Former Mull shepherd in spotlight
OBAN TIMES reader Lorna Byrne, from Locheil side, Fort William, emailed the newspaper this week with a fasin cating vignette from her family’s farming background.
Lorna wrote: ‘ In September, I read the coverage of the Mull and Morvern Sheepdog Trials, and was surprised to see a mention of my grandfather, Kenneth MacAskill, who once farmed Lettermore in Aros.
‘ I enclose a photo of himself and his good trial dog, Chance.
‘ He must have won that new cup [ Miss Lithgow of Glengorm Trophy in 1928] shortly before vacating Lettermore as the hill ground had been sold to the Forestry Commission.
‘ When my mother’s older sister, Flora, was born in 1925, the neighbouring farmer gave an Ayrshire heifer to the new baby, a very generous gift in those hard times.
‘ My grandparents were sad to leave Mull in 1928 when my mother was two years old, but mum cherishes this photo and the lovely silver trophy which her father had previously won two years running.
‘ Friends had encouraged him to come back and win it outright the next year, but by then he and his family had moved to Loch Luichart in Ross- shire.
‘ In his younger days, he had been a shepherd to the flock of sheep in the Royal Parks in London, dipping sheep in the Serpentine.
‘ His set of pipes were stolen in London, before he left for Montana along with a few other Skye men, to earn money towards farming in his own right.
‘ In the 1930s, he was the official timekeeper at the Inverness venue of the National Trials and was presented with a gold watch for his services.’
Kenneth MacAskill, who once farmed Lettermore, and his good trial dog Chance.