When it comes to handling livestock, Selkirk High School teenager Clark Young is in a class of his own.
Clark, who lives in the Yarrow Valley with dad Keith, a shepherd for Buccleuch Estates, and mum, Caroline, was named Regional Sheep Young Handlers’ champion in the under 16 category at this month’s Peebles Show.
Clark has been handling sheep in show rings throughout the summer on behalf of renowned Lindean Texel breeders, Gordon and David Gray.
“I was over the moon to have won the young handlers title,” Clark told us this week. “I’ve taken a number of first and second places at various shows and was presented with the trophy at Peebles Show,” added Clark, who is in fourth year at Selkirk High.
“It’s been great fun going to all the different shows and I will still be young enough to compete again in young handlers events next year.”
Asked about his plans for the future, Clark has his sights set on a combination of shepherding but with a trade to back it up. “I have grown up learning about sheep thanks to my dad so I suppose it’s natural to want to follow in his footsteps and be a shepherd.
“But I want a trade to fall back on as well and think it will probably be joinery – I think that seems like a sensible idea.”
Ron Wilson, secretary of the Border Union Agricultural Society, is in no doubt about the value of young handler competitions. “They provide a real stepping stone for these youngsters and are an invaluable way to gain the necessary experience for when they are older,” he told us.
“We get young handlers right down to the age of four and the classes are massively popular. It is tremendous to see such high levels of interest among youngsters and that bodes well for the future of the livestock industry.”