National Geographic : 1956 Apr
544 Poet Wordsworth (Plaque) and Great-grandson (Right) Seem Profiles of the Same Face Dove Cottage in Grasmere preserves Wordsworth's tattered suitcase. "Lettering is the poet's own work," says the sign. Author H. V. Morton interviews the Reverend C. W. Wordsworth (pages 516 and 522). "It's a grand day for the sheep-dog trials," everyone was saying. And indeed you might have thought, to see Lakeland on that sunny morning, that there was not an umbrella or a mackintosh in the three counties. The trials were held in a grassy valley ringed by hills. Huntsmen stood about in pink coats, surrounded by foxhounds. A van would draw up, and out would pour eager little white-and-tan beagles with twinkling tails. And everywhere shepherds leaned upon their sticks and crooks, some in their blue serge Sunday suits and others in breeches and thick woolen stockings. Lakeland Sheep Dogs Steal the Show But the heroes of the day were the little Lakeland sheep dogs. These small black-and white collies were always at their masters' heels, ready to obey a lifted finger or a whisper. The trials are a wonderful example of co operation and sympathy between man and animal. The shepherd stands beside a pen made of hurdles, and his dog crouches beside him. A few hundred yards away four sheep are cropping the grass.* The shepherd tells his dog to fetch them, and the little animal streaks off like a fox until he is pulled up sharply by a whistle from his master. He drops as if shot and lies panting, his eyes on the sheep. Placing his little finger in a corner of his mouth, the shepherd then signals to his dog. Sometimes his whistles send the animal to the left, sometimes to the right. Often the dog wriggles forward on his stomach through the tall grass. The object, at this stage, is not to alarm and split the sheep. A miscal culation may easily send them dashing off in all directions. At last, when the shepherd thinks he has maneuvered his dog into the right position, he gives the whistle to lift, or gather, the sheep. On the way the dog must drive them * See "Sheep Dog Trials in Llangollen," by Sara Bloch, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, April, 1940.