Scotland Magazine

Shepherd’s DELIGHT

If you happen to be in the Scottish Borders the first Saturday in October, mark it as one of those ‘Save the Date’ invitations that have become fashionable in recent years, although this one is not for a wedding.

With farmer friends in the Borders, I had the opportunity to attend the 156th Yetholm Border Shepherds’ Show in 2019 with His Grace, The Duke of Roxburghe as its patron, and the show is due to return in October 2021.

The idea of a formally organised show had its genesis in the 1850s, but actually grew from the centuries-old practice of area farmers gathering in the autumn to sort through any stray sheep that had infiltrated their flock from a neighbours.

In those days, free-range grazing was much more common than it is now, with hefting being a common application. Hefting is an agricultural practice whereby livestock stays on a particular piece of ground throughout their lifetime.

This presents several advantages. The stock is familiar with their ground, the hills and terrain, knows where to find good grazing and shelter

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