Auldgirth and Belted Galloways

aview 1

Last week we were at Low Kirkbride Farm near Auldgirth in Dumfries and Galloway, Scottish Border country. It’s a very remote part of Scotland, very nice to visit but I don’t think I would want to live in such a far-flung rural place. I’m not one for the bright lights but I do like to feel that I can easily get to a big metropolis easily when the fancy strikes me.

Auldgirth view 3 + cow

Peggy has a thing about cows, and Belted Galloways in particular which is why she chose to rent a teeny cottage in this area for a few days, as the farmer here seems to be one of the very few who still breed ‘Belties’. They’re very placid and we were assured that we could walk through the fields containing them and their calves with no worries at all – and we survived! I wouldn’t have chanced going too close to them though and we gave the field where the bull lived a very wide berth.

acows 4 + P

As you can see from the photo above Peggy was keen to get up close to this unusual Beltie which is a sort of honey colour with a cream belt rather than the more ususal white and black ones. That cow was having a rest from being pregnant or nurturing a calf for a few months before that beast of a bull got near her again. I suppose you could say she was having a bit of a holiday too, but she was missing her calf as it had just been taken to a neighbouring farm.

geese

We had a bit of a discussion as to whether these birds were geese or ducks – that proves we aren’t much use at this farming malarkey. Whatever they were they were very comical and if they are geese then they were also very well behaved. The white geese that I remember from my childhood that guarded the whisky barrels whilst the whisky inside them matured for several years were violent maniacs that you certainly didn’t want to mess with. The same kind that guarded ancient Rome I suppose.

cows 2

Poor things, they were a couple of very disgruntled ladies and they lost interest in us when they realised we didn’t have their calves. They’ll be pregnant again soonish though – it’s a hard life being a cow you know. Belted Galloways were in danger of dying out until recent times and I think there are still only about 1500 of them in the UK but their numbers have been slowly increasing which is a good thing as it would be a shame to see the end of these quiet and distinctive animals.

12 thoughts on “Auldgirth and Belted Galloways

  1. That looks like very nice farmland, so green for the time of year.
    The ducks are Khaki Campbells, I think.
    There are Belted Galloways in NZ, I imagine I could find some within half an hour’s drive of home 🙂

      • Valerie,
        Peggy says they’re nick-named Oreos in the US too! I think those biscuits are fairly new additions in our supermarkets and I’ve not been tempted to try them – too many others that I definitely do like and someone told me they are icky sweet.

    • Valerie,
      I’m so impressed with your duck knowledge, I’ve never even heard of Khaki Campbells!
      It seems there are far more Belted Galloways elsewhere nowadays. We just visited author James Oswald at his farm in Fife yesterday and he said that those Belties have a reputation for being quite bad-tempered and nasty so I suppose that would put a lot of people off from keeping them. He has Highland cattle, very placid.

  2. What a beautiful place! I would love it! I do know what you mean about wanting to be in striking distance of a metropolis but given the option, I’d still go for rural idyll every time. (I may eat my words come mid-winter…)

    I love those cows too; I’ve never heard of that breed before. We too are in cattle country and the main breeds here seem to be limousins and Charolais: a rich brown and all white respectively. The calves are still here but I expect them to be taken any time now, sadly. That said, the bulls have completed their work I think so another generation is already on its way.

    I do love cows…. just not enough to join them in their field.

    I’m so enjoying seeing these beautiful and varied regions of Scotland, Katrina!

    • Sandra,
      We went from the Borders up to the Highlands, very different scenery as you’ll see soon.

      I hope that in Cornwall you won’t have bad winters, but our weather seems to be all over the place nowadays. You can always wrap up against the cold, and get a multi-fuel stove if it is cold!

  3. I always enjoy your posts out and about in Scotland. Such gorgeous photos. One day I am going to make it there.

    We recently vacationed in rural New York and I had the same thoughts about living the country idyll versus being near conveniences. I go back and forth but your photos could almost convince me to go for the rural life.

    • Jennifer,
      Ideally I would like to live in the country but half an hour from a city. It’s what I had as I was growing up in the west of Scotland, the best of both worlds.

  4. I live in the suburbs of Washington D.C. but grew up in Maine, and sometimes I find myself wishing I lived someplace rural or at least a small town. However, there are a lot of things I enjoy about living in such a highly populated area.

    I find most geese rather scary. There are Canadian geese that hang out around my work building, and when I talk a walk outside during nesting season, they have take a run at me, hissed, etc.

    • Christy,

      I think it must be hard for kids growing up in rural isolation, but I suppose if that is all they are used to then they will be quite happy – until they become teenagers!

      That hissing as they lunge at you is terrifying.

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