Alan McCaig, one of the most influential breeders of Aberdeen-Angus and Charolais cattle from the 1980s and 1990s, died suddenly recently. He was 70.

A third generation of a mining and quarrying family from the Central Belt, Alan started farming at Woodside, Cambusbarron, near Stirling, where he established the Cambusbarron herds of Angus, at one time Highland, and latterly Charolais cattle.

He was most influential in the late 1980s and early 1990s, winning championships and inter-breed titles throughout the UK and was one of a very few breeders who bought their way into cattle breeding, then won just about everything there was to win, before leaving with a successful dispersal, where records were broken, in 1993.

His most successful run of trophy winning came in the '90s centred around the giant bull – for that time – Early Sunset Coalition, which he had imported from Canada along with Tom Adam, of Greenyards, Stirling.

With the production of his cattle left in the hands of legendary stockman, Dave Smith, the cattle were always turned out to perfection, with Coalition winning the Highland, Great Yorkshire and Royal shows, the latter of which saw him win the inter-breed in 1991 and be the heaviest bull in the show yard, hitting the scales at 1550kg – though Dave Smith was later to recount that he also a had a foot on the scales!

Along with his wife, Val – the 'brakes' of the outfit – the team also conquered Smithfield and one of their most cherished wins was the King’s Cup for the best home-bred pure-bred animal. The apres show exploits in London became a thing of legend and the team from Woodside were also strong supporters and funsters at some of the more local events.

He wasn’t a particularly good loser, but he made that a secondary consideration by winning most of the time.

When the Cambusbarron herds were dispersed in July 16, 1993, it was no surprise that they hit the headlines again, with auctioneer, David Leggate, from UA, conducting the sale.

Set that day was a new A-A female record of 9000gns for the cow Edwina 2 of Cambusbarron, which went back to the Newhouse Edwinas.

Also buying were Ian and Robbie Galloway, of Scotbeef, who were building the new and quickly successful Cardona Angus herd.

One of their purchases, Precious Pollot of Greenyards – bred by Tom Adam – was bought for the third top on the day of 6500gns. She was a proven breeder that had produced one of the first five-figure bulls for many years when Victor Wallace paid 10,000gns for Cambusbarron Proud Punch and a herd sister, Precious Pollot, won the Royal as a two-year-old.

Another beast sold that day went on to be one of the most acclaimed Charolais cows of all time in the UK. Cambusbarron Faye was bought for 5500gns at the sale by John and Andrew Hornall, from Falleninch. She went on to win inter-breed after inter-breed for the Hornalls and, in fact, in the foot-and-mouth-year of 2001, she was voted the best inter-breed winner of all time by the readers of The Scottish Farmer in a virtual show.

Another prolific winner for Cambusbarron was the Charolais stock bull, Advie Fred, bred by the late Jimmy McConachie, from Strathspey. He won many a trophy and ended up on one of the best commercial herds on Islay where he did very well.

He was, though, first and foremost, a family man and he is survived by Val, and his sons Colin, Gordon and Douglas, plus their wives and children.