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We gratefully acknowledge the contribution and assistance by Ian
Muirhead to bring Tommy's life to the public.
My Father, Tommy Muirhead
by Ian Muirhead
Dad was born on 12th June 1936 and died on
15th October 1994.
He left school at age 16 and went to a farm
called Harthope, near Moffat, Dumfrieshire as a single shepherd
(in those days there were positions for single men and separate
positions for married men—usually based on whether there was a
"tied" house with the job (married position) or single man's
accommodation (usually in a room in the farm
He was at Harthope until he got married to
Marjory Marshall in 1956. Mum and Dad then moved to Birkcleugh
Farm, Crawfordjohn, Lanarkshire that year.
They had three children while living in Crawfordjohn: Rena (my
older sister), Marshall (my older brother) and Ian (me).
Dad got his first Beardie Collie in 1962
from a neighbouring shepherd, Lachie MacDonald.
This female beardie came from Skye, where Lachie originated from.
Dad got his first male
Beardie from Lochhouse in Beatock, and he was a direct descendant of "Anderson's
Bobbie" a great and well known dog at that time.
The above two dogs were the start of Dad's beardie breeding line.
My parents left Birkcleugh in 1977 due to
his position being made redundant. They then went to Anston
Farm, Dunsyre, Lanarkshire and remained there until 1990. Dad was
a very keen gardener and he built a great garden there which was
open to the public one day a year under the Scottish Garden
Scheme (click on the Anston Farm link to see some of the
pictures) as a great example of a cottage
In 1990, sadly Dad's position again was made
redundant. My parents then moved to Kirkconnel in Dumfrieshire.
He was there only two years when he was struck down by severe
rheumatoid arthritis and early in 1992 had to give up work
completely due to ill health.
Mum and Dad then retired to Carnwath,
Lanarkshire ( a few miles away from Dunsyre). Two years later
after a short illness he died of a rapid spreading cancer.
Over the years he had many dogs, bitches
and litters of pups. His favourite names for dogs were Nap,
Gyle and Tam while bitches were often, Meg, Nan, Fly or Jill.
He had many many litters of pups over the
years from 1964 to 1992. Most of the pups were sold in the UK
and Ireland, but we also exported some to France, Canada and the USA.
A few articles have been written about Dad
over the years. His work with beardies was probably first
mentioned in a book called Country Diary written by Matt Mundell and
published by Gordon Wright Publishers, Edinburgh.
Below is my Dad as a young man with Border Collies. This
may well be the only picture of him with anything other than Beardies.
Note: Though Tommy is no longer with us, the
tradition of working dogs has been handed down to a grandson,
born to his first son, Marshall, and his wife. John finished
agricultural college. John won an award for being the best student of the
year. John will work on a mixed farm (to include sheep), and he is planning
to get a Beardie pup to train as his working dog (hopefully descended from
his Grandfather Tommy's line of dogs). Tommy must be smiling.