A “not so” typical day on the croft for Commissioner, Billy Neilson.

Crofting Commission portraitsThe picture below is of six heifer calves, who in 5 seconds flat managed to cause absolute mayhem.

To identify the culprits, from the left Wave, Billys cattlenext to her is Wake, facing you is Wanda, next to her is Waive, hidden on the right is Wait and right in the corner at the back is Walls. The calves names over the last couple of years have been Gaelic, but with the 2017 Year letter being W, I couldn’t find Gaelic names.

The scene as it unfolded was one that every crofter who has cattle can visualise. Walking peacefully behind them the cattle strolled quietly along the track towards the shed, cattle and sheep pens (fanks is how most of you will know them).

Now, there was an opportunity to sneak through a gap in the stone wall, which handy enough gives you entry to the Big House gardens and woodland walks but as they have never shown interest in it before I didn’t give it a second thought.  Oh, how wrong I was!

Wave led the way and living up to her name was waving her tail in the air as she and her 5 accomplices disappeared through the gap.  I took off in hot pursuit although it wasn’t difficult to know the direction they had travelled by the screams from the walkers who were out for a pleasant stroll and by the way those people sprinted past me fleeing in the opposite direction.  They didn’t believe me when I told them the calves were really pets!

A troop of herders, including me, fellow crofter George, a non-terrified walker, Dougie and my daughter who got an S.O.S. phone call for assistance all headed after the cattle.

After a lap around the ‘Big House’, through the raised beds, which they didn’t even attempt to jump, round the side of the fish pond (thank goodness, could you imagine them going for a swim, it’s plastic and only 6 feet in diameter) and finally back onto the track and into the shed, full of innocence at all the fuss. Although I’m sure there was a smug smirk on their faces.

To the ‘Big House’ people, I just professed and admitted, diminished responsibility.  I was left breathless, but never swore (well! not much!).

I’m sure they just wanted to leave me with a lasting memory as Wait was going to a new home on the Island of Bute, Wave, Wake and Walls were off to a farm near Luss on Loch Lomond.  All of these calves will become cows on the various farms, with Wanda and Waive staying at home to become stock cows.  Although if they fancy disappearing through any more “gaps” then maybe they will be looking for a new home as well!!