Monday, 2 December 2019
We were trying to remember when we bought the tractor. It was either in 1997 or 1999. Massey Ferguson stopped manufacturing the 135 in 1975 so it was at least more than 20 years old more by then.
We had stayed the night before the sale at the Spital of Glenshee Hotel, where we had stopped for many childhood post skiing treats of hot chocolate, warming our chilled limbs by its 60s Alpine styled open fire. Gone now were the ghosts of those almost mythical family occasions as the hotel was faded and sorry for itself. Busy with numerous coaches full of elderly passengers there for a Christmas meal and a festive sing-song - every night from early November.
The roup (dispersal sale) at a nearby farm was a desperate occasion, as the farmer and his family were moving on, and were clearly sad to be doing so. We both had a slightly uncomfortable feeling looking round the different lots for sale.
We had travelled over specially as Farmer was looking for a small tractor which would enable him to get into lots of tricky corners to cut the bracken. We’d seen that this was for sale.
Having successfully bid for the tractor we arranged for Allan Stewart the haulier to bring it back to the island for us on his lorry.
Fast forward 20 or 22 years later and today S went to collect the same tractor from Dervaig. Farmer had sold it to a friend in the village about 15 years ago, and now full circle, it was coming home.
The Spital of Glenshee Hotel burnt down in 2014.
Friday, 8 November 2019
The huge car park was absolutely rammed with pickups and livestock trailers and cars. It was a busy busy sale, very different from the miserly selection of Blackface tups in Oban a few weeks ago.
The auctioneer plays a crucial role in ensuring a good sale. For both buyers and sellers. They have to concentrate, be quick witted and keep the crowd engaged all the while checking the ringside for bids and then, if that isn't enough, they shout out the lot number, the price bid and the name of the top bidder as the gavel goes down. Notes are furiously taken by his assistants. With over 800 lots they don't want tups disappearing off with the wrong buyer.
Now we haven't been to a sale organised by Dingwall Marts for 3 years, which was when we bought the first Herdwicks. Impressively then the auctioneer remembered S and immediately said Sold to Mull, Treshnish.
The hat threw him initially today, and he called out to the man in the hat, then Mull, then Treshnish! We bought 2, and are very pleased with our choices.
Buyers come from all over the north of Scotland to todays Fort William sale. The auctioneer calls out the farmer's name and then the farm, sometimes adding the place. Farms as far away as Caithness, right up in the north; Leverburgh on the Isle of Harris; crofters on the Isle of Raasay, on the isles of South Uist and Skye. We weren't the only farmers from the Isle of Mull.
We had to travel via Oban today as the usual route, the Lochaline ferry, is passenger only whilst they upgrade the pier. But it was an easy journey, and didn't feel as long as going by Lochaline. Plus the weather was really beautiful - and the road from Ballachulish to Oban goes through lots of beautiful woodland so the autumn colours were literally glowing in the sunshine.