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TITLE
Shepherd at Upper Strathconon (1 of 2)
EXTERNAL ID
GB1796_SINCLAIR_DONALDMACLEOD_01
PLACENAME
Strathconon
DISTRICT
Muir of Ord
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
ROSS: Contin
PERIOD
1980s; 1990s
CREATOR
Donald MacLeod
SOURCE
Inverness Museum and Art Gallery
ASSET ID
1911
KEYWORDS
shepherds
audio

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Until the mid-18th century sheep were kept in the Highlands only for domestic purposes. However, by the 1760s, the hardy black-faced breed - which could winter outside - were being introduced to the Highlands, replacing the black cattle on the pastures. They dominated the regional economy until the later 19th century.

In this audio extract, Bill Sinclair talks to Donald MacLeod, a shepherd of black-faced sheep, in Upper Strathconon, Ross-shire.

Interviewer: Donald, you're busy there with the straw.

Feeding these hungry brutes here; they follow you for miles when they see a bale of straw. They've had a hard time with this snow on the ground. They'll no get a bite to eat except what you give them and they'll be getting heavy in lamb shortly and then looking for something to eat and if they don't get fed just now they'll no be fit for the lambing and when they're short of milk there's nothing for them to rear the lambs.

Interviewer: How many blackface have you got here?

Well I've got over thirteen hundred on the farm here, and I'm feeding them hay and robovite just now, and in another month or so we give them cobbs, you know, the cobbs for giving them good heart coming into the lambing time.

Interviewer: Well, you've got a colleague there helping you with the tractor so -

Yes, he's a chap, he came up from Fife and he's working on the farm further down in Scatwell there. In fact, my boss, he took over this place eighteen month ago, and he'd a hard time since he took over. There was a flood last week and we lost a lot of the feeding stuff away down in Scatwell there; it was wiped away with the flood.

Interviewer: What flood is this you had?

Oh we had a hard day - one day there last week we had, all day it was raining and the rivers burst their banks and they flattened all the fences in the place, and there's Strathfarrar further down and the hydro dam had overspilled, you know, and it washed away the banks down there too, and an awful damage. Thousands of pounds worth of damage in it.

Interviewer: Is this one of the most serious floodings they've had in Strathconon?

Well, they'd a flood here, och, a number of years ago before I came here. I'm here eleven year ago since I came here and they'd a big flood a while back and this is the worst I've seen here anyway.

Interviewer: Now, how do the sheep fare with the flooding?

Well, we got them onto higher ground before the riverbank burst and there's a few went down the river, right enough and -

Interviewer: Did you manage to rescue any of them?

Oh yes, we were out waist-deep in water trying to rescue them and -

Interviewer: Pretty cold work?

Oh yes, cold work. I don't fancy it at this time of year, especially

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Shepherd at Upper Strathconon (1 of 2)

ROSS: Contin

1980s; 1990s

shepherds; audio

Inverness Museum and Art Gallery

Until the mid-18th century sheep were kept in the Highlands only for domestic purposes. However, by the 1760s, the hardy black-faced breed - which could winter outside - were being introduced to the Highlands, replacing the black cattle on the pastures. They dominated the regional economy until the later 19th century. <br /> <br /> In this audio extract, Bill Sinclair talks to Donald MacLeod, a shepherd of black-faced sheep, in Upper Strathconon, Ross-shire. <br /> <br /> Interviewer: Donald, you're busy there with the straw.<br /> <br /> Feeding these hungry brutes here; they follow you for miles when they see a bale of straw. They've had a hard time with this snow on the ground. They'll no get a bite to eat except what you give them and they'll be getting heavy in lamb shortly and then looking for something to eat and if they don't get fed just now they'll no be fit for the lambing and when they're short of milk there's nothing for them to rear the lambs.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: How many blackface have you got here?<br /> <br /> Well I've got over thirteen hundred on the farm here, and I'm feeding them hay and robovite just now, and in another month or so we give them cobbs, you know, the cobbs for giving them good heart coming into the lambing time.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: Well, you've got a colleague there helping you with the tractor so -<br /> <br /> Yes, he's a chap, he came up from Fife and he's working on the farm further down in Scatwell there. In fact, my boss, he took over this place eighteen month ago, and he'd a hard time since he took over. There was a flood last week and we lost a lot of the feeding stuff away down in Scatwell there; it was wiped away with the flood.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: What flood is this you had?<br /> <br /> Oh we had a hard day - one day there last week we had, all day it was raining and the rivers burst their banks and they flattened all the fences in the place, and there's Strathfarrar further down and the hydro dam had overspilled, you know, and it washed away the banks down there too, and an awful damage. Thousands of pounds worth of damage in it.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: Is this one of the most serious floodings they've had in Strathconon?<br /> <br /> Well, they'd a flood here, och, a number of years ago before I came here. I'm here eleven year ago since I came here and they'd a big flood a while back and this is the worst I've seen here anyway. <br /> <br /> Interviewer: Now, how do the sheep fare with the flooding?<br /> <br /> Well, we got them onto higher ground before the riverbank burst and there's a few went down the river, right enough and - <br /> <br /> Interviewer: Did you manage to rescue any of them?<br /> <br /> Oh yes, we were out waist-deep in water trying to rescue them and - <br /> <br /> Interviewer: Pretty cold work?<br /> <br /> Oh yes, cold work. I don't fancy it at this time of year, especially