The Old Drove Road

In the days of droving – from the 16th to the mid 19th century – this track was the main drove between the trysts (fairs) at Falkirk and Crieff, and the main meat market in London.

Once clan warfare was settled, the Highlands and Islands became famed for the small hardy black Kyloe cattle which they bred. As autumn approached, without hay for winter feed, the cattle had to be sold, but the Scottish market was limited. By 1816 there were still no butchers shops in Edinburgh. Glasgow, Aberdeen and Dundee all had populations of under 12,000, whereas over 1 million people – a fifth of the entire population of England – lived in London, providing an ever-increasing demand for meat. […] Drovers from Wales and Devon had already claimed grazing nearest to London on which to fatten the cattle before the final drive to Smithfield market. Having started much later, the drivers from Scotland had to settle for grazing further afield. The black Scottish cattle were therefore fattened on the lush banks of the Norfolk Broads.

At the peak of the droving trade some 100,000 cattle were walked south from Scotland each year. At least equal numbers of sheep were also driven along this route to meet demand for wool and mutton. But by 1900, the droving trade had all but disappeared. Tolls levied on turnpike roads, enclosure of land, the agricultural revolution, development of railways and movement of cattle by steamship all played their part in its demise. Interpretation panel, Old Drove Road

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🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 Farewell, England, Fàilte gu Alba 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿

The proper drinking of Scotch whisky is more than indulgence: it is a toast to civilization, a tribute to the continuity of culture, a manifesto of man’s determination to use the resources of nature to refresh mind and body and enjoy to the full the senses with which he has been endowed.”

– David Daiches, Scotch Whisky 1969

Continue reading 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 Farewell, England, Fàilte gu Alba 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿