5 April 2002

Always a champion of

AAbreed

A PASSION for Aberdeen Angus cattle, North Country Cheviot sheep and country pursuits were lifelong interests of The Queen Mother.

A patron of the Aberdeen Angus Cattle Society for nearly 65 years, the Queen Mother was an ardent supporter of the breed. She took particular pleasure in exhibiting her stock at the Royal Smithfield Show in London, the Caithness Show and the Black Isle Show. The cattle were bred on the Queen Mothers 137ha (340-acre) Caithness mixed farm at the Castle of Mey, near John O Groats.

The windswept farm, acquired with the castle in 1952, was also home to her flock of North Country Cheviot sheep managed for many years by the late Donny McCartney and latterly by sons Danny and Sandy.

But the Queen Mothers countryside connections can be traced to her childhood at Glamis Estate in the Vale of Strathmore where her parents kept a herd of Aberdeen Angus cattle.

In his birthday tribute on the occasion of her 100th birthday, farmers weekly contributor and former chief executive of the Aberdeen Angus Cattle Society Ben Coutts wrote: "I remember working as a schoolboy on a hill farm in Perthshire with a lovely character who had been second horseman on the Glamis Estate.

He recalled how the then Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon loved to come to the stables during World War I to see the Clydesdales and always admired the work the horsemen had put into the sparkling harnesses that hung behind each pair of horses (Talking Point, Aug 2, 2000).

More agile horses occupied her attention in latter life after the Queen Mother became an ardent supporter of National Hunt racing. During 50 years of racing more than 400 winners carried her colours.

Salmon fishing was another of the Queen Mothers country pursuits. A keen angler she often fished the waters of the Dee.