THE SCOTTISH farming community has been saddened to learn of the passing of Mike Scott, who was perhaps one of the most successful Blackface sheep breeders of his generation, producing many outstanding rams and females which were sold all over Scotland.

Michael was born in Edinburgh, educated at Belhaven Prep School, then to Rugby School, where he excelled at sport, particularly rugby and cricket. He finished his formal education at Cirencester where he studied agriculture and land management.

However, his education really started in earnest when he went for his summer holidays to Remony, in Perthshire. His uncle, Alistair Duncan-Miller, introduced him to Blackface sheep, before he then took a placement at Connachan, where he spent time under the stewardship of the late Neil McColl-Smith and that doyen of all hill shepherds, the late Davie Cunningham.

He impressed his peers with his photographic memory and his ability to spot a 'bloody topper' instantly, which he did when he bought Old Gass, at Newton Stewart, for £1400, definitely one of Troloss’ best ever stock tups.

In 1964, Mike purchased Troloss Farm from the late Ben Wilson. Situated on the Lanarkshire/Dumfries-shire border, this is an out and out hill farm.

At that time, the performance of the Troloss sheep stock was, perhaps, at the pinnacle of its success, and it was suggested that the fortunes of the flock could only decline under the stewardship of a new owner. However, with the help of his two outstanding shepherds, Sandy Wilson and Billy McMorran, Mike accepted the challenge and propelled the Troloss flock to an even higher level.

In 1984, the Troloss team had the top price and top average at Lanark Market for their pen of tup lambs, top price was £32,000 for a lamb, later christened Old Sandy. Old Sandy left his mark in many flocks.

When the Troloss rams were approaching the sale ring the auctioneer, the late Ian Clark had to stop the sale and persuade the crowd to move up to the back of the sale ring and allow the massive crowd into the sale ring to witness the sale.

Michael loved showing his stock at Abington Show and it was a great tribute to the Troloss team how many Blackface sheep breeders made the trip to Abington to see the show team on parade at what was its local event. The Troloss draft ewes were also much sought after and made exceptional and consistent high prices at Lanark market to many Blackface breeders starting new flocks.

Michael sold Troloss in 2000 and semi-retired to Overburns, an in-bye livestock farm on Clydeside, where he still enjoyed being involved in the Scottish farming scene. Mike’s hobbies were fishing, shooting and racing and it was while pursuing these hobbies that he met many of his lifelong friends.

He is survived by his wife of 46 years, Caroline, and his son Alexander, daughter Camilla and his grandchildren.

* A service of remembrance of Michael’s Life will be held in Biggar Kirk on Thursday, March 7, at 11am, to which everyone is invited. A beautiful bound volume and photos will be available to browse over in the Church hall after the service.