Bob Fraser and the Mindrum Border Collies

Bob Fraser was the Shepherd at Mindrum and lived for many years in the Shepherd’s cottage at Fernie.

G-R fraser and pjf sheep
George Fraser (assistant shepherd) +”Kep”, Peregrine Fairfax (Farmer), Robert Fraser (Head Shepherd). Press photograph in Twinley Moss following winning the National Lambing Competition. Photo and clippings – Courtesy of G Fraser

This remarkable man was born at Bowmont Hill (The next door farm to Mindrum) in 1909.  Moving to Thornington (another neigbouring farm) when he was ten,  attended Howtel School which his wife Elizabeth (Betsy) Lowrie also attended.
He would spend most of his shepherding life in the Mindrum area but his influence spread far beyond his local area.  He bred one of the most famous lines of Border Collies (working sheepdogs) and was an enthusiastic and influential member of the sheep dog trialling community.  He was a major influence behind the televised sheepdog trialling competition “one man and his dog”.

He was head Shepherd at Mindrum for many years in the 50’s and 60’s and in 1960 won the Farmer and Stockbreeder’s National Lambing award when the Mindrum Flock of 478 half-bred ewes achieved a lambing percentage of 187.03%

Press Clipping about Award

Press Clipping about award

Fernie today
Fernie Today

He lived at Fernie, on Mindrum, and though there have been some changes over the years, you can still see the cast iron pot in the burn outside fernie where the overflow from the spring kept his milk cool.  We also still have the old, home made wind generator which he used to power his house.  This was made from a land rover alternator, with a shaved 7 foot fencing rail attached as a blade powering a car battery which supplied the house with 12 volt power through naked wires through the house.  I can remember, as a small boy, going up to the house in the late 60s.  When a light was needed in a room, a bulb was hung on the naked wires.  I remember Bob’s successor, Bob Cameron, who had a 12 Volt kettle and a tiny Black and white Television.  When the kettle was turned on, the TV picture used to get very small as the voltage dropped…. when the kettle was boiled, Bob would know – as the picture got big (well, a little bigger) again.

Bob's Wind Turbine
Bob’s Wind Turbine

 

We are collecting a more extensive set of pictures and information, and will update this page in the coming weeks.  In the mean time:


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