Our family has been associated with the Blue Faced Leicester breed since the early 1950's. My Grandfather, the late William Drummond, travelled down to Hexham Market and purchased a tup which he brought home and crossed on to Blackface ewes and some of his Border Leicesters. This tup died in his first winter (which is very unusual for a bluefaced leicester tup!). However they must have been pleased with his progeny as a couple of years later my Grandfather travelled back to Hexham to purchase another one of these funny looking sheep and this time they looked after it. These Border cross Blue Faced Leicester sheep created a lot of interest when they were sold at Ayr Market and achieved high prices.
1960's and 1970's
At the beginning of the 60's, we bought our very first pedigree ewe from Jimmy Cruikshank at Castle Douglas before he later moved to Laidlawstiel, Galashiels. The majority of our sheep go back to that very first ewe. The stock tups we used throughout the 60's /70's were from Samuel Black of Hillside, the Ross family of Romesboech, and the Edgar brothers of Newfield. We sold our tups privately and at the local market and slowly built up the number of females. Some prominent breeders started with ewes bought out of the Cassington flock.
In 1980, we joined the B.F.L. Society and registered our first sheep, this was also the time when we started showing at local shows. The flock's first major show sheep was Cassington Irene, who came to the fore in 1989 when she achieved numerous championships. In 1988, a Millhouse tup was purchased at Newton Stewart from George Ferguson, Old Hall. This tup marked his stamp on the flock by producing very uniform ewes with great length, tremendous breed character and extremely correct legs. When the Society decided to have a sale at Castle Douglas, we started to sell our tups there.
Blackpark breeding was introduced into the flock in 1993, when a tup was hired from Clark Lamont. He bred very well, and in the following year he was classified elite at Carlisle Progeny Show. We went on to purchase him at Castle Douglas where he was Champion Shearling for £1400. We christened him Blackpark Braveheart. He bred good tups, but excellent ewes. Our next stock tup was Knockairdie Rob Roy purchased at Castle Douglas in 1996 who proved to be the best tup ever used in the flock. His style and conformation matched Bravehearts length and size and consistently produced top show sheep. He fathered dozens of show champions, his best day was when his three daughters were Reserve Champion at the Progeny Show in Carlisle in 1999. His first crop of tup lambs averaged £812 for eight lambs sold, our best lamb average with a top of £2100. His sons are exceptional crossers. His daughters have matured into big, stylish correct ewes. In 1999, we bought Nithdale Bright Spark from David Cruikshank. He was a son of Shafthill Sparky, a proven crossing sire.
In 2000, we had a good show year winning numerous championships. We bought another tup from Robin Bell - Knockairdie Blue Diamond. He was purchased because had clean white legs, good skin and tremendous carriage, to tup show type ewes. In 2001, we were extremely lucky to escape the foot and mouth that devastated the breed. We sold some of our tups privately but the top end were sold at the video auction at Castle Douglas. Our Shearlings averaged £782, and sold to a top of £1300. Our lambs averaged £500. Some of the top averages at the sale.