You are in:  Home - History - Walking With Cattle
Walking With Cattle

History, Local History, Social History
Publication Date
07 September 2017
Paperback (also available as an ebook)
Available for Sale
Birlinn Ltd

Walking With Cattle

In Search of the Last Drovers of Uist
by Terry J. Williams - Find out more about the author


eBook also available from the iBookstore

‘Compact and focused in her ambition, [Williams] pursues Uist’s drovers from the Atlantic’s edge to the marts of Oban and Dingwall, bringing us memories from practitioners from a former way of life. Her subject is the marriage of people and place, and in careful prose, and with black and white photographs, she makes a fascinating way of life both grounded and heroic’ – Tom Adair, Scotsman

‘Paints a picture full of images and textures – a valuable historical record’ – The Crofter 

‘Williams is particularly skilled at placing the reader in the moment among the sights, sounds and smells of rural Scotland. Each scene feels immediate and authentic. Equally effective is the way Williams conveys the sense that she slowly solved a mystery in the writing of the book, pursuing the disparate bits of evidence to piece the past together’ – Scottish Life

Droving was once the lifeblood of Scotland’s rural economy, and for centuries Scotland’s glens and mountain passes were alive with thousands of cattle making their way to the market trysts of Crieff and Falkirk. With the Industrial Revolution, ships, railways and eventually lorries took over the drovers’ trade, and by the early twentieth century, the age-old droving tradition was all but dead. Except, however, in the Western Isles, where droving on foot continued until the mid-1960s, when MacBrayne’s introduced a new generation of ferries capable of bringing livestock lorries to the islands.

In this book, Terry J. Williams follows the route of the drovers and their cattle from Outer Hebrides to the Highland marts. Travelling by campervan and armed with a voice recorder, a collection of archive photographs and a set of maps marked with the old market stances, she seeks out the last surviving drovers. The resulting narrative is an extraordinary insight into a lost world, told through the voices of the few remaining individuals who remember the days of walking with cattle.

Terry J. Williams is a farmer’s daughter who was brought up in Cumbria and has lived in Scotland for many years. She lived for 10 years in a crofting community on the Isle of Skye, working as a freelance photographer and writer. Her book Ten Out Of Ten was published in 2010 to celebrate the first ten years of Sgoil Chùil na Gàidhealtachd in Plockton.

Related books