Whaur’s its lugs?

The Courier & Advertiser (Fife Edition) - - COMMENT -

“On a re­cent re­turn visit to Dum­fries and Gal­loway,” emails Hamish Mitchell, “my wife and I de­cided to briefly stop off in Mof­fat. Vis­i­tors to the town can­not fail to see the promi­nent statue on the main street. Known as the Mof­fat Ram, and gifted by a lo­cal busi­ness­man to mark the area’s long as­so­ci­a­tion with sheep farm­ing, the statue was orig­i­nally a foun­tain.

“At the of­fi­cial un­veil­ing cer­e­mony an ob­ser­vant farmer saw some­thing was amiss. He loudly shouted out to the gath­ered crowd: ‘Whaur’s its lugs?’

“In­cred­i­bly, no one had no­ticed; the sheep has no ears. Af­ter the un­for­tu­nate sculp­tor’s death, his ghost ap­par­ently con­tin­ues to wan­der around a nearby ho­tel search­ing for the ram’s miss­ing ap­pendages.

“We were now on our third visit to Gal­loway. Dur­ing the 1970s, when our chil­dren were small, we en­joyed a caravan hol­i­day in Glen­luce. I re­mem­ber point­ing out the herds of belted Gal­loway cows graz­ing in the fields.

The sec­ond visit was so dif­fer­ent.It was not long af­ter foot and mouth dis­ease had hit the dis­trict. The green fields were empty, not a cow or sheep to be seen. They had been culled, then in­cin­er­ated in huge fu­neral pyres. Fif­teen hun­dred farm­ers lost their liveli­hood and many thou­sands of an­i­mals to foot and mouth dis­ease. The farm­ing com­mu­nity was dev­as­tated.

Fif­teen years from then, the cat­tle and sheep have re­turned but, I only saw one belted Gal­loway cow, not herds of them. Why? Has the epi­demic in­di­rectly led to their de­cline? It would be in­ter­est­ing to know.”

The Mof­fat Ram. See story above.

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