On our way to the Quiraing mountains, Mary Liz and I detoured to check out an old stone sheep pen that was set off, away from the road. About the time we walked in and started to look for photos who shows up but the crofter himself, Calum MacDonald with his trusty dog Pip! His purpose that day was to round up a couple dozen sheep for their annual sheep-dip plunge but he was willing to chat for a while, discussing the crofter’s waning lifestyle; those skills learned from his father and now being continued with his herd of sheep but more as a tradition than that of a business.
The afternoon highlight for us both was watching Pip herd the sheep while Calum strolled along offering minimal commands and hand signals. Once the sheep were at the stone pens, Calum managed the gates while Pip penned the herd with a firm stance and stare. It was a beautiful performance to watch, and made us both wonder how many generations of crofters and dogs have worked sheep into those stone pens over the years, and how they will continue.