Ask any local in Rockport or Camden where the "Belties" are, and they’ll point you to Aldermere Farm, long one of the area’s popular attractions, especially for kids longing for a look at the famous black and white colored "Oreo cookie" cows. But the Belted Galloways grazing in Aldermere’s green pastures aren’t just for decoration. Aldermere Belties are known to breeders around the world as some of the finest stock anywhere.
Bred primarily for beef, Belties originated in the mountains of Southwest Scotland--an area once called the province of Galloway. In this cold, damp, and rugged country, the Galloways bred by the Scots became an exceptionally hardy breed, adapting to the severe conditions. In winter they grow a shaggy overcoat which, in combination with the soft short undercoat, protects them from the cold and damp. Unlike many other breeds, the Belties were able to forage for themselves on the range during the winter. Their development under these conditions made the breed highly resistant to disease and genetic problems.
In 1953 the Aldermere herd of Belted Galloways was established when Mr. Chatfield purchased a bull and six cows from Harry Prock of Pennsylvania. Mr. Chatfield subsequently brought more stock to the farm from Scotland. Between 1955 and 1972, he imported Lullenden Irene and Lullenden Arigusta from the Ian Hamilton herd, along with the bull Mochrum Orion which replaced first herd sire Aldermere Hapwood Dandie. In 1960 Burnside Great Scot, Supreme Belted Galloway in Scotland, was imported. In 1966 he bought two heifers from the Whittingehame herd at East Lothian, noting that the dam which produced these heifers, Whittingehame Serena Neilson, was the largest Beltie cow he had ever seen, weighing 1600 lbs.
Over the years the Chatfields and long-time Farm Manager Dwight Howard worked together to develop one of the premier herds of Belted Galloways in the world. In fairs around the country, Aldermere cattle have been awarded the highest level of recognition of any farm over the last 30 years. Today the Aldermere herd is the oldest continually-operated herd of Belted Galloway cattle in the United States today. Numbers generally range from 75 (winter) to 100 (summer) head.
Other Beltie web sites of interest: