A Reston shepherd has represented Scotland in an international event marking the climax of the National Sheep Association’s Young Shepherd of the Year competition.
David McClean, aged 21, travelled to France with fellow Scot Euan Orr from Biggar for the World Young Shepherds Challenge, facing off against pairs from all over Europe and the USA.
The duo had been selected for the championships after coming through the Scottish leg of the event, which was held at Quixwood, Grantshouse, in May, and the UK competition in Wales,in July.
As well as being put through their competitive paces, the contestants also enjoyed visits to sheep farms, sightseeing in Paris, the Auvergne Volcano Park, and a visit to the Sommet de l’Elevage Show during their time in France.
There was also a trip to see the famous Rayon de Roquefort cheese being made.
“It was really well organised,” said David, “and there were lots of things that we all did together, like going to visit Paris.
“I though that it was interesting, as well, to meet and talk to shepherds from so many different countries, who are all out there doing the same thing.”
The competitors also participated in an international conference on sheep production and next generation sheep farmers during their stay.
During the two days of competition, David and Euan competed in the Under 22s category.
The scores for their individual performances were combined to give the scores for their country.
And David performed well, coming sixth in a field of 31 shepherds.
His partner Euan also performed well, finishing in third place in the individual competition.
The pair’s combined scores meant that Scotland finished seventh out of 16 countries.
England took top prize in the team and senior individual sections of the competition,
David McLean (21) from Reston is a self-employed contract Shepherd and works locally on farms in the Berwickshire area, particularly around Reston, doing sheep and tractor work.
“Shepherding is just something that is in my blood, I think,” he said on his return to work after just one day off.
“It skipped a generation with my mum and dad but my grandmother and grandfather were involved in it.
“I remember when I must have been about 11 or 12, I just asked a local farmer if there was anything I could do, and it all just developed from there.”
While David is glad t return home to his two dogs, Ben and Reed, who did not travel to the competition with him, the World Championships have given him a taste for competition.
“I am definitely going to enter into more competitions like that,” he said.