Riding into Bigtown this morning I encountered a bit of sheepherding, modern style – one (ordinary saloon) car driving along in front with its hazards on, a flock of sheep, and one driving along behind to make sure there were no stragglers. I suppose there’s no actual reason why one should herd sheep from a quad bike with a dog – or even from a 4×4, except that it just looks a bit more authentically agricultural that way (although I did notice that both drivers were at least wearing their tweed caps). And if you’re on a normal car it’s probably a lot warmer and more comfortable than a quad bike and cheaper to run than a Land Rover.
But it did seem a little strange that these sheep were being herded from next to the field where sheepdog school regularly runs – and indeed, as I cycled back before lunch, there were all the trainee sheepdogs bouncing up and down waiting for their turn to chase the remaining sheep in circles round the field. You do wonder what the point is of all that training if you can move the sheep around just as easily with a couple of Ford Focuses fore and aft. And you’d think the dogs would relish the chance to actually try their stuff on the road doing an actual real job moving sheep from one field to another.
But then again, being trainees, perhaps they’re not up to being out there with the traffic? At what level do you allow the dogs out on the road? Sheepability 2?