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  • Renfrewshire


  • Agriculture
  • Animals


  • Amateur
  • Documentary


  • 1960s

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Title: GATHERING, the

Reference number: 4178

Date: 1968

Director: filmed by Andrew McTaggart and Mel Robinson

Sound: sound

Original format: 16mm

Colour: col

Fiction: non-fiction

Running time: 22.34 mins

Description: In this film we see the annual get together of shepherds in Renfrewshire. The work of shepherds and dogs in rounding up the sheep for clipping is shown, as is the correct way to shear, roll and tie the sheepskin. Shows the use of hand shears.

Comments from filmmaker Andrew McTaggart: "The film was made in part as a tribute to my father, himself a sheep man, who had died three years before the film was shot, and also to mark shepherding as a way of life. Alec Beaton I saw in the first part of the film as something of an ideal figure, "a good shepherd", and I noted also the biblical overtones of his comments, even if he was unaware of this when making them. The gathering of people is essentially a social work-gathering where "in-house" gossip and banter is exchanged; and the work itself has its own austere satisfaction. The filming brings out the beauty of the clipping process through big close-ups. There are also hints of change to tradition at the end of the film, voiced by Mr. Malloch, where the mix of solitary dedication and social work-gathering is likely to alter [...] Apart from my brief opening scene-setting voiceover, it is the participants themselves who lucidly provide their own commentary on proceedings (an innovative factor which I was told would put off some viewers outwith Scotland, but which I believe is an untold asset). The film can thus be seen as a portrait of how a particular farming community saw itself and its ideals at a work-gathering in the late sixties, as sympathetically filtered by the filmmakers." Film was made on an Arriflex with non-synchronised sound.

Credits: ph. co-director and ed. Mel Robinson
shepherd Alec Beaton
[sd. Jonathan McNaughton]

Shotlist: ocs (0.12) still photograph of shepherds seated in a group [location is Dowries Farm, run by Mr. Malloch. Later overplanted with a forest of Sitka Spruce] (0.29) gvs landscape (0.57) shot farm yard [Hillside Farm, Renfrewshire Uplands, run by Mr Cameron] shepherd Alec Beaton walks out with his collies (1.41) gvs landscape, c/u burn, wild grasses (2.04) m/s zooms out to l/s of shepherd walking with dogs across moor. v/o he speaks about the Gathering (2.47) gvs of different shepherds working with dogs to gather their sheep; v/o shepherd speaks about his dogs, and his Blackface sheep (6.00) gvs sheep walking across burn, and landscape, c/u kestrel; v/o shepherd discusses his ideas on the best approach to shepherding, and on "contract clipping" (9.07) m/s younger man walking by a stone wall, gvs working sheep v/o speaks about the times different sheep are taken in for shearing (10.38) pan shot through fence, follows shepherd penning sheep (11.02) splitting the herd into sheep for shearing into the catching pen and those already sheared and lambs (12.00) shot sharpening hand shears (12.12) gvs sheep shearing; catcher brings sheep out onto canvas, amongst group of shearers; shearer clips the sheep; fleece roller; children help out; v/o describes shearing technique; c/u treatment of "nipped" sheep; sheep are dosed with a metal syringe for liver fluke (14.59) Rolling fleeces (15.33) two women bring tea and sandwiches; men having tea (16.21) sharpening shears gvs shearing, one boy wears a canister spray; c/u various sheep held in a clinch by shearers; sheep runs into pen (20.36) m/s zooms out to l/s sheep moving away from shearing pen (22.30) ecs (22.36)