Averages: 15 two-year-old bulls, £3234 (+£552.19 for four more sold; five yearling bulls, £1491 (+£891 for two fewer; three senior heifers, £3710 (+60 for the same number); three senior heifers, 13 three-year-old heifers, £2011.15 (-£351.35 for five more); five two-year-old heifers, £1039.50 (-380.50, for five less); 19 yearling heifers, £1065.47 (+5.47 for four more).

THE HIGHLAND cattle bull trade held up well at the breed's annual spring bull sale in Oban this week, with bulls selling to 6800gns and averages well up across the board.

Females, though, proved a bit stickier, despite the fact that there was some strong export demand for the better end of them. These sold to 5000gns for the female champion.

Leading the sale for the second consecutive year was Angus and Michelle MacDonald, Ardbhan, North Uist, with Muran Vallay of Ardbhan, a three year-old son of Gilleaspuig of Tiretigan, which had also sired last year's sale topper, the 11,000gns Muran Erchie of Ardbhan.

Along with their son, Fraser and his wife, Carrianne, the day again proved successful for the MacDonalds' 80-cow Ardbhan fold, which is one of the biggest pure herds in the UK. This red bull was third in his class.

Though he'd made the long journey from Uist, he was not moving far from Oban mart having been bought by Nicolás Ibáñez Scott, for the 1500-acre Kilchoan Estate, just south of the mart. The Chilean-born entrepreneur's farm manager, Alan Bosomworth, made the top call for him to be the new stock sire for the nine-cow Kilchoan fold, which is being used for conservation management on the estate.

Mr Scott is no stranger to Highland cattle, though, having a fold of 120 cows on his farming operation in Chile. The aim at Kilchoan, which is on the shores of Loch Melfort, is to build up a quality fold which will be used to manage the rough grazing on the estate.

Jon Strickland, who is part of Mr Scott's management team, also had a very successful day at the sale. Along with his wife, Queenie, their Cladich fold took the championship for the first time for that fold since 1961, when it was owned by the Fellowes family.

Their show success and a 6500gns price tag came for K2 of Cladich, a brindle two-year-old superbly brought out by stockman, Stuart Campbell. This is one of the first crop to come to sale off the 9500gns Campbell of Tilbouries which is the made stock sire to the 35-cow fold. "His mother is definitely one of the best breeding cows in the herds," said Stuart – that's Lady Jane 3 of Cladich, a daughter of Aonghas of An Sidhean. The buyer was Robert Phillips, Green Farm, Hellifield, Skipton, N Yorks.

The Ardbhan team were on the other side of the sale ring to pay 5000gns for the first prize-winning Hector of Balnabroich, from Lord and Lady, Michael and Sally Nairn, from Strathardle, Blairgrowrie. Brought out by Alex Smith, with a little help from Bob McWalter, this one is by Ruadh Nero of Seam and out of Sidonia 8 of Ormsary, a daughter of Hamish Mhor 2 of Callachally.

Making the same money was Hector of Earn from Mrs Heather Corrigall, Culnaha, Nigg. This was the junior champion at Dalmally last summer and male champion at the 'National' show.

A son of Angus Ruadh of Wester Croachy and out of the Brogash 1 of Auchtenny daughter, Magaida 1 of Earn, he's off to work with David Smith, Flowery Brae, Memsie, Fraserburgh.

Another at 5k was the reserve male champion, Brogach 5 of Craigowmill, from Ken and Eva Brown, Ledlanet, Kinross. This one was brought out by herdsman Malcolm McNaughton and was sired by the 2014 Royal Highland champion, Ruaridh of Ubhaidh and out of Una Dubh 6 of Craigowmill, which in turn is by Gille Dubh 3 of Craigowmill.

Stuart MacKay, herd manager for the Schuster family's Glenstrae fold at Duiletter, Glenkinglass, near Dalmally, put the final bid in for this two-year-old.

There were also three bulls at 3500gns.

First of those was the two-year-old red bull, Archie of Glengoyne, from Ewan MacKay, Killin. By Fear Siridh of Balmoral and out of Oighrig Ruadh 2 of Glengoyne, this took the fancy of Craig Finnie, buying for his Richmondhill fold, at Peterhead, Aberdeenshire.

Maureen Macarthur and John Ashton, Newhouse, Heights of Incvannie, Strathpeffer, got the same for Tobermory of Allanfearn, from Richard De Klee, Auchnacraig, Lochdon, Mull. This two-year-old red is by Rob Ruadh of Gartchonzie and out of Caileag Bheag 25 of Callachally.

A black yearling bull from Hamish Irvine's Craigluscar fold, also made 3500gns when selling to Iain and Sheena Graham's Killochries fold, at Kilmacolm, Renfrewshire. The black gene comes from his sire, Angus Dubh of Savalmhor, while his dam was Lorna of Craigluscar.

Craigowmill's female champion led the way in the female section for the Browns. The classy lassie Diorbhail Dubh 3 of Craigowmill is another successful black-coated daughter of Seamus Dubh of Craigowmill – a sire which also bred four of the top heifers at Oban last October and the reserve female champion from last February.

Out of Diorbhail 2 of Knockendon, this four-year-old sold in calf to Lasgaire 21 Vom Lehstener Moor, a bull bred by long-time breed enthusiast, Falko Steinberg, from Germany. In fact, Herr Steinberg put the winning bid to get the champion.

Black also proved popular for the Grahams' Killochries fold, which got the second top female price of 4800gns for Baravalla Mina Calum of Killochries, a three-year-old daughter of Calum Dubh of Killochries. Out of one of the strongest families in the herd, she made the money to Italian breeder, Donatella Acella.

Balnabroich's reserve female champion, Sidonia 7 of Balnabroich, came next with a 3000gns price tag when selling to Donald Dempster. Shown for the fold as both a yearling and a two-year-old, she's by 'Grizzly' (Cliadhamh Mor of Balmoral) a bull which is now at Pollok.

Success at Oban for the Thomson family was tempered by the news that Tom Thomson, a former breed president, passed away in his sleep on the night after the Oban sale.

He was proud of the consistent trade he'd had on the sale day, with one at 3000gns, one at 2800gns and one at 2500gns.

The dearest of those was Anabladh 12 of Woodneuk, a black three-year-old by Jock 14 of Woodneuk which sold to Danish breeder, Marco Oldenhoff.

Her yellow herd mate, which was next in the catalogue, Bachy 45 of Woodneuk, was by Fergus Ruadh of Woodneuk and sold for 2500gns to Stuart Brown, North Bradley, Trowbridge, while earlier the black four-year-old Ruthaig 5 of Woodneuk, by Alasdair 4 of Woodneuk, made 2800gns to JC Dickson, Springhill, Berwick-upon-Tweed.

* Best young handler was Emily Anderson, from Tiree, who gets as her prize to lead the parade carrying the banner at the Royal Highland Show this summer. She won the senior class before going on the beat the winner of the juniors, Joanna Greaves, for the overall.