Scotland’s biennial national sheep event, Scotsheep, will
be returning to the Borders in 2008.
Scotsheep hosts for 2008, Ian and Katherine Hepburn, with new
NSA Scotland chairman, Jim Thomson (right)
Organised by the Scottish Region of the National Sheep Association,
NSA Scotsheep 2008 will be held on June 4, 2008, on the farm of Northhouse,
Teviothead, Hawick, courtesy of host farmers, Ian and Katherine Hepburn
and their sons, John, Adam and Gregor.
“This is an excellent, well-managed upland sheep farm which
will provide an ideal venue for Scotsheep,” said new NSA Scotland
chairman, Jim Thomson, Hownam Grange, Kelso, who announced the venue
today (Thursday) at the annual general meeting of NSA Scotland in
“We are delighted to be returning to the Borders and grateful
to the Hepburn family for agreeing to host this important event for
the Scottish sheep industry.”
The organisation of the event will be in the hands of a local committee
under the chairmanship of Jack Clark, managing director of auctioneers,
John Swan and Sons Ltd, St Boswells. The joint organisers are Julie
Sedgewick and Euan Emslie.
Northhouse is a 1607 acres hill and upland farm on the Buccleuch
Estate which has been farmed by Mr and Mrs Hepburn since 1987. The
farm rises to 1250ft and comprises 1080 acres hill and rough grazing,
155 acres permanent pasture, 340 acres temporary grass and 25 acres
The farm is widely recognised for the production of quality livestock
from its flock of 1850 ewes and herd of 130 suckler cows. Most lambs
are finished on the farm and calves sold store at 15-18 months of
age, apart from replacement breeding stock which are all home-bred,
with the exception of the occasional purchase of rams and bulls,
in order to maintain a closed flock and herd.
The sheep flock comprises 950 Lairg-type North Country Cheviot ewes,
670 of which are bred pure and 280 crossed with the Bluefaced Leicester
to produce replacement ewes for the 820-strong flock of Cheviot Mules.
Ram lambs from pedigree flocks of 50 Suffolks and 30 Texels are
crossed with the Mule ewes and sold as shearlings at Kelso. North
Country Cheviot rams have been sold at Lairg for the past two years,
selling to a top of £4500 last year.
The suckler cows are black Limousin cross but a Beef Shorthorn has
now been introduced to breed replacement females. The first calves
from the Shorthorn x Limousin heifers are due to be born this year.
Heifers are generally put to Limousin bulls and cows to the Charolais.
Around 100 cows are calved in the spring and the rest in the autumn.
Mr Hepburn was awarded his Higher National Diploma (HND) in agriculture
at the East of Scotland College of Agriculture (now part of SAC)
and spent nine years with the Department of Agriculture (now SEERAD)
in Thurso where he met Katherine who is a member of the Coghill family
from Skinnet, well-known cattle and sheep breeders in Caithness.
Mr Hepburn is a member of the council of the North Country Cheviot
Sheep Society and previously served in a similar capacity with the
South Country Cheviot Sheep Society.
Scotsheep is held in different areas of Scotland every two years
and was last held in the Borders at Flass, Gordon, Berwickshire,
in 1995. Last year’s event was held at Wellheads, Huntly, Aberdeenshire.
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