by cheri sabraw
The last time I visited Scotland, my husband and I took a leisurely but long walk out a wind-swept old gate and down along a narrow grassy path to the Atlantic Ocean. We were on the Isle of Mull, at that time, a part of Scotland rarely traveled by Americans.
Upon following the path around a large rocky outcropping, we ran head-first into a small herd of maybe five Highland Cattle. I crow-hopped off the path and shouted a bit in surprise. They spooked at me and backed down their plot of grass.
It was lambing season back then in May of 2013, so I was expecting lambs not large orange hairy cows whose eyes were hidden behind a curtain of shaggy bangs that made my bangs look too organized.
Like most tourists who have never seen one of these spectacular beasts before, I was immediately taken by their thick coats, splendid horns, and gentle dispositions. That day I was ill-equipped with an uncharged camera; I lamented at dinner that night at Cafe Fish that a wonderful photographic opportunity had slipped away.
So. One of my photographic goals on this trip to the Scottish Highlands was to see Highland cattle out free-roaming in a pasture again and find the perfect coo to photograph and then paint.
Bob, our driver, said he knew where we could see these creatures. Alas, the location, while indeed hosting several beasts, was next to a coffee shop, with clever owners, who knew that just the presence of Highland Cattle would necessitate a stop from coaches. Not what I was looking for.
Besides trying to maneuver my lens through barbed wire and mud, it was feeding time.
And the old girl was tired of tourists, cameras snapping, and people speaking an English she did not understand. She did what any self-respecting coo would doo: turn her back and say phooey on yoo.
I told Bob that we should continue our search. I would provide the eagle eyes; he could concentrate on the windy roads that make up the Scottish Highlands.
Finally, I saw a beautiful pasture that rolled up to a neatly landscaped home. Coo of all colors lay peacefully in the grasses, chewing their cud, unsuspecting of camera-laden women with apples in their pockets, sugar in their purses, and photographic designs in their minds.
It was if we were in a Coo Candy Shop.
Which one to choose?
Cindy, my sister, and I ran around like a couple of coos ourselves, clucking, calling, begging and bribing these ladies. DO get up, won’t you coo?
And then I thought I was in Montana.
Bob motioned from the coach. ” Time to go, girls. We must get to Loch Fyne before the sun sets, ” he reminded us, “and before the bar closes.”
And we did.