One of the characters of the sheepdog trialling world, Bobby Wood, passed away at the end of last year at more than 90, and was buried in Oxton, in the Borders.

Bobby was a working Lothians and Borders shepherd of a type once more common than now. He grew up at Snowdon, Gifford, in the Lammermuirs, and worked at Collylaw, Oxton, for 19½ years, before settling at Craigwindshield, Cranshaws, 11 miles from Gifford. He remained there for more than 30 years, eventually retiring to Greenlaw, well into his 70s.

Although he travelled to trials, his life was spent in a relatively small area. But, for Bobby, it was far reaching in the experience it gave him of the local community, its culture and traditions, livestock farming, herding and of running dogs.

His outlook was shaped by his home ground, the priorities of his work and the lifestyle that came with it. He did not suffer fools gladly and had a keen radar for detecting them. He formed opinions on matters that concerned him and was always ready to express them.

In sheepdog trialling, Bobby had considerable success in national and international events. His home-bred Buff came second in the International's shepherds’ class in both 1960 and 1963.

In 1967, Bobby’s Sweep was ninth in the Scottish team, third in the Scottish shepherds’class and the following year saw them take third place in the Scottish team, second in the shepherds’ award, and second in the International shepherds’ class. In 1969, the same pairing were seventh in the team and third in the Scottish shepherd’s class.

In 1971, Bobby and Liz came second in the Scottish team and first in the Scottish shepherds’ ranking, going on to win the International shepherds’ trophy at Cardiff, that year – which Bobby said was his best moment in trialling.

Bobby and Liz also earned second place in the Scottish team and in the Scottish shepherds’ prize list in 1974. At the International that year, they were placed third in the supreme and third in the International shepherds’.

Some time ago, he remembered his early days with dogs. “I didn’t go to many trials when I was young, but I got my first trial dog, Nan, as a pup.I trained her myself and I won Ellemford with her. My father gave me a bit of help, but mostly a swearing.”

Bobby was a great stocksman and although he enjoyed trialling on both sides of the Border, his priority was to have all his work done and his stock attended and in good order, before he set off.

Asked if he had any hobbies, he said: “I like to keep the place tidy,” before admitting that, for a time, he had dressed sticks.

His mind seemed to be constantly assessing and evaluating the standard of the world around him and his attention to the details of any run, was near legendary. Bobby was known for identifying any fault in a run and his vast memory could recall the details many years later.

One handler reckoned that long after he had forgotten his own runs, or which dogs he had run on a course, Bobby could remind him, not only of the runs and their failings, but which of his dogs was responsible for which mistake.

It was a rare talent appreciated in the real world of sheep dog trialling.