Friday, 3 October 2014

The Mull Cattle Sale

The Mull Cattle Sale.  The last time we went to this sale we were really disappointed, gutted in fact, by the poor price we got for our calves. We vowed we wouldn't go again.  But then you forget don't you? It was a few years ago now - 2010 in fact, and yes we did forget.  

So this morning we went again.  A little apprehensively, but knowing it was going to save us a half trailer load to Oban, and a lot of time.

There were not as many calves as we have seen at this sale before, and that made us worry a bit.  Before it all started though, I overheard someone say there were a few buyers present so that was good.  In previous years the auctioneers and buyers used to go round different farms across the island where  larger numbers of calves were sold straight off the farm.   

Ours didn't come in a lorry but everyone mucked in to help unload those which did.  

And the sale only started once everyone had arrived and had been penned. 

The last loads are unloaded so the sale can begin.

In the old days, the island sales might have gone on for 2 days, farm to farm and at Craignure.  This year, the calves were all sold here at Craignure. Today the bidding lasted about an hour.  

The first lot in the sale. Note the paint pots and sticks.

Farmer in the ring. 

The 'painter' marks each beast with a dob of professional gloss to indicate which dealer it is going to. 

In the absence of the gavel, the hand on notebook seals the bid. And the sale concludes.  

Quite a few of these parked up by the ferry.

Thankfully, Farmer was pleased with the sale this time. He sold 2 bullocks and 2 heifers.  He will sell another 8 calves on Tuesday at the cattle sale in Oban.  The ferries are all booked up so it promises to be a busier one. 

Occasionally inclement weather has resulted in the cattle buyers having to overnight on Mull because the ferries were cancelled, but the sea was millpond calm on this side this morning, so no chance of cancelled ferries today. 

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