Bob Fraser was the Shepherd at Mindrum and lived for many years in the Shepherd’s cottage at Fernie.
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%
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.
We are collecting a more extensive set of pictures and information, and will update this page in the coming weeks. In the mean time:
- An amazing video ‘Bob Fraser – A Legend in his Own Lifetime was made about him, you can find it on youtube.
- There is also a great deal of information on the Kirknewton Website for those who are interested.
- There is also an excellent Facebook resource about the Border Collie Documentary.