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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
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,
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
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
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."