The development of micro-chipped keel to identify sheep from various holdings is undoubtedly great news for sheep farmers desperately seeking to reduce the growing incidence of sheep rustling throughout the country.

Invisible to the human eye, it can nevertheless show a slight sparkle close up under certain lights, which left our well-known photograper, Rob Haining, well and truly ‘starry eyed’.

Now, as good a photographer, and indeed driver, as Rob is – he often ends up driving the length and breadth of the country while us agri-hacks catch up on some much needed ZZZZZZs – he has been on cloud nine for the past couple of months as he is about to become a faither for the first time, as his better half, Jan, is having a baby.

Needless to say, oor Rob has been grinning from ear to ear ever since he announced the big news and with baby Haining only a month away, it appears Rob is all set to play Santa to a bouncing baby.

Not just sure how he’ll cope with the sleepless nights, nappy changing and, of course, competition in years to come for Jan’s fantastic baking.

It also means he’ll need to look out for another camera bag to add to his much loved collection of 14, in which to transport his new arrival round all the shows and sales ...

A full-blooded and red hot Scotsman

THE RAIDER knows that John Gordon, from Wellheads, Huntly, is a red hot and full-blooded Scotsman, so I was more than slightly taken aback last week to see the bold John fully decked out in an England supporters T-shirt and hat!

So what has caused this about face, the likes of which has not been seen since Michael Gove and Boris Johnson ran away from the Brexit leave party? It seems that John’s daughter, Kirsty, was turning out for the England women’s cricket team in St Lucia and doing rather well, too, it seemed, being made player of the match after taking three wickets.

The good people of Aberdeenshire and the wider parish of Scotland would hope that this was a one-off and that by Six Nations time, John will be well back under the cover of a good old Scottish supporters shirt!

A good time, as always, on Islay

There were some brave souls on Islay last weekend after braving the fierce weather of last Friday to attend the annual cask tasting of Donald ‘Wilf’ Fletcher, of Persabus, in Bruichladdich Distillery. As the weather howled round about, the tasting team could not have given a jot as they gave due reverence to Wilf’s now 11-year-old whisky. It was a cracker, but it was overshadowed by a wee gem from that other wee Bruichladdich star, Mary MacGregor, who trumped it was a superb 26-year-old Bruichladdich.

Wilf and Colin McGill (we’re not quite sure who owns what in the cask) also managed to collar local farmer, James Brown, as he fortuitously (or otherwise) was caught feeding his Highland cows at the roadside near the distillery. While he might have been taken aback by being kidnapped, he certainly wasn’t as astonished as the dozen or so submariners who appeared in the Port Charlotte Hotel for a ‘quiet drink’ to witness the remnants of the cask tasting.

I think the wished they had been 30 fathoms below!