Seahouses Probus chairman Bryan Crawford opened the meeting and thanked Gordon Cowan for donating, for the benefit of those present and his waistline, some chocolate that he had won. Very nice it was too.
Our secretary, Fraser Suffield, was then invited to report, this he did and then reported on behalf of our treasurer who was indisposed.
Both reports told of satisfactory matters. He then said that he had received a letter of thanks from Isobel Gordon for our donation and also let us know that the annual Probus quiz will be taking place on Friday, October 2, and will be hosted by the Berwick Probus Club. He hopes that we may be able enter a couple of teams and called for volunteers.
Fraser then introduced our speaker, Philip Deacon, to give a talk entitled Chillingham Wild Cattle.
We were told that there is now a new warden and that it is the first time that there has been a female warden.
There are now about 100 animals in the park and in addition a further 25 in a reserve herd on Crown Estates the north east of Scotland.
These are the only survivors of the wild herds that once roamed the forests of Northumberland and they are rarer than the giant panda.
They can be quite dangerous and wardens are careful to keep visitors a safe distance from the herd.
We learned how the herd is ruled by a king bull, who reigns with the usual mating rights for about four years, though it would seem that, from time to time, opportunities may be granted and accepted to and by young bulls on the periphery of the herd.
The king bull will mate with his sisters but not his daughters as his four year reign precludes this as they will not reach maturity during this time. Interbreeding is therefore not a problem.
We learnt much more about this fascinating subject and after a question-and-answer session, Chris Hull gave thanks for one of the most interesting talks by a master of his subject.