As you unpack and cuddle in with your loveable highland coo hot water bottle in your September ‘Coorie’ WeeBox, enjoy this story from the fields of Scotland.
AS THE crystal clear waters around the tiny tidal island of Vallay subside, Carianne MacDonald prepares to make her daily journey over the wet sand. There are only a few hours of opportunity to get there from her family’s North Uist farm.
Surrounded by stunning scenery, she checks the 300-strong herd of cattle grazing on the lush machair pasture, searches for new calves – possibly hiding behind a pure white sand dune – tags new arrivals, grabs a photograph or two for her incredibly busy social media pages and then races back.
A full-time ‘stockwoman’, the 27 year old has responsibility for some of the most valuable Highland cattle in the country. One particularly prized black Highland bull from the Ardbhan fold scooped a record £12,000 at a sale, while others have been in huge demand from eager buyers across Europe. The only full-time worker on the farm, her role is even more unusual because of its breath-taking location – as well as the unique method of Carianne MacDonald and one of her prize herd moving the herd every November from North Uist to the island of Vallay.
The photographs uploaded to her Ardbhan Highland Cattle social media pages gather ‘likes’ from global followers who can’t get enough of the island views, her pink-nosed, long-haired companions or her gentle and sometimes heart-tugging descriptions of crofting life. It is, she says, her ideal job, adding: “I’m living the dream.”