The BBC have recently been airing a TV series called 'Britain's Lost Routes, following, as the name suggests, routes across the UK that have been lost to the mists of time. In this episode, Griff Rhys Jones throws himself back into the early 19th century, joining a herd of highland cows and two sturdy farmers as they retrace an ancient droving route once taken by thousands as they trudged 250 miles through the Scottish highlands from the Isle of Skye down to Falkirk market.
Braving the ravages of the Scottish weather, Griff and his companions relive the arduous and dangerous trek through steep mountain passes and fast flowing rivers that drovers and their herds made so that the great British public could get beef on its dinner plate. As they go they discover how drovers once risked life and limb to swim their cattle from the Scottish islands to the mainland, braving the inclement conditions in their wet plaid and fending off rustlers with sharp shooting. Griff explores how these hardy men went on to become the first cowboys of the wild west as well as becoming the stuff of literary legend.
The series does make a light reference to the Highland Clearances, but provides an insight into the particular part of Highland Life at the time that change would be taking place across the Highlands.
Clicking here will take you to the web page for the episode and the series.