The ancient "Aurochs" was
last seen in Poland in the late 1670's. Their form has been held secret
in Scottish Highland Cattle.
It has been the Holy
Grail of beef breeders ever since to recombine the genetics of Bos
Primigenius releasing its secrets held in the blood of more common
stock. The Heck Brothers spent their lives combining many cattle until
they had selectively bred a new line to the ancient form.
There is a new contender
attempting to create an improved beef type. Michael McDermott has worked
to create a new breed "Diarmid cattle," combining the traits of Scottish
Highland, Angus and Belgian Blue. A student of cattle breeds, McDermott
while researching, found an artistic rendering of the "Aurochs" and much
to his surprise, looking out the window was indeed the form and function
of Bos Primigenius.
Its those Scottish genes
at work in both Man and Beast. Fitting a Scot tracing family to
Applecross and Lochcarron should rediscover the ancient form of a
legendary beast which gave rise to all modern cattle breeds.
McDermott is known in
Northern Minnesota for his unusually tame cattle. His bulls often seen
giving rides or supporting local businesses as Babe the Blue Ox. He
smiles when he confirms his skills as a "bull tamer" and says its an
ancient Scottish tradition. Calling it simply " Touch".
In the ancient times the
Drovers from the islands would tie head to tale and swim the cattle to
the Main land. McDermott points out wild cattle so tied would likely
arrive with short tails, this was not the case. Proving in his mind the
common use of " Touch" as a means to manage cattle in close quarters.
The History of the
Drovers was oral and the people who observed these skills never wrote
them down. Following the Clearances these traditions were lost, that is
until McDermott rediscovered the Ancient Art.
Aurochs in form and
function are alive and well on a small family farm in Minnesota. Where a
Child of Scotland lives with his beasts. A true Scot with a vision of an
ancient form brought to life.
"With Cows in the field
and dogs by my side us two make a wonderful team." From an ancient
Celtic song... It is indeed the thing Legends are made of.
We'll be demonstrating
three such animals at this years Beltrami county Fair, Bemidji Minnesota
July 30 - August 3, 2003. One Dunn, one Black Roan three years of age
and a wee bull calf. A chance for the world to see an ancient form with
There's time to gather
Genetic materials and have a living beastie for the 2007 Scottish
events, wouldn't that be something for the Highland Council to consider,
the reintroduction of Bos Primigenius to the Highlands!
What's the next project?
I have 10 straws of Bazadaise, which I plan to use on Pure Highland
cattle. I expect to see a unique grazing animal and one ideal for
natural birthing and lean high quality beef.
There's all kinds of ways
to express you Scottish Heritage, mine seems to be utilizing cattle. I
hope something good comes from all this. Nearly all my family ancestors
attempted Agriculture and fell on hard times. The Buchanan side
attempting farming traveled the United States and ended up in Burnslake
B.C. My McDermott side nearly starved to death in North Dakota before
moving to Seattle, and the Rushes made their way to Galata Montana. Old
Pap kept the local school clean and worked the land.
My wife's family may have
briefly met in Montana the Beechers and Corums were on their way to
Seattle too. A rainy night and a chance meeting by a pretty teen,
Jeanine Passmore, would combine histories to set us on a path to our
I feel a strong force at
work, be it Nature or God it has a strong message or a calling to the
hills of Scotland. Taking the high road or the low road... all roads
lead home to Scotland for her Children abroad. History is a living
force we can contribute each in our own way. All worthy of a Tall
Blue Ox Farms