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Ronnie Morland

By Peter Wood, 2003

Ronnie was born in 1928 and had an interest in Beardies from an early age. He acquired his first one when he was 25 years old. It was a red bitch and came from Stirling. Ronnie had her for 12 years.

At some point Ronnie’s wife, Kathy, wanted Ronnie to have another Beardie pup so Ronnie got a second pup from Tammy Dean of Burnsgill, Muirkirk. An interesting point brought up by Ronnie was the fact that Tammy Dean's Border Collies, when bred to Beardies, produced Beardie appearing pups. This female pup became Nan, and it was soon evident that she wanted to work. When a neighbour said he was short of a dog, Ronnie loaned him Nan.

Nan started working by bringing in the cows regularly, and when she returned to Ronnie, she very quickly started working sheep also. One day whilst lambing, which was done in the fields on the lower ground, one of the ewes lambed a pair of ewe lambs. Ronnie thought to himself “they will be two to keep for the future.” On returning some time later, there was no sign of the lambs. Ronnie thought they must have been taken by a fox but could find no traces of blood anywhere. While walking back, feeling a little upset, he noticed Nan. She was some distance away from him when she suddenly cocked her head to one side and began to bark. She was reluctant to leave the spot so Ronnie went to investigate. Nan was standing by an old drainpipe in the field. When Ronnie arrived at this spot, lo and behold, he found the lambs tucked inside the pipe. Ronnie went on about his work the rest of that day feeling much happier and with yet another indication of the worth of a good Beardie safely tucked into his memory.

Until he retired, Ronnie used to shepherd 860 Scottish Blackface ewes on the open fell, or hilltops, and the lambs would be grazed, after weaning, on turnips to fatten for slaughter.

This work with sheep was all done using Beardies. The last Beardie Ronnie worked was a bitch called Stumpy. She was called this because of her short tail, a characteristic which turns up in the breed from time to time. Stumpy was bred by Paul Turnbull, sired by Paul's Blue out of Paul’s bitch named Pam. Stumpy was registered with the International Sheep Dog Society (ISDS). Blue, of course, is known as Turnbull's Blue, and is known to just about everybody who knows anything to do with Beardies. Blue was registered, on merit, with the ISDS after Paul demonstrated, on numerous occasions, Blue's ability to handle stock.

Blue is also the reason Ronnie’s name will be remembered in the history books, etc. because Ronnie bred Blue from his Nan. Blue's sire was Scott, bred by Archie Reid (who later loaned Scott to Georgie Howieson).

As can be seen by the photos below, Ronnie was instantly recognisable. He almost always wore his deerstalker type hat; he was a large man, standing five feet eleven inches tall, and he weighed around 280 pounds. Ronnie's immense knowledge of working dogs, and his very critical eye, can be described as "superb." In spite of the level of his knowledge, he was always fair when evaluating dogs.

It has been one of the pleasures of my life knowing Ronnie and being able to consider him as a friend.


Muirhead, Tommy

Norman, Jack

Paul and Carol

Pringle, Drew

Pringle, Janet

Reid, Kit


Baxter, John

Condie, Mike


Isted, Peter




Ronnie Morland. Courtesy of Brian Iddon, Photographer.


Photographer, Derek Ross, took several photographs of Ronnie when he (1) worked a flock of sheep and (2) engaged himself in the process of sheep shearing. Mr. Ross graciously consented to the use of this picture, as well as the five that follow, on this website.

The wind made for an interesting picture. Not only is Ronnie's coat blowing backwards, but so are the dog's ears and coat.



Ronnie is checking his flock from a vantage point. Although it is difficult to see in this picture, there are two dogs at work. One is almost entirely behind a large rock.


Ronnie is holding the sheep up with the help of his dogs, which are out of view, in this particular picture.


Ronnie was contemplating the coming storm.


This is a mobile unit shearing gang where several shearers travel from place to place to do the shearing of the flock. One sheep is obviously anxious to return to its flock after undergoing the removal of its fleece.


Ronnie is no longer engaged in the actual shearing of sheep, but he still worked at rolling fleeces and packing them into the wool sheets (a very big bag is provided).



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