The Cadzow Cattle are a remaining fold descended from the predominantly white cattle that roamed wild in the original Caledonian Forest, from the west coast over to Blair Atholl. When the Romans arrived in Britain they wrote of these wild cattle. They followed seasonal grazing, roaming freely, until the ‘enclosures’ when land reform brought in fenced lands. With their fine stature, the cattle have quite a presence with great charisma, so were popular on estates where they could be admired – although there were also tales of their wild behaviour!
The distinctive white coats have been favoured; with black muzzles, ears, feet and horn tips but today they also allow the black colours to prevail, reflecting the original British auroch DNA. They also have a gene for being polled. Genetically linked to Highlanders and Galloway, there have a remarkable genetic distance from any domestic breeds. There are also marked differences between the Cadzow, Chillingham and White Park cattle of England, and the Cadzow are significantly larger.
The Duke of Hamilton is custodian of this exceptionally rare breed, as were his forefathers before him. Sometimes described in old text as the Hamilton cattle, a small fold is kept on display in Chatelherault Country Park. Each year 7-9 from Lennoxlove are slaughtered, butchered and sent to customers in UK, Belgium and Germany. The Duke of Hamilton’s Cadzow cattle are extremely rare – currently 25 cows, with 18 calving (2021).
By the mid 1800’s the forests had dwindled, the cattle hunted and all but gone. The Chambers Encyclopaedia at that time mentions the wild cattle but by late 19th Century there were only 8 cattle remaining, at which point one or two Chillingham bulls were brought north to preserve the breed. Since then, the Cadzow cattle have remained pure-bred, grazing freely.
The meat has excellent flavour and marbling and considered a speciality for gastronomes. It should be well hung to develop its fine flavour.
When available it is through MacDuff 1980 Wholesale Butcher & Private Butchery