Selling Sheep in Scotland
Most tourists don't get to sheep auctions. I hadn't planned to attend either, but the auction house happened to be next to the rail station; I was waiting for a train out of Thurso and I was curious about the amplified voice chanting something--not a word of which (other than the numbers) I could understand.
So I walked into the large building. Although there were no signs about an auction, the holding pens outside made it easy to know what the chanting was about. It was the auctioneer, and a sale was in progress.
The process was interesting. I've heard of certain types of auctions where the bidders signal with a twitch of the eyebrows or a nod, and something similar was going on here. The auctioneer, when trying to get a higher price, would look first to one side of the ring, then the other. Try as I did to discern who was bidding, I could see no indication other than the auctioneer's head.
The sheep would be brought into a pen in lots of between three and fifty. To my eye, they all appeared to be the same variety and age, although there were both black-faced and white-faced animals. I'm not sure they were fully mature animals, and I apologize for not capturing a better image of the sheep. Around fifteen men were huddled up to the rail, and another fifteen to twenty spectators were seated. The agreed price was always between 41 and 43.50. I learned later that was a price in Pounds Sterling per head--less than $75!