Blackcraig

The herd name Blackcraig is famed for breeding quality livestock wither it is Galloway Cattle or Blackface sheep, the family John, Ann, daughter Kelly and son Iain have enjoyed much success with both breeds in the show and sale rings and the Blackcraig prefix is in much demand both in the UK and Overseas.

The Finlay family came to Blackcraig about 80 years ago with the Galloway herd dating back to the 1950s then the herd was running about 40 breeding cows but with the recent purchase of the 360 acre farm “Corse” which is only 3 miles from Blackcraig, the intension is to increase the Galloways to over 100 head.

Blackcraig is an 1800 acre of hill farm between Balmaclellan and Corsock which rises to 1400ft above sea level, the farm steading is at the bottom of the farm at about 650 ft, the land at the top is largely black heather moorland, while the lower ground is largely marshy wet land as a result silage and hay are made at Corse.

Since purchasing the Corse most of the heifers have been kept to build up the herd and only a few have been sold at Society sale at Castle Douglas in February. Until then 6 or 8  heifers were sold each year at Castle Douglas Spring show and sale, The family has enjoyed much success regularly receiving championship awards and top prices, to date the best top heifer price was for Blackcraig Noreen J38, she was sold for 7500gns which at the time was a breed record, a record which has only recently been topped.   On the bull side a half share for Blackcraig Volume he was sold for £7500 to John Teare, Isle of Man.

The bullocks used to be finished at Blackcraig and sold to Highland Meats, but in the last year or two, the bullocks have been sold store to Jock Rome, Kilnford Barns, Dumfries for beef for his farm shop, which is on the outskirts of Dumfries.

In the quest to find new bloodline, in 2000, John travelled to Canada to purchase a new stock bull, he eventually purchased two bulls but due to Foot and Mouth regulations only one made into this country. Diamond B Knockout made a huge influence and along with Glenkiln Dynamite an Diamond B Zorach 43Z son. More recently John has sourced new bloodlines from Australia purchasing embryos from Jane and Merlin Bradley’s  Globlex herd and from Canada from the Diamond B Dispersal.

The family also have 700 Scottish Blackface ewes, which graze on Blackcraig's upland acres of mostly rough grazing and heather, once again the family have enjoyed much success with “Blackie” tups with a personal best of £36000.

As a form of diversification the family have secured planning permission for eight wind turbines on the highest part of Blackcraig, and Bluenergy our major sponsor for the congress is due to start work in 2016 to erect the turbines.