They are usually red and shaggy, long hair falls over their eyes and they resemble a bison or perhaps a teddy bear more than a cow. But it is Scottish Highland cattle which visitors will encounter on the farm at Stiegelschwand in winter and now in the summer on Alp Chumi. But how did these exotic creatures get from the north of Europe to the furthest corner of the Engstlige Valley?
Up until 2009, Hansueli and Marlis Hari produced Alpine cheese from dairy cows, but then they wanted to try something different. The two tested different breeding options, for example with deer or goats. "In the end, we chose the Highlander because it best suited us and our farm", explains Hansueli Hari. In fact, this breed fits perfectly into the Bernese Oberland because it is extremely frugal. The Highlander is perfectly happy with the hay, grass and water from the mountains. Indeed, these amiable animals are extremely robust - cold, wind and weather don't bother them. There is, however, another reason why the Haris chose these particular cloven-hoofed animals: "Scottish Highland cattle are genetically closer to the Adelboden cows of 250 years ago," the breeder confirms.
The Haris begun their project with eight cows and their calves, but the herd now numbers 46. The high-quality, low-cholesterol meat is sold directly from the farm to the customer. So Scottish Highland cattle are now part of the village life in Adelboden. The fact that there is mutual respect is evident in a neighbour's remark: "You can tell they are second generation when you look at their young". Compared to last year, the calves are stronger.