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The Here We Are Story - past, present and future

SAE-000 - Shepherding on Ardkinglas, Cairndow

Shepherding on Ardkinglas, Cairndow, in the 20th Century

Visit the Shepherding on Ardkinglas, Cairndow website

We worked with archaeologists, Tom Addyman, Jenni Morrison and Liz Jones of Addyman Archaeology, Edinburgh, who trained us and local volunteers to survey and record the remains of the 20 sheep fanks here.

This study was needed as the growth of bracken, natural regeneration and scrub is rapidly burying traces of the 20 surviving fanks and other physical traces of shepherding as it was until 25 years ago.
The associated knowledge and expertise is disappearing as sheep husbandry has changed; soon the people who have this information will not be around so it was crucial to have it recorded.  We recorded their memories of a shepherds’ work during the months and seasons of the year.  And we also listed all the local terms and words used in shepherding.

This project would not have been successful without the participation of many of our community in particular ex- shepherds Roddy MacDiarmid and Alastair MacCallum and also the access to Ardkinglas Estate archives. Nor without the participation of John MacDonald, who was taught how to make scale drawings.  He and Dot Chalmers spent sunny May days recording the beautifully built old fanks.

 See our video link below.

Shepherding Exhibition 29th September 2017.

Laura Hindmarch, of Historic Environment Scotland, said “Historic Environment Scotland has been proud to support the Shepherding project. We truly believe that archaeology is for everyone! We want to enable and encourage engagement with our past through creative and collaborative working, active involvement, learning for all ages and enhanced archaeological presentation.

We feel that this is a great community led project that looks to capture local archaeology and histories, including oral history, in a modern, accessible, engaging and interactive format. Little is recorded on this subject and the project allows information important to the local community that would otherwise have been lost, to be preserved for the next generations as well as future archaeologists.”

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