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The below media release from the Highland Livestock Heritage Society explains why this statue was commissioned. Thanks to David Henderson for giving permission to use the media release and the image.

"Statue unveiling 'does justice at last to the Highland drovers'

Through centuries of Scottish history, from the crofts, glens and straths of the Highlands and Islands, they herded cattle hundreds of miles to markets in the south.

This unique annual migration of livestock, and the unsung heroes who performed it, was remembered today (Thursday) with the unveiling of a life-sized statue of a Highland drover, a Highland bull and a collie dog, outside Dingwall Auction Mart.

The ₤65,000 statue by Perthshire artist Lucy Poett commemorates the drovers and completes a project aimed at rekindling their memory for future generations.

Janet Bowen, Lord Lieutenant of Ross and Cromarty, unveiled the statue before members of the Highland Livestock Heritage Society, a charity specifically formed to honour the drovers, some of whom carried their expertise overseas to develop the fledgling livestock industries of the United States, Canada, South America, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

Society president David Henderson, Inverness, said:

Lucy's statue has superbly fulfilled our best hopes and will define Dingwall as a historic market town, whose links with the drovers goes back centuries.

The statue will be floodlit at night and will be an icon for the area as well as a tourist attraction.

This completes an ₤150,000 fundraising campaign which in 2008 resulted in the Princess Royal officially opening a permanent exhibition and an archive, now at Highland Archive Centre in Inverness, in hard copy and digital form so that it can be accessed globally, to the life and times of these remarkable people.

We feel that at last, we have done justice to the drovers. The archive saves letters, maps and photographs of a kind which were in danger of disappearing. The statue is a monument marking their formidable spirit and resilience, and those of their animals.

These were a very special breed of men, tough and rough and ready entrepreneurs who secured the only hard cash in what was a subsistence economy in the Highlands. Rob Roy, for instance, was a drover.

They collected cattle from the Western Isles, Skye or the far North and walked them hundreds of miles to market in all weathers. They took them to the huge cattle trysts at Crieff or Falkirk where huge sums changed hands, while some walked their herds all the way to London to secure best price.

Their skills brought about a Scottish livestock industry. Many of them became cowboys and major ranchers in the U.S. Wild West.

Initially, it was generally short-horned black cattle, smaller than modern breeds, which went on droves. They were bred to survive hard winters and the long drive to market. During the Victorian era, larger reddish-brown longhorns—now known as Highland cattle—were developed for the drove.

The largest donor for the project, David Sutherland, chief executive of Tulloch Homes, who donated ₤20,000, attended the unveiling and said:

"until the arrival of the railways in the late 1800s, the droving trade was the lifeblood of the Highland economy."

The animal qualities essential to the drover, and his customers, included resilience and tender, flavoursome meat, and the drover's legacy today is Scotland's world-famous livestock industry.

People should be reminded of the drovers' story and the statue is ideally located. The Society have done a wonderful job in bringing to completion something which informs and educates Highlanders and visitors alike about the droving tradition and its associated culture.

Other key donors include Hector McCallum in New Zealand, Lord Gough, Freda Newton, Iain Graham and John R. MacLean and a host of smaller donations from individuals in addition to contributions from bodies such as Awards for All and Highland Council's Legacy Fund.

At the exhibition opening in July 2008, The Princess Royal said:

"I have nothing but admiration for what the drovers achieved and I thank the Society very much for what it has done to herald their achievements."

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