Kirkstead

It is 20 years since Alan and his late father Robin came to Castle Douglas to purchase a few Galloways. Little did they know that the herd would grow to over 40 head and have such great success in both the show and sale ring.

The McClymonts have farmed Kirkstead since 1967 and have contract farmed the neighbouring farm, Dryhope for the last seven years. The farms lie in the Yarrow Valley in the Scottish Borders at the top end of the picturesque St Mary's Loch, the largest natural loch in the Borders. The area is steeped in Border Reiver's history and Dryhope Tower, a Scottish peel tower, has been restored on the farm. The land has very little top soil and you don't need to go far beneath the soil to find rock. There are just over 5000 acres ranging from 1000 to 2200 feet above sea level. An in-bye 150 acre farm, Newhouse at Lilliesleaf, near Selkirk is used for away wintering ewe hoggs, twin bearing blackface ewes and cattle.

The Galloway herd which now numbers 40 was established in 1995 from Romesbeoch, Blackcraig, Nether Cleugh, Huntly and Penninghame. "We picked long, square heifers " explained Alan. The cows run on Dryhope hill and calf in September/October, calves are allowed to grow until eight months when they are creeped fed. Alan has sourced stock bulls which will breed heifers and this has certainly paid off. Penninghame Major purchased as the champion from Castle Douglas in 2006 has left many great cattle for Kirkstead.  For his latest stock bull, Alan along with David and Rosemarie Cornthwaite purchased Troloss Impeccable for 9200gns and he was shown successfully achieving Reserve Champion at the 2015 Royal Highland Show.

Five or six heifers are kept for stock each year and the rest are sold at the main Society sale in Castle Douglas. There has been much success over the years which include female champion at 2013 Castle Douglas Spring Show and Sale which sold for 3000gns to Ian Kennedy, Lochurr, Moffat, and the Kirstead prefix often tops the unled section at the sale. Bulls are also sold with much success - again in 2013, Kirkstead Taurus was male champion and sold for 7000 gns to Klondyke Farm Ltd.

Bullocks are finished, sometimes joined by a further 10-20 Galloway bullocks bought from farms close by are sold at 27 months. These bullocks have killed out up to 355kgs deadweight, selling to a top of £1475 with an average of £1300. The bullocks are only housed and fed for the last eight weeks before they are slaughtered.

Outwith the cattle enterprise, the family have 1800 Blackface ewes and 30 Bluefaced Leicester ewes. They have always had a reputation for breeding some of the best Blackface and Bluefaced Leicester rams in the business and a personal best was achieved by Alan in 2015 when he sold a Blackface shearling for £20,000.