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.