The Northern Ireland Beef Shorthorn Club this year saw around 20 members and friends take the annual herds visit back to where the Beef Shorthorn originated in County Durham.
The first stop in the journey was to visit Tim Denham’s herd of beef shorthorns who together with his daughter Sarah showed us round his growing herd in Dent Gate, Langleydale. Tim talked to us about how he previously owned a dairy herd of cattle which he ceased in 2012 and moved to the Beef Shorthorn breed for their characteristics and how he sees his future with the breed.
Day two started off with a visit to the soon to be dispersed Albion Herd in Teesside owned by Paul Braithwaite. Both Paul and his partner took time out from preparing for the sale and showed us round their impressive herd which included breeding from their N.I. Beef Shorthorn bull, Glenbrae Grant. Fortunately for the bus driver the friendliest calf never made it onto the bus home. We would like to wish them a very successful dispersal sale and a restful 'retirement'.
The visit then proceeded to the Cutthorn Herd owned by Alaistair Gibson at Gibbside Estate, which has been farmed by his family since 1948. We were spoiled with magnificent scenery around the National and Landmark Trust sites and had a vast array of beef shorthorn to view including their new replacement stock bull and many of the latest calves. We finished this tour with Alistair’s Partner Donna treating us to lovely homemade cake, which certainly went down a treat!
Our last visit of the day was to the Jodame herd, owned by Michael and Joanne Souter. We learnt all about their farm enterprise including their beef shorthorns and seen first-hand the shorthorns that go from their ‘Farm Gate to Dinner Plate’ in their Free House, the Moorcock Inn which we later stayed and enjoyed the local produce on offer. Shorthorn Steak was definitely a must on this trip!
Day three was the beginning of the long journey back to N.I. with a stop off to see the well-known Shawhill Herd, owned by the Thomson Family. Unfortunately after viewing a few of their close by fields of shorthorns the rain found us, so it was a quick dash back to the cattle shed for some tea and home made treats. We continued round their impressive herd with the help of both Matthew and John, both of their shorthorn breeding memories were certainly put to the test! We finished up by viewing their current show cattle in the Annan farmyard with some welcome liquid refreshments. It was noted by all that the secretary certainly enjoyed his most generous dram!!
Our thanks go to all the farmers who hosted us over the weekend and welcomed us to their herds and also to those who were involved in organising this wonderful trip!