The Auctioneer’s Story

Donald Morrison, livestock auctioneer features on the Trusadh documentary 'The Auctioneer's Story'.
Donald Morrison, livestock auctioneer features on the Trusadh documentary 'The Auctioneer's Story'.

THE wonderful world of auctions is explored by the Gaelic documentary series Trusadh in the MacTV production for BBC ALBA ‘The Auctioneer’s Story’.

Many different things are bought and sold at auction – cows and sheep, books, long lost antiques, and the unknown treasures that occasionally appear.

At their very heart are those who keep everything ticking along – the auctioneers. But there’s much more than meets the eye to their job as Trusadh finds out.

The show follows one of Scotland’s busiest livestock auctioneers, Donald Morrison, to the hustle and bustle of the cattle market on the island of Tiree.

The island’s crofting and farming population rely heavily on buyers coming to the island and the sales are an important source of income.

Viewers join Donald in Tiree in January a couple of weeks before the annual Cattle Sale, as he visits the farmers and crofters to view their stock.

“I try to come here twice a year,” he says. “I come for the cattle sale in a fortnight’s time and then again in July for the lamb sales. They’re all lovely, kind people so I really enjoy going to visit them.”

Also featured in the documentary is Ayrshire auctioneer Gavin Strang who is in charge of selling the contents of the historic abode Blair Castle.

Many of the items are over 900 years old, including a collection of swords dating back to the time of Robert the Bruce and Gavin has mixed feelings about the auction.

“On one side it’s very sad that a house that’s had 900 years of history in the same family is coming to a dispersal like this,” Gavin comments. “But at the same time as an auctioneer one does get excited about the opportunity of bringing all these things to the market.”

And viewers are also invited to a traditional lane sale in Edinburgh where Martin Cornish started his own company continuing an old tradition in the capital city – selling anything from original oil paintings to the kitchen sink.

“You get people that are absolutely devoted to it,” Martin says of the enthusiastic following lane sales generate. “People will come every week whether it’s shine, rain, wind like today, in the snow last winter when it was four or five inches deep – they all turn up.”

The Auctioneer’s Story will broadcast on BBC ALBA on Monday, June 11th at 9pm.