Mottistone Fold of Highland Cattle
The Mottistone Fold of Highland Cattle

Wroxall Cross Farm,
Ventnor, Isle of Wight
PO38 3DF

Highland Cattle
Highland Cattle on the Downs

History of the Mottistone Fold

The Mottistone Fold started almost by accident on the Isle of Wight in 1997. Six non-pedigree Highland Cows and a non-pedigree bull were bought for scrub clearance on Mottistone Down. I had just purchased 30 acres of storm-damaged Forestry Commission land which they had found uneconomical to restore. A condition was that I should revert it to its pre-1920s plantation status of chalk grassland – a UK Biodiversity Action Plan habitat.

As I acquired more poor land, more Highland heifers were bought for conservation grazing. Eventually I thought I ought to take the breeding seriously and thus ventured to Oban in 2003 where I bought the Champion Female, Lucy of Balure. She was the first of many Oban purchases. Those of particular note were the aged bull Ruairidh of Glengarnock and the yearling bull Eoin Mhor of Miungairigh, both of which have had a significant influence on our Fold. Ruairidh was a previous Royal Highland Bull Champion. In 2010, Eoin Mhor became Reserve Bull Champion at the Royal Highland and Champion Bull at the Great Yorkshire. Both bulls have sired champions for us, including Eoin Mhor 8th of Mottistone who in turn has sired many champions.

The 950-acre Wroxall Cross Farm, Isle of Wight, is an all grassland farm. The Highland cattle are used for conservation grazing, pedigree sales and beef. In 2009 I purchased West Ferlochan Farm, Benderloch, Nr Oban, a 220-acre Scottish hill farm. It is now tenanted by our former Stockman there, Willie Maclean, who farms it with his own Galloway cattle, in addition to managing and presenting our show team of Highlanders.

In common with many other large breeders we are outcrossing with bulls of other breeds - Limousin, Simmental and now, more seriously, Aberdeen Angus - to give us earlier finishing, better weights and improved grades.

Our proudest award of all was to win last year the Highland Cattle Society competition for the best larger fold. Furthermore, we are proud that many of the bulls and heifers sold have gone on to win major prizes for their new owners.

It would be false modesty to deny that we have been successful - our show record tells its own story - but it is all the result of team work with each member playing a vital part. Willie Maclean in Scotland, our Stockman and Assistant Stockman on the Island and Karen Whelan in the office are all motivated by the same aim - the pursuit of excellence.

Mottistone Fold of Highland Cattle
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