IT WAS a very different atmosphere for the autumn sale of Highland cattle in Oban, with Covid-19 regulations taking away from that special 'Highland' feeling usually felt in the mart.

Obviously, it was lot quieter than normal, with only vendors and buyers allowed to attend, but despite this the sale went well, with most lots sold, including a run of unhaltered older cows off Ardura Estate, on Mull, which were bid to 1400gns.

Sale leader, at 3400gns, was Nighean Ruadh of Shellachan, from Duncan Buchanan, Shenavallie, Benderloch. Bred by Lt Col Colin Stewart Winter out of Proiseag 3 of Stair, it was by Neil Ruadh of Shenavallie and sold in calf to Geason Dubh of Shenavllie. She headed home to Fintry with new fold owner, Euan MacMillan, Lurg and Townhead Farms.

The Scottish Farmer:

Queenzie Strickland's Lady Jane White 3 of Cladich made 3000gns

Next best, at 3000gns, was a young heifer calf from Mrs Queenie Strickland’s Cladich fold. This was Lady Jane White 3 of Cladich, a daughter of Dochie 1 of Gartocharn, out of Lady Jane White of Cladich, sold to Little Keills Holdings.

Tom Nelson’s Glengorm fold, from Mull, then got 2700gns for the three-year-old heifer, Barabel Ban Flath 22 of Glengorm. By Craigowl 7 of Glamis Castle, out of Ailsa 1 of Glengorm, she was sold in-calf to Philip of Richmondhill and knocked down to Neil McLellan, Kilchiaran, Islay.

Annan-based haulier, Andrew Ewing, went to 2200gns for the three-year-old heifer Hannah of Rannoch, from Donald and Malcolm MacNaughton, Kelty, Fife. Her sire is a previous reserve champion at Oban, which was sold to Germany for 6000gns. She sold in calf to MacSaul of Balmoral and was by Douglas of Rannoch.

Demi 6 of Cladich, a red two-year-old heifer from the Stricklands' fold and again by Dochie of Gartocharn, was another heading home with the MacLellans to Islay at 2000gns. She came with the added bonus of two straws of semen from K2 of Cladich, the male champion from the society's bull sales in February, 2020, which had sold for 6500gns, with some semen retained.

HCS president, Sir Jim Paice, commented: "Given that we had to abandon the usual show the sale was well worthwhile and proves that there is a good demand for good Highland cattle.”

Averages: three heifer calves, £1995; three yearling heifers, £1330; four three-year-old heifers, £2677.50. Ardura fold, £1184.40 for 16.

Auctioneers: United Auctions.