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Drew Pringle gave lengthy telephone interviews on November 2 and November 8, 2009.

Drew can trace his family back to the 1500s. The Pringles were one of the family names on the Scottish side of the Borders that were a part of the Border Reivers’ history. There are several books on the subject of the Border Reivers; they were unique in the history of Britain.

The Pringles of the Reivers’ era lived in the areas of Roxburgh, Galashiels, and Hawick. Today, visitors can still see Smailholm Tower located between Melrose and Kelso. The Tower was originally built in the middle of the 15th century by members of the Pringle family. This Tower was often attacked by English raiders. The Pringles’ raids crossing over the Border ceased after 1548 when John Pringle promised to no longer raid England.

Drew’s belief is that his great grandfather, Gideon Pringle, had been a drover. There is a section on the drovers in the “History” part of this website.

Drew’s grandfather, John Hutchison Pringle, was employed as a shepherd. He had four boys. Three of his sons (to include Drew’s father, Gideon) followed in their father's footsteps and became shepherds. Gideon Pringle married Mary Ferguson; they had five children: Anna, John, Drew, Anthony and Robert. John, Drew and Anthony all engaged in shepherding work.

Drew, when very young, started working on the family farm (named Tannielaggie Farm), which was located in Newton-Stewart in the south of Scotland. Thereafter, Drew went off to attend the Scottish College of Agriculture located in Aberdeen. It was here that he met his wife, Kathleen Corrigan, and they married when Drew was 21 years of age. They are the parents of Gideon, Catherine, Janet and Ian. Janet is also featured in the Scottish shepherding section; she resides on the Island of Skye. She is the only one of their children engaged in farming work.

Drew’s first job was working for the Gourlay Farming Company, at Halfmark (near Dalry, Kirkcudbrightshire). Drew’s father and his brother, David, worked as shepherds for John Gourlay’s father.

Drew left Gourlay when he was offered a position to manage both sheep and cattle on an estate located in Argyll. He managed about 100 cows and about 600 to 700 sheep.

Drew next moved to Ayrshire where he accepted a position managing about 120 dairy cows: 120 suckler cows and 150 sheep.

Drew also became a tenant farmer for approximately twelve years; he is now employed as a stockman near Loch Lomond.

Drew indicated he was not particularly good with dogs. He preferred that his dogs run loose. He liked the “rough and ready” attitude of the Beardies; though sometimes they managed to embarrass him. The Beardies were good, reliable, hardy; he could lie them down at his doorstep, and he could count on finding them there the next day. The fact that the Beardies didn’t run off, and had force (power) to shift, or push, the livestock is what Drew particularly liked, and still likes, best about them.

History has demonstrated that many things change over time. Just as there were once Border Reivers who engaged in the stealing of livestock for a food source, the need for sheep and cattle as a food source did not end in that era.

Even though the drovers (as a profession) no longer were needed after the late 1800s, the need for sheep and cattle to supply food once again did not end.

Drew believes history will repeat itself; the need for food will remain. Naturally, there will continue to be changes in farming. Drew once drove sheep across six miles of land in order for them to be sheared (see the working pictures). Nowa- days, most shepherds would choose to use a quad bike as opposed to walking.

Drew is hopeful that the working Beardies will continue to exist. Drew is counting on the next generation, like his own daughter, Janet, to continue the breeding of such fine working animals.

When Drew retires, he and his wife, Kathy, hope to buy some land and continue on as “magic peasants.” This term means a “man/woman of the soil” or “living off the land.” Drew said that the magic part has disappeared in the U.K. over the past 25 to 30 years. But Drew remains an optimist. He thinks the “magic” will return.

He and his wife are hopeful to see at least one of their four grandchildren grow up to continue Drew’s way of life as a farmer/shepherd/stockman. Perhaps one of them will continue the tradition of working with livestock and have the pleasure of using working Beardies in their own farming activities.

Drew said he was “not good with dogs.” Others might agree—perhaps Drew is not good with dogs. Instead they might say he is EXCELLENT with dogs.








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