More affectionately known as a hairy coo or heilan coo, these animals are probably the most requested photo opportunity by guests at our Inverness B&B. An iconic creature of the far north of Scotland, Highland Cattle, or Highlanders are an ancient breed of cattle really well suited to life in the landscape and weather conditions of the area. With historic breed records dating back to the 18th Century, herds, or “folds” of these cattle originated on the West Coast of the Highlands, but are now found all over the world. The Highland Cattle Society maintains a herd book, and much more information about the breed can be found on their website.
Highland cattle are able to feed and thrive in mountainous, windy and wet conditions, and can survive outside throughout harsh winters due to their long, thick coat. Traditionally they have straight hair, but this can be black, red, yellow, dun or brindled in colour. The breed live for a long time and are great mothers able to give birth in the outdoors, and they can have up to 15 calves and may live for longer than 18 years. Their other characteristic feature is their long horns, so don’t get too close.
You can see small herds of highlanders in many spots around Inverness, and there is a new art sculpture at the Jacobite herd at Dochgarroch Lock. Ozzy the Highland Coo is made from old metal and chains by Scottish Artist and Blacksmith Kev Paxton at ArtFe – check out his website to see some of his other amazing creations, but beware, your luggage will definitely be over-weight on your return journey if you buy a souvenir!