When in Scotland, you have to see the highland cattle, or as the Scots call it, “hairy coos”. We did a 10-day road trip around Scotland. If you have 2-3 more days, I would recommend you to drive up to Skye. It is another extremely gorgeous area in Scotland, also a popular place for highland cattle!
Scotland Road Trip Itinerary
This is our road trip in Scotland, and the ones in brackets are places you should visit if you have more time!
Edinburgh – (Glasgow, optional) – Irvine – Campbeltown – Islay – Inverary – Oban – Glenfinnan – (Skye, optional) – Forres – Oyne – Aberdeen – Edinburgh
Why are Highland cattle special
We all know the icons of Scotland: bagpipes, Loch Ness monster, thistle, haggis, butter shortbread and the hairy highland cows! These cows seem like they’re going through the emo/punk phase in their teenage years with their long hair covering the face.
These gorgeous beasts are like regular cows, but with their iconic fluffy coats. Adult highland cows have large horns, so be very careful when you are near them. You might get hurt!
Where to see Highland cattle in Edinburgh
Where can I see Highland cattle in Edinburgh?
The short answer: outside of the city center.
The long answer: As much as highland cows are known to be everywhere in Scotland, you don’t find it in the city center. Here are a few places you can see it.
Prestonfield House Hotel
The 5-star luxury hotel, Prestonfield House Hotel, is your best bet in Edinburgh. Located in the south of the city, you can find the gorgeous highland cattle roaming around the garden. It is also a great place for afternoon tea when the weather is good.
Ps: the hotel is also pet-friendly.
Get there: From Edinburgh Castle or the Royal Mile, take Bus 2, get off at Prestonfield Terrace and walk for 8min.
Swanston Farm is a working farm known for their Highland cattle. You can see the hairy cows walk up Pentland Hill and roam about. Please wear proper covered shoes if you intend to follow the cows around. You can get quite close to the cows, to be very careful. The Swanston Farm is also a golf course and driving range and provides accommodation.
“Wild” Highland Cattle
Some of you might prefer seeing “wild” hairy cows that are roaming an area freely. If you have a car, drive towards Mortonhall Caravan and Camping Park Just off Frogston Road East, you can usually find 12 highland cattle roaming. The park is known as a place to see Highland cattle.
Other places to find Highland cattle in Scotland
- Pollock Country Park: This is one of the 37 parks in Glasgow. You can definitely see Highland cattle there.
- Woodneuk Farm: South of Glasgow, this farm breeds highland cows.
- Cairngorms National Park is huge. Here are specific areas to see the highland cows: Blair Atholl, Upper Spey Valley, Kincraig, Newtonmore.
- Blair Atholl: You find black highland cows here
- Upper Spey Valley: you find them on the small roads parallel to A9 from Aviemore upstream to Kincraig. You can find may highland cattle there!
- Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park: You find the cows roaming around. You can feed them if you have the proper food like grass.
- Rothiemurchus Highland Estate: It is a 13th-century castle with wildlife roaming about. Their highland cattle date back to the 1920s! The longest bloodline is “Marsili of Rothirmurchus” and the current Marsili is 203rd in her line. They are a common sight in Highland fields, or you can take a tour with Rothiemurchus for a guaranteed sighting tour.
- Culloden Visitor Centre: You can find highland cattle on the field adjacent to the car park at the visitor center.
There are various sightings in this area, no specific location in particular. They are mainly private farms that are not registered on Google Maps. So I’d say, drive around these areas and you might chance upon a farm of highland cows!
- Glen Coe
- Glen Nevis
- Fort William
- Glamis Castle: You can find the highland cows in the field just north of Glamis Castle.
If you have time, I recommend staying in Callender for a night to fully experience the Scottish landscapes.
- Trossachs Wollen Mill: This is probably one of the most famous cattle. Her name is “Hamish” and she weighs 1 ton. She belongs to Wollen Mill. You can find her (and her friends) on A84, 1 mile west of Callender.
- Loch Achray
- Kilmahog near Callander: you can find resident Highland cows. You can even feed them treats!
- Duke’s Pass road: You can find highland cattle on the south side of Loch Achray, at A821 where Duke’s Pass road is. You see them on Google Maps!
- Duirinish: This town has cows roaming around the town center.
In general, highland cows are in farms. You rarely see them roaming around in the wilderness. Your best bet is the farm in the Highlands. Visit the areas as mentioned above to see them! The most popular place to see these Highland cattle is Trossachs Wollen Mill.
Trevellers is my way to change the world. Through my stories, tips and lessons learnt, I truly hope to inspire you to get out of your comfort zone, see the world and see who you truly are. Travel is more than just taking a selfie at beautiful destinations. Travel is an adventure, where you can truly become who you are, give you the time to reflect and grow to become the person you’ve always dreamt of.