The distinctive blue and red livestock lorries based in Kelso in the Scottish Borders, running under the name Arthur Redpath Transport (AR Transport), now have the third generation of the family coming through.

Founder of this kenspeckle business, Arthur, grew up in Newton St Boswells, conveniently next door to the then John Swan’s livestock market, where he would spend most of his time after school and at every opportunity he got.

This is where his passion for working with livestock and lorries began and it remains an important source of business for the company. He knew the career he wanted and he then went on to gain 20 years of experience at livestock hauliers, R and W Young, Kirk Yetholm, going on to become joint transport manager alongside Dennis Young, so he knew the industry inside and out before starting up on his own.


The Scottish Farmer:

THE FIRST painted lorry carrying the AR Transport name – a link to when the company began


In 1994, Arthur – with the great help of his late wife, Iris – had an opportunity to start up their own firm and purchased a lorry of his own – a four-wheeled, double decker for sheep or a one deck cattle lorry.

With vast knowledge already ingrained in his DNA, demand soon became overwhelming. That led to the purchase of a second lorry just 10 months later, in which his younger brother, Johnny, drove – and he is still with the company more than 25 years later!

From there, the business began to grow to where it is today with further staff required along the way. It remains very much a family affair now, consisting of three generations – Arthur, his daughter, Balinda Ball and his two grandsons, Scott Redpath and Bruce Henderson.


The Scottish Farmer:

FAMILY OUTFIT the AR Transport team with drivers and fleet of lorries Ref:RH031020429


Balinda joined the company in 2003 to take on the business admin’ and accounts side of things, initially as a part time role alongside her mum, Iris and in later years this became a full time position as the business transitioned from being a Partnership to a Limited Company.

Scott and Bruce both left school at the age of 16 to be put through their paces by their grandfather and learning the ropes of driving by sitting passenger.

Scott passed his test through the young driver scheme to become a Category C licence holder at just 18 and a C+E licence holder at just 20. Bruce, five years younger than his brother, followed on by also achieving his Category C licence by 18 and becoming one of the first in livestock haulage to pass their C+E licence at the younger approved age of 18.

The Scottish Farmer:

Two of the Daf artic power units Ref:RH031020427  

“By the time I came along, the legal requirements recently changed so that anyone could sit their test at the age of 18 without having to go through the young drivers scheme,” said Bruce.

“This was dropped purely due to the shortage of drivers there are in the industry, to try and encourage more younger drivers to the job. That was perfect for me, as after two years of being passenger and learning so much, I was ready for the road myself.”

The team currently operates three artic’ lorries, with three trailers which Scott, Bruce and Johnny drive, with David Sinclair driving a rigid and Greg Notman driving the waggon and drag trailer to cover their work.


The Scottish Farmer:

ALL LORRIES are professionally sign written Ref:RH031020434


“As a small family business we treat our drivers as part of the family too and we can’t thank them enough for their service to us. At the end of the day, they are the people representing us on farms and it means a lot when we hear good feedback from customers,” said Scott.

The majority of the fleet are Daf lorries due to having a local dealership, JE Douglas, of Duns, on the doorstep, and which also provides AR Transport with their maintenance services.

“They are a family company like us and they provide an excellent service. We keep a close relationship with them and their staff allow us into the workshops to gain more experience in understanding our vehicles,” said Bruce.

Scott added: “Breakdowns are no use to us when we are carrying livestock. We always need to keep to strict times and deadlines. We run a tight ship and can do without problems.

“We have tried to minimise this by buying newer equipment to give us more reliability, as well as providing a better service for our customers”.


The Scottish Farmer:

A DAF XF unit with the Plowman two-deck cattle trailer Ref:RH031020442


Among the fleet, the family run two Houghton Parkhouse sheep and cattle decks, one Plowman cattle deck and two J and P Dunn decks on the rigids and one on the drag.

“The J and P Dunn decks work really well for us on the rigids because they are versatile. We can move the gates to any size of pen to accommodate our loads of cattle and sheep. When we are mixing loads and taking different livestock numbers it comes in handy,” pointed out Bruce.

Scott added: “The recent purchases of the brand new Houghton four-deck sheep, two-deck cattle, as well as the second hand drag trailer with deck, has made a big difference to us.

The Scottish Farmer:

THE DAF XF power unit with the Houghton Parkhouse Professional four-deck livestock transporter for sheep Ref:RH031020430


“With the extra trailer behind the rigid to help when bigger loads come on, freeing up an artic’ sometimes and the ease of working with the new artic’ trailer, it has been much easier to plan out the work as well as working with the better equipment,” he added.

The majority of AR Transport’s work is in the Scottish and English Borders, as well as East Lothian, but they do haul from all over to meet their customers needs and requirements. Most of the work is leading in and out of auction marts and into abattoirs.

The peak times of year run from March to May and then August to December. This time of year, there are a lot of breeding and store sales going on as well as the fat cattle and sheep, which work all year round.

“Spring is our favourite time, as we tend to be busier for clients moving livestock off farm and into fields, bringing them out after the winter. It’s a great sight to see the livestock bursting with life going out to grass,” said Scott.

The Scottish Farmer:

Daf CF six wheeler  for all the smaller jobs to be more practical    Ref:RH031020437 


The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has not had a huge effect on the business itself. Trade has still been steady throughout, but there were, of course, precautions taken during lockdown and there still are, with personal PPE kits placed in each lorry with soap, water containers, gloves and masks – to help keep all their staff safe.

“The livestock we handle were still required to be moved. Farming still continued, so it was important for us to support our customers and continue to offer our service,” said Bruce.

Scott added: “The only downside is we are no longer allowed in the rings at the auction markets, so it makes it difficult for us to manage the lorries needed to cover specific sales. We try our best to stay in contact with our customers throughout the day, to ensure we can cover all needs at the end of the day.”

The Scottish Farmer:

THE DAF XF power unit with the Houghton Parkhouse Professional four-deck livestock transporter for sheep Ref:RH031020430


The team manage their system well and there is a lot of planning and work that goes into the operation behind closed doors. Arthur is still very much involved taking some phone calls and attending local markets when he can.

AR Transport, nevertheless, has a strong future in front of them, with the younger generation already through and dedicated to support the future of the business. The team are ever growing in strength and experience and are always ready for any challenge that comes their way.

“We love what we do and we wouldn’t change it for the world. We are very lucky to have had the opportunity to work alongside our grandfather as well as going on to run it with him. Haulage will always be needed in some way, we just need to continue to adapt and change to suit our customer’s needs,” concluded Scott and Bruce.

Arthur finished with: “I am very proud of my daughter and two grandsons, and it gives me great pleasure to see them taking on the reins and following in Iris and I’s footsteps doing what they love.”

Jokingly, he added: “But they still have some big boots to fill.”


The Scottish Farmer:

THE FLEET is mainly DAF lorries, but one is a Scania Ref:RH031020426