For­mer Mull shep­herd in spot­light

The Oban Times - - FARMING -

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.

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