One of the most iconic symbols of Scotland has to be the Highland cow, or - as they're sometimes affectionately known - the 'Highland coo' or even 'hairy coo'. With their long horns and distinctive long 'hairy' coats, usually orange or light brown in colour, they're easy to spot and you'll find them all over Scotland (and indeed in various places across the world) but particularly in the west, where the breed originated.
Highland cattle are hardy and very versatile, and can live in a variety of conditions and on a range of different types of ground. They are also calm in temperament and have few health problems, making them comparatively easy to care for.
For detailed information on the breed standards, visit the Highland Cattle Society's website, which keeps a register and holds sales, shows, competitions and events throughout the year. Their guide tells you everything that a Highland cow should be! The society was formed in 1884 for the preservation of the breed, and now also supports the next generation of Highland cattle breeders, keepers and promoters through the Junior Highlanders.
As well as looking gorgeous, the milk and meat from Highland cattle is very special. For excellent Highland cow steak, visit the Old Inn near Appin, around 25 minutes north of Oban on the west coast. For ice cream made from the milk of Highland cattle, visit Highland Fold at Achinreir farm near Barcaldine on the A828 towards Fort William.
If you can't get enough of Highland cows, check out the hashtag #coosday on social media every Tuesday - guaranteed to make you smile with cute pictures of these lovely creatures.
Image: Unsplash / Shane Aldendorff