Mure Grant, 20, is a sheep farmer’s son from Thurso, Caithness, and recently competed in Scotland’s young handlers section at the international sheepdog trials.
Ever since I can recall, I have always had an interest in sheep farming. This interest has predominantly stemmed from my childhood upbringing on both my mother’s farm and my auntie’s Joyce Campbell’s 2,226 hectares (5,500-acre) hill farm.
My auntie Joyce’s Armadale Farm is a strong advocate of the Hill Cheviot and purports the Cheviot’s versatily at all opportunities.
Her line of argument is hard to rebuke when a hill ewe can produce four crops of lambs on relatively barren land, but can then go on to rear two more crops of lambs on more fertile ground after being sold as an aged ewe.
The breed’s toughness and low running costs suit the north of Scotland very well, especially when the hard winter unfolds.
I was exposed to the companionship and necessity of sheepdogs at a very young age.
An old shepherd once told me a hill farm is ‘only as good as the dogs on it’. I think myself and my auntie better get practising then.
There really is nothing better than watching a border collie in full flight doing the job it was bred to do, especially when a sheepdog competes well in local sheepdog trials.
I have been very fortunate in my life to have trialled with some very good dogs, who have won me two opens and 62 national points.
The zenith of my trialling career was representing Scotland in the young handlers section at the international sheepdog trials last September.
Despite the accolades, I would not have been able to have done so well if it were not for the mentorship of two Caithness men.
William Cormack, of Wester Farm, and former world champion and nextdoor neighbour, Michael Shearer, of Lythmore, deserve a particular mention for providing advice and constructive criticism required to be the best handler one can be.
In September this year, I will be entering my third year of studying law at the University of Aberdeen. I will be learning about succession, property and land law.