17 breeding cows today, but about 60 cattle altogether.

“It’s a hobby that’s gone a wee bit mad.”

* Read this story in full in the September 25 edition of The Buteman - on sale now.