Published: 11/07/2012 13:15 - Updated: 11/07/2012 13:21

Modern day drovers complete ancient cattle route

Cattle crossing the burn at Corinstilmore near Drumguish, Glenfeshie during the trip
Cattle crossing the burn at Corinstilmore near Drumguish, Glenfeshie during the trip

Crossing from Glenfeshie to the Minigaig Pass at 3000ft in thick mist was the biggest challenge for a group seeking to recreate an old cattle drovers route recently.

These modern day drovers were the first to cross the Pass in Perthshire for more than 100 years. 

Between 12 and 30 drovers took part in different stages on the trip with over 40 people taking part overall in the trip, which began at the Highland Folk Museum in Newtonmore and ended at Kirkmichael in Perthshire, the site of a famous drovers’ tryst or market.

The artists, writers, crofters, ecologists, historians and geographers involved called their trip ‘Journey to the Heart of Place’.

Ruaridh Ormiston, the trip’s orgniser said: “Ten ponies made the whole trip but the catttle just to Glenfeshie because of movement restrictions.

“Many thanks to all those who made us so welcome enroute and turned out to see us and even join us. Everybody that wanted to make the whole journey did and really really enjoyed it and the three open days enroute were a huge success too.”

Open days held during the course of the journey in Newtonmore, Blair Atholl and Kirkmichael gave members of the public the chance to meet the drovers and their ponies, discover how they planned the route, lear about their equipment and food and compare these details with the experience of drovers in the past.

Veritas Vincent, a historical re-enactment group, took part part dressed as 18th century drovers to illustrate the weapons and clothing of the time.

In addition, storyteller Claire Hewitt shared local folk and fairy stories. The Newtonmore event involved additional activities and demonstrations such as milking of cattle and shoeing ponies.

Everyone who took part in the drove has been invited to record their experiences in poems, writing, music, art, craft and photography.

This will be drawn together to form the Creative Journeys Exhibition, which will be going on its own journey.

Exhibition venues will include the communities of Newtonmore, Blair Atholl and Kirkmichael, and the Royal Scottish Geographical Society’s Visitor Centre at the Fair Maid’s House in Perth.

The droving journey was organised by the Royal Scottish Geographical Society in partnership with the SpeyGrian Educational Trust, with support from Perth and Kinross Countryside Trust.

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