Have you always wanted to produce your own beef and help with biodiversity? You just need a few acres, the right cattle and the right help.

Highland beef is renowned for taste and tenderness and is one of the healthiest meats you can buy with less than one third of the fat of normal supermarket beef, cholesterol is low and protein and iron levels are high.

Highlands are small cattle and have several attributes that commend themselves to a smallholder. One big plus is their calm temperament and they are great mothers, (they are said to have more butterfat than Jerseys!) They calve and live outside in all weathers. Their docility means that you can get up close and hands-on and know their personalities.

Jacky Harrison of Reilth Top Fold says, “Living outside all year means you do not need to spend on buildings, straw or expensive handling equipment. You just need to be able to get hay, silage or haylage to them in the winter. We may give a cow some cattle nuts on the day they calve, or if we need to tempt them from one field to another or when putting on a halter. It is amazing that cows that only get a taste of nuts a few times a year, never forget what’s in a rattling bucket!

"They are great converters of forage and you can find Highlands in a couple of small fields of rough pasture or on rich SSSI meadows; on a patch of land by the sea or up in the mountains. So, wherever you are, they will be happy.

"Walking round the cattle on a summer evening or in the winter snow and seeing your beautiful cows healthy and content, is by far the best reward for keeping these cattle.

"How to get started? One of the best pieces of advice we were given, to give us confidence, was to get a halter trained, well handled show cow and the best we could afford.”

The Highland Cattle Society runs three shows and sales a year. Two in Oban, on Scotland’s west coast (close to their origins) and one in England. The next is in Oban on 7th/8th October, contact the Highland Cattle Society at +44 (0) 1786 446800, highlandcattlesociety.co.uk for more information.

Throughout the UK there are Society Fieldsman and regional clubs who offer advice and support.