At Borough Farm, on North Devon’s rugged, spectacular coast, David Kennard and his dogs are embarking on a new shepherding year.
Part diary of one man and his remarkable dogs, part Herriot-like homage to the countryside and its characters, A Shepherd’s Watch is that rare thing: a portrait of a real life that is at once authentic and evocative, warm, and compelling. Here, David Kennard presents twelve months with his working sheepdogs, Greg, Swift, Gail, Fern, and Ernie, as they face a never-ending series of challenges: from rescuing ewes stranded on the Atlantic cliffs to running the gauntlet of psychopathic rams and officious farm inspectors, from spring lambing and summertime shearing to fending off the ever-present threats nature has in store for the 850-strong flock. All this, in the midst of a harsh economic climate for farming and a landscape that is among the most picturesque, yet wildly unpredictable, in the British Isles.
David Kennard has been a shepherd since he left school at the age of seventeen. In this, his first book, he draws on half a lifetime’s experience to paint an honest and affectionate, often comic picture of a year in the life of a sheep farm and its very different canine and human personalities. As he follows the changing seasons, observing nature’s inexorable journey through the dark days of winter to the rebirth and renewal of spring, he also offers a gentle meditation on man’s relationship with his environment, and a poignant elegy to a rural way of life.