Scotsheep attracts thousands despite weather

Rain poured down on Scotsheep but failed to deter an estimated 6,500 visitors to the biennial show at Quixwood, Grantshouse last Wednesday.

Organisers had to abandon host John and Ian Macfarlane’s farm tours, and the inter-region sheepdog trial was similarly a victim of the weather.

Scotsheep's official opening in the rain at Quixwood last Wednesday

Scotsheep's official opening in the rain at Quixwood last Wednesday

Organising committee chairman David Leggat said cancelling the tour had been “extremely disappointing” for both the hosts and farmers attending because “the farm tour is always one of the highlights of Scotsheep”,

But yesterday the Macfarlanes and Scotsheep organisers, the Scottish region of the National Sheep Association (NSA), announced they will hold an open day at Quixwood on Sunday, June 29 to give NSA members, and up to three guests each, an opportunity to view the farm’s 1,800-strong flock and suckler herd of 750 cows.

NSA president, the Duke of Montrose, officially opened Scotsheep by highlighting future challenges: “Agriculture is going to have to grasp every innovation and opportunity on offer. We are particularly lucky that here in Scotland we have a concentration of bodies at the forefront of sheep health research and their discoveries must be quickly brought to commercial application,” he said.

Visiting Rural Affairs Cabinet Secretary Richard Lochhead was tightlipped about the CAP deal he was set to unveil as we went to press yesterday (Wednesday).

The event, which featured the latest developments in the industry, also attracted a visit from The Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General, Francis Maude, who attended with local MSP John Lamont.

Borderers fared well in the Scottish Young Shepherd of the Year competition, taking second and third places while a local company topped one of the trade stands awards.

As runner-up David McLean of Reston will head to Malvern to compete in the finals of the UK National Young Shepherd of the Year at the end of July, as well as to the world championships in France in September.

He told us: “I was delighted to be runner-up. I just entered for a bit of fun and because it was local. It’s the first competition like that I’ve ever done and I was over the moon to come second.”

The 20-year-old started by helping out at lambings during holidays when he was 12. He left school aged 15, completed a year’s agriculture course before working for a local dairy farmer for a year. He went self-employed, focusing on shepherding, aged 17, getting his own dog, Ben, five months later.

He has his own clipping run, shearing about 3,000 sheep, and does three lambings as well as regularly working for three farmers in Berwickshire.

“I just enjoy being outdoors. Most of the time I work away myself with the dog. I prefer to be at work; I enjoy it, I don’t see it was a job, it’s more a way of life,” he said.

Coming in third place was Andrew Tullie from Teviothead while the heat was won by 18-year-old Euan Orr of Lawhead, Tarbrax.

Wooler-based Glendale Engineering won the award for the best indoors trade stand.