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Oer Hill and Dale (clip 1)

Shepherd's Spring in the Cheviot Hills

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This early documentary about sheep farming in the Cheviot Hills was produced by John Grierson and widely distributed in cinemas. In this first clip we see Martin, a shepherd from Langbank Shields, set off for the hills. He treats a newborn lamb with gin and linseed to ward off dysentery. Martin spots a lamb stuck in a burn and rescues it. He finds a dead lamb. The bereaved ewe and a ewe with twins are rounded up and put into a pen. One of the twins is given to the dead lamb's mother. The shepherd covers it with the fleece of the dead lamb so that it will be accepted by the foster ewe. The shepherd helps a ewe which has got stuck on its back.

Questions & Activities


  • What does a shepherd do?
  • Why would he be useless without his collies?
  • Why do the Cheviot Hills have no trees?
  • Why are the clips framed to show so much sky?
  • Do you think the incident with the lamb was staged?


English / Maths: Make a timetable to help Martin the shepherd organise his day.

Geography: Investigate how sheepdogs are used and trained.

English: Enid Blyton wrote a story called 'Shadow the Sheepdog' and Eric Knight created the most famous sheepdog, Lassie, who was immortalised in the movies. Find out about Lassie and write your own story or create your own storyboard about one or more of Martin's dogs.

Art and Design: The opening title picture looks a little dated, perhaps you could design a more appropriate picture to introduce the film.

Geography: Research sheep farming today. Where are most sheep farmers located in Scotland? Make a list of the different kinds of sheep the farmers keep.

Clip Details

Record Id 007-000-000-077-C
Resource Rights Holder Courtesy of the British Film Institute
Project Ref 1192
Date 1932
Genre Documentary
School Subject Geography, English, Art and Design, Mathematics
Who Basil Wright (director), Empire Marketing Board Film (production company), Gaumont-British Picture Corporation Ltd (distributor), John Grierson (producer)
Where Cheviot Hills
Event Farming
Attributes Black and White, Sound
Clip Length 4:27
Film Length 16:00