Water’s Edge – NC 956

Calum & BoysCalum MacLeod

Water’s Edge
Braighe Road
Isle of Lewis
Tel. 01851 701310
Mob: 07884236123


My name is Malcolm Macleod but most people know me by my Gaelic name, Calum. My two boys are showing an interest in the sheep (and the cows) even though they are only young yet. Unfortunately, my dear wife hasn’t got the same interest but she is very long-suffering and puts up with me spending a lot of my spare time with the livestock. Her forte with the sheep is in the kitchen!

I used to have a Blackface flock but the negative returns from them persuaded me to change to the North Country Cheviot. This is a change that, so far, I have not regretted. But I still have 4 or 5 BF ewes left – just for showing. They have been run out as the Northy flock has increased year on year.

I established the Water’s Edge Flock (NC956) in 2002 with 4 ewe hoggs that I purchased from Charlie “Barley” Macleod at Crobeg who, incidentally, also made the crook that I have in the photo. They bred very well for me. But, unfortunately, they did not produce many females. However, I sold some tups out of them, and their wedder lambs made decent money too. Today, I only have a handful of ewes that go back to these foundation ewes. They are very nice sheep too. I have augmented my flock with purchases from Neil Macleod (Torravig), Rod McKenzie (Muirton), the MacCallums at Belmaduthy, Peter Fraser (Tighnahinch) and Angus Maclean (Habost) and now have a flock of 39 ewes/gimmers in 2012 and 16 ewe hoggs.

I started performance recording my flock in 2008, so I’m comparatively new to this. But, nevertheless, I can already see the difference in production between the higher and lower index ewes. Invariably, the high index ewes are producing better lambs. The female stock that I bought in have all come from performance recorded flocks with good performance indices.

Most of the rams I have used have also had high indices. I’ve been trying to focus on maternal index, so far, with the aim of getting productive females. The most recent tups used have been Torravig The Stamper, Tighnahinch TVR, Belmaduthy Happy Memories (half share with Torravig), Allanshaws Border Reiver (half share with Torravig) and Allanshaws Bond. I also took a chance with two tups from Pengroes that won champion ram lamb at Caithness ram show and sale in 2010 and 2011. I’ve taken a hit in index terms since they were not recorded, but there is such a small pool of recorded tups and now and again one is almost forced to take a punt on an unrecorded ram. Nevertheless, a Pengroes Welsh Prince daughter won Reserve champion at Lochs Show, while Pengroes Napoleon won Reserve champion at Point Show.

I would say, that, Tighnahinch TVR has been my best purchase, so far. His daughters are fantastic mothers. He has the same testimony at Gilmorehill and Muirton. Unfortunately for me, he only left me a few females. In the last year I used him he didn’t leave me any females at all out of 13 lambs.

In 2012, I purchased Torravig The Lawyer back from Uist as a 5 year old, and also a shearling, Muirton Nova Scotia, in Lockerbie. From searching the BASCO web site, I believe I’m correct in saying that The Lawyer has the highest maternal EBV in the breed and Nova Scotia has the highest muscle EBV in the breed. I’m looking forward with much anticipation to seeing their progeny as ewes.

Performance records are not the be-all and end-all, though, when I’m selecting stock. I am very particular about mouth, legs, hair and skin. But having said that, and knowing that all my gimmers were structurally correct, my replacement gimmer selection in Sept 2012 was done sitting at the kitchen table with my performance books. And when I went through them in the pen I didn’t change my mind.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.