Clootie and Crowdie
We are delighted to announce the arrival of two new bovine residents to the Park.
Clootie and Crowdie are ten year old Highland girls, and join us with the prospect of, we hope, becoming mothers next spring, having been with a bull before joining us. They are settling in to the field just opposite the House and have the task of keeping down the grass that is too coarse and long for the sheep to graze.
The Highland breed of cattle has a long and distinguished ancestry, not only in its homeland of western Scotland, but also in many far-flung parts of the world. One of Britain’s oldest, most distinctive, and best known breeds, with a long, thick, flowing coat of rich hair and majestic sweeping horns, the Highlander has remained largely unchanged over the centuries.
Some interesting facts about them . .
Their coat is often the most discussed attribute of these cattle. When Highland cattle are mentioned, people often immediately think of their ginger-red coat. However, their colouring can vary between black, brindle, yellow and even white! Their hair is always long, sometimes reaching about 13 inches, with a slight wave. Since their coat is double-layered, the outer hair is oiled to prevent rain seeping into their skin, while the downy undercoat provides warmth during rainy winters. They have long and distinctive horns, which actually help them forage for food during during snowy winters! They can use their horns as a way to dig deep into pastures that have been covered with snow. They have great longevity. This reduces herd replacement costs, since they are known to live for about 20 years; a considerably longer lifespan than other beef breeds. Interestingly, a group of Highland cattle is not called a herd, but a ‘fauld’ instead.
Why have we called them Clootie and Crowdie? We thought we would name them after Scottish desserts . . . A clootie dumpling is simply a spiced pudding studded with dried fruits that is wrapped in a cloth and simmered in water for a lengthy period. Out comes a giant steamed dumpling ready to be sliced and served with custard. The saying “Ne’er cast a cloot til mey’s oot” conveys a warning not to shed any clothes before summer has arrived and the May trees and hedges (hawthorn) are in full bloom.
Crowdie is generally understood to refer to a type of soft, fresh Scottish curd cheese usually made from pasteurised milk in which most of the bacteria have been killed. One of the most popular ways of eating the cheese is to turn it into a dessert called Cream Crowdie or Cranachan, traditionally eaten as part of a Burns supper. The recipe usually includes double cream, oats, whisky, honey and raspberries.
We think they are a wonderfully calming addition to the Park, and we look forward to bringing you more news of their progress.