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This morning was cold but dry and somewhat overcast. I had in mind to get out into the country and photograph young lambs which are usually in abundance at this time of year. However, the conditions out of the city proved something of a surprise. It was evident I was suddenly in a different micro-climate with the fields still covered in a thick layer of snow and the sheep reliant on hay and other feeds to keep them going. This winter must have proved a big drain on the farmers’ cash flow.

Winter sheep

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You scratch my neck and I’ll scratch yours!

Here’s looking at you, kid.
This afternoon, heavy and persistent snow curtailed my activities. I hear that many roads around Scotland are blocked or restricted. We are certainly having a tough time this winter! Certainly glad I am not out touring in this weather.

Notwithstanding the snow storm, I decided to get out on my bike and photograph specimens of a very photogenic herd of Highland Cattle. These animals are docile and allow photographers to get close without so much as batting an eyelid. It could be this particular herd is very used to humans gawping at them.

Although not immediately evident, the above pics were in fact during a snowstorm and it will be noticed that the animals’ coats are damp. However, Highland Cattle are extremely hardy and will thrive in harsher conditions than today. In fact, they are an ancient and hardy breed which emanate from the Scottish Highlands and Islands; they are hardy grazers and live out in all weathers. Apart from Britain/Scotland this breed is popular in Australia and North America. I do understand they are not particularly efficient as beef animals due to their relatively slow rate of growth vis-a-vis more modern beef breeds.

In the course of my private, Scotland tours I usually come across a herd or specimen somewhere. Small herds are usually kept near grand houses or castles to attract visitors.

Here is a video clip of a herd closer to their natural habitat in Glen Nevis, near Fort William in the Highlands. Great little beasts!

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Scotland continues to suffer from an exceptionally harsh winter spell. Yesterday the daytime temperature in central Scotland (Perthshire) fell to an incredible minus 17 degrees centigrade which is on a par with places like Iceland. Many properties are suffering from burst water pipes and/or frozen water pipes. Glasgow ( S.W. Scotland) is slightly milder than some of the cold spots in the Highlands but, nevertheless, temperatures remain at or below freezing and there is a good layer of snow and ice around.

This morning, there were some slushy snow showers combined with low temperatures and overcast skies, conditions which are not ideal for photography. In the circumstances, I went to off on my bike to visit a nearby herd of Highland Cattle. These animals are actually ideally suited to the type of weather we are experiencing and seem totally non-plussed.

This breed of cattle is very docile which meant I was able to up right close without unnerving them. The images below show these attractive animals in their icy habitat.

Mother and calf.

This video shows the entire herd. I think they viewed me as a curiosity!

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