This week saw the first Livestock Auction of the year on Tiree. This was the early spring sale of cattle. It was advertised for Saturday (15.02.14) but the ferry sailing was cancelled resulting in the cancellation of the Auction. Rescheduled, it took place on Thursday (20.02.14) and thankfully the ferry was able to make both sailings. The first sailing left Oban at 5.30am for the round trip to Coll and Tiree and the second left Oban at 2.30pm, not arriving back in Oban until 10.50pm.At present there are five livestock auctions a year necessitating an additional ferry sailing each time.
The island’s economy is dominated by agriculture and tourism. A farming and crofting community, Tiree is known as ‘the low land of barley’ but certainly in recent times livestock has played a vital role. Whether looking out your window or going about, you are conscious of both the number of sheep and cattle. Early on we were wisely advised to watch out for black cattle when driving at night!
A European Network for Rural Development report states, “The Tiree Rural Centre was opened in 2002, primarily to provide an auction mart where the agricultural producers of Tiree could market their livestock. The livestock on Tiree are highly sought after for their quality and health status, particularly as replacement heifers for suckler cattle herds on the mainland as well as for finishing animals. Tiree producers were disadvantaged by having to transport livestock to sales on the mainland, where they would lose their unique selling point and often be obliged to accept a lower price than desired to avoid having to pay transport costs back to the island.” The report says, “Tiree’s community and economic viability is critically wrapped up in the sustainability of livestock and natural heritage, more uniquely than in many other farming communities.”
In researching Tiree’s Livestock Auctions, I came across a BBC ALBA documentary on You Tube. Who should I meet down at the pier, waiting for the evening sailing but, the very auctioneer featuring in the documentary.
The Bible reveals that the Living God values you so much. Indeed it asks, “What do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?” Mark 8:36