Roddy MacDiarmid, 57, lifelong shepherd and son of a shepherd, surveys the Scottish Highlands from a ridge overlooking Loch Fyne and the little valley town of Cairndow. On one hand lies the estate of John Noble, where MacDiarmid has worked much of his life, on the other the estate of the Duke of Argyll. Black-faced lambs and ewes by the hundreds dot the green hillsides below. His Border collies, Mirk and Dot, trot faithfully behind. It's familiar turf.
"Everywhere you see," says MacDiarmid, sweeping his shepherd's crook in an all-encompassing arc, "I have gathered sheep. And I can tell you this: You cannot gather sheep from these hills without dogs. Never could and never will; never, never, ever!"