Trainee Greg is a demon with the gavel

Greg MacDougall of Swan auctioneers in Newtown St. Boswells who won a competition in Edinburgh to become top auctioneer.
Greg MacDougall of Swan auctioneers in Newtown St. Boswells who won a competition in Edinburgh to become top auctioneer.
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A YOUNG St Boswells auctioneer won a prestigious cup at the Royal Highland Winter Fair.

Trainee Greg MacDougall of John Swan Ltd won the perpetual challenge cup for stock judging awarded by the Scottish National Fatstock Club at the Ingliston event at the end of last month.

Greg, 23, told us: “I was pleased, it’s quite a good thing to win. It’s just luck and if you agree with the judge. I won by five points.”

About 20 other young auctioneers from across the country competed in the event judging cattle and sheep. The Institute for Auctioneers in Scotland gave the cup to the fatstock club in 1980 – and that’s when Greg’s mentor Scott Lambie, also an auctioneer with John Swan, won the cup in its inaugural year.

“It was through Scott that I got started,” said the Selkirk man.

As a teenager Greg helped Mr Lambie, a family friend. Then aged 17 he went to work for the St Boswells auctioneers.

“I finished school on the Friday, had a week as an attendant at the Common Riding and started at Swans on the Monday.

“I want to just keep going to the top. A lot of auctioneers who have gone on to be top men have won the cup.

“You get quite a buzz when you are selling. It’s a good job, very rewarding, especially now when trade is good.”

He also credits Richard Henderson, also at John Swan, as an important influence.

Greg’s father, Ewan, is a postman and his mother Laura works at the Macmillan Centre at the Borders General Hospital.

The Ettrick and Lauderdale Young Farmer also keeps a few sheep at Broomhill, near Selkirk. He said: “It’s just a hobby.”

After having to push the 
quad bike around his 70 halfbreds last Tuesday, he borrowed a friend’s horse to get through the two-foot snow and take hay out to his sheep the following day. Blue, the 13-year-old Connemara, turned pack pony as she carted out haynets for the hungry ewes – and the native pony formerly owned by Lord Belfast will be helping out for as long as the cold snap continues.

Executive secretary of the Institute of Auctioneers and Assesssors in Scotland, Andrew Wright said: “Greg is a trainee auctioneer at the moment. He is currently in our education programme and we are 
very pleased one of our auctioneer trainees has won a cup like this. It is excellent for the industry.”

Other winners at the fair included Messrs Malcolm Stewart of Melrose in the 
Suffolk or native downland 
ram and the native ram classes in the butchers weight lambs section, John Dykes from West Linton in a class in the mules and crosses section, and William Chapman, also from West Linton, who won the early potatoes class.