Our link to Celtic Cattle
Celtic Cattle have survived in the west coast of Scotland for hundreds of years. They were small black shaggy cattle with long black coats and large horns. From these original indigenous cattle, Black Highland cattle evolved. In this part of Galloway farmers kept these same cattle and selected for a “polled” gene, meaning they had no horns, and this led to the establishment of the “Galloway” breed. A further selection for a white belt led to the development of our famous Belted Galloway around the 18th century.
All of these cattle evolved and survived in this harsh, wet, and sometimes very cold climate, thanks to the outstanding insulation qualities of their coats. These have long guard hair on the outside and a soft woolly under layer. They also developed the ability to lay down fat in the kinder summer months, when there was lots of grass, and made use of that fat to survive the long cold winters when the grass was scarce. Because the animal did not need this fat as an insulation layer, thanks to their outstanding hairy coats, it was laid down within the muscle of the animal and not as subcutaneous fat.
That is part of the secret of the quality of our own Galloway beef.