Highland Cattle, Scotland

The Quest for the Highland Cattle in Scotland

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If the postcards are to be believed, Highland cattle in Scotland are everywhere. Well, that’s not quite true. In fact, in all the times I have visited—and through the months that I lived in Edinburgh—I only ever saw one Heilan’ coo from a distance. This trip, I was going to change that.

Highland Cattle, Scotland

We had been in the country for five days with nary a coo sighting. I made the mistake of telling my sister all about the furry beasts prior to our trip, and spotting one became her sole focus throughout our road trip around Scotland. It’s safe to say we had Coo Fever.

Highland Cattle, Scotland

Even though we hadn’t seen them on the mainland, we figured they would be everywhere on Skye. Yet, after arriving on the island, we spent the day driving around Broadford and Portree and the coast just beyond … and still no coos. Resigned to the fact that this trip wasn’t going to hand us any coos, we headed to our bed and breakfast. As we bumped along the one-lane country road, I saw a scattering of tan heads just over the hill. Could it be?

Highland Cattle, Scotland

It was them. All this time, we went out of our way trying to track down coos, and there were a whole herd of them just outside our B&B window!

Highland Cattle, Scotland

And they were every bit as cute as we expected.

Highland Cattle, Scotland

Particularly the babies.

Highland Cattle, Scotland

I won’t say we spent the rest of our days in Skye chasing Heilan coos…

Highland Cattle, Scotland

Highland Cattle, Scotland

Highland Cattle, Scotland

But I also won’t say they weren’t.

Highland Cattle, Scotland

Highland Cattle, Scotland

On the last night, I had a little heart-to-heart with Scotland: “Look, you’ve given me double rainbows. And you’ve given me bagpipers. And you’ve given me amazing sunsets. And you’ve given me coos. So is it too much to ask for some coos on the horizon set against a gorgeous sunset as we’re pulling in for the night?”

Highland Cattle, Scotland

Scotland must have thought, no, no, it is not, because that is exactly what happened, no lie.

Highland Cattle, Scotland

(And no, we didn’t have beef a single meal while in Scotland. I mean, just look at them—could you?)

Highland Cattle, Scotland

COMMENTS
  • November 7, 2012

    Um. Kristin. You know how I feel about these coos! I’ve got the exact same version of this post on my own blog as you may recall 🙂 Love the pictures of you and your sister running along the road with the cows! Amazing!

    • November 8, 2012

      Well, now I’m going to have to go back and read it again, obviously!

    • November 10, 2012

      I remember seeing that post on your blog and thinking I NEEDED to get to Scotland to see them… but then I saw a few outside of Amsterdam! Coos craving satisfied.

  • November 7, 2012

    Gorgeous! I loved seeing sheep with black feet whilst I was in England, but the coos just take the cake 🙂 I have a serious hankering to visit Scotland right now!

  • November 8, 2012
    svv

    I could. These look tasty.

    • November 8, 2012

      I can’t believe you would do that to our daughter.

  • November 8, 2012

    wow!! the perfect photography I must say … It look like you’re feeding that cattle.. perfect clicked…

    • November 8, 2012

      We didn’t try to feed them, but we DID try to hug them. They ran away…maybe we smelled? 😉

  • November 8, 2012

    what a nice place. I would like to visit that place soon.
    Thanks for sharing this.

  • November 8, 2012

    I love your photos, those cows are truly adorable. I went to Scotland for an entire week and didn’t see one coo, not even in the Highlands!

    • November 9, 2012

      Yeah, not surprising. I think when I lived there in 2003, the only one I saw (from a distance) was at a castle in Perth. We didn’t see any in the Western Highlands at all during this trip; it wasn’t until we crossed over into Skye and then headed out into the country that we finally found some.

  • November 8, 2012

    THEY’RE SO FLUFFY!!
    I never thought I’d think of a cow as cute…

    • November 8, 2012

      Heilan Coos take cow cuteness to a whole other level!

  • November 8, 2012

    I love how fuzzy and shaggy they look! Like a big cuddly bear. A REALLY big one.

    • November 8, 2012

      I know, right? So cuddly you want to hug them…which we tried to do…and failed miserably. They took off galloping the other way! (For realz.)

  • November 8, 2012

    They are absolutely beautiful. The pictures with the sunset should be postcards!!!! I was thinking about your Gangnam style video bc of all the videos w a fake/puppet Obama dancing bc he won the election. I couldn’t find the one that I saw to send you the link. If I do, I’ll send it to you.

    • November 11, 2012

      Haha, yes, please do send that! I love me anything Gangnam-related =)

  • November 8, 2012

    Cuties! I think Kari’s obvious excitement while running down the road after a cow may make for my favorite picture though 🙂

    • November 9, 2012

      I wish I’d had the video on instead of stills, as it was HILARIOUS watching her skip down the road and the coos scatter in terror.

  • November 8, 2012

    I love cows – these are gorgeous!

    • November 11, 2012

      You and Ella have that in common–her favorite thing ever is hanging her head out the window as we drive through the Southern country roads and whining at all the cows we pass! Not the donkeys, not the goats, not the sheep, just the cows! It’s hysterical.

  • November 8, 2012

    I love that first photo, it is so cute!

  • November 8, 2012

    These cows are adorable! I love how every single one has a different “hairstyle” 🙂

    • November 9, 2012

      I think the ones with the combovers are the funniest!

  • November 9, 2012

    you were quite brave with that furry beast behind you on the road! 🙂 But they are lucky, they don’t get their horns cut! Because around here, in Germany, they use to cut’em …

    • November 11, 2012

      Aww, that’s so sad. The horns make the Heilan’ coo (well, that and their hairdos)–take away their horns, and they’re just plain ol’ coos.

  • November 9, 2012

    love that first picture! I just did a post myself about the elusive heilan’ coo… although we stayed in a B&B where the owner had his own coo so that made it easier. then later we stumbled upon a few more when driving off the beaten path to go on a hike.

    on a side note, we loved edinburgh. it poured rain and we only had one full day there, but it is beautiful and i can see why you love it so much.

    • November 11, 2012

      Ooh, so glad! Bummed you had rain, though (an inevitable evil in Scotland). I do think, however, that Edinburgh is beautiful in the sun or the gloom.

  • November 10, 2012

    What, no cow tipping? 🙂

    • November 11, 2012

      I did plenty of that growing up as a kid in rural Tennessee, TRUST ME.

  • November 10, 2012

    That lighting was gorgeous!! As are you two girls. I can’t get over the name “coo.”

    • November 11, 2012

      It just sounds wrong, right?

  • November 10, 2012

    I love the contrast of you fashionable ladies standing in a field of cattle 🙂

    • November 11, 2012

      Oh, we had our flannel and wellies on and were all about romping through the fields with some coos.

  • November 11, 2012
    Nico

    Some great coo hunting, a quintessentially Scottish past time.

  • November 11, 2012
    JeJe

    awwwww. LOVE them!

  • November 11, 2012
    Mom

    Ok, wasn’t there a third member of your party? Didn’t SHE rate a picture with these lovely coos?

  • November 12, 2012

    Those things are so freakin cute. May be bumping up Scotland on the list.

  • November 12, 2012

    SHAGGY LONGHORNS!!!!!

  • November 15, 2012

    I just love them so much. I would have named them all and sang them songs. We had a similar breed of moos when I was growing up and I just love how shaggy and sweet they look.

  • November 15, 2012

    Damnit, even the cows are more awesome in Scotland! Is there anything that isn’t more romantic and awesome in Scotland?

  • February 20, 2013
    Jennifer

    Growing up, my dad was obsessed with unusual or rare found animals. And so, when I was around 12 or so, we began to “collect” Highland Cattle. Over the past 17 years, we’ve had as many as 20. They’re gentle animals and so beautiful with their ginger coats and long horns. We even had the chance to bottle-feed a baby. We named him Huey. When I went to Scotland two years ago, I thought seeing them would feel so “eh, I’ve been around that.” But actually seeing them in the environment they came from was a great experience. I never was able to catch more than a moment to see them, and definitely didn’t get to take a picture, since we were so busy. But lovely, they were!

  • October 1, 2016
    Brian Forbes Colgate

    Lovely photos and comments. Thank you. Cows are curious by nature. If you’d just stood quietly awhile, one might have come to you. I had 51 at one time. Working in IT in the city, I would enjoy nothing more after a long drive home than to don my overalls and wellies and go stand, or sit against a fence post and listen to them grazing. Inevitably, a few would wander over to see me. Handling them regularly and knowing each by name may have helped, too. 🙂

  • September 12, 2017

    Who would have thought that cows (coos) would be such an attraction for visitors or the subject matter of such mirth! We missed the highland coos on our trip to Scotland but I found a stuffy coo in gift shop and that one returned with us.

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