Have a peep at new book by Borders shepherdess

Emma Gray.  One Girl and Her Dogs book.
Emma Gray. One Girl and Her Dogs book.

A YOUNG Borders shepherdess has written a book about her life.

Triallist Emma Gray took on the tenancy of a remote small farm in the Northumberland hills, single and aged just 23, and then wrote about that ‘rollercoaster’ year.

Speaking before publication, the 26-year-old from Hawick said: “I can’t wait for the book to come out.”

Now training sheepdogs to supplement income from the 150-acre Fallowlees, Emma first came to public attention through one of her dogs winning a local trial, which led to a journalist from a national newspaper travelling to the farm in Harwood Forest to interview her. And the subsequent piece led to ghost writers asking to “put my life into print”.

“But one publishing house said they would like me to write it and, as I wanted it in my own words, it seemed like a great option,” she said.

The third generation farmer is the oldest of Richard and Helen Gray’s three daughters – her parents farm sheep and cattle at Muirfield, by the A7 between Hawick and Selkirk – and the former Hawick High School pupil did a year’s sheep management course at Kirkley Hall before travelling in New Zealand when she was 18.

“I grew up on a farm, farming is in my blood, and I can’t imagine ever doing anything else. I love it, and although it has its ups and downs, usually weather-related, I love being my own boss and taking a pride in my stock. My enjoyment of my dogs was also a big factor. As part of the specialist sheep management course I had to train a sheepdog which further fuelled my hunger to have my own place.”

She has a flock of more than 90 sheep, including blackface, mules and some Texels.