174 SHEEP FARMING ON THE BORDER
errand; on arriving at the place where the sheep should have been there was no sign of any living creature ! The collies were then set to work, and it was extraordinary to see how quickly they pounced upon the place where a sheep lay buried; and one old dog, Sparkie, is said to have smelt out several at a depth of no less than fifty feet below the snow ! The sheep were all living when found ; but those that were very deeply buried felt the sudden change into the bitter atmosphere above, for, after bounding away in delight at their release, they were almost instantly paralysed and fell helplessly upon the snow, where they remained many hours before recovering the use of their limbs.
When the thaw came the rivers rose so suddenly that many of the poor weakened creatures could not get out of the way in time, and there is a curious record of the ' throw up' in the Solway which I quote here : ' 1840 sheep, 9 black cattle, 3 horses, 2 men, 1 woman, 45 dogs, and 180 hares, besides a number of meaner animals.'
In our own experience things are better : there are more roads, and the railways are of much help in many districts ; yet the elements remain as before, and we still have our anxieties. I can call to mind being able to walk over dykes on the snow wreaths, and days of drift when one could not see the course of the Teviot lying just below us. Such was a great storm on Old Year's night in 1874, when six trains were snowed up for two days at the head of Gala Water. Such, again, was a short sharp storm in March 1889. It came on very suddenly, the wind being so violent as to overturn two loaded trucks on the railway near our farm in Liddesdale. The poor sheep just ran before the blast on this farm, going to the head of a deep cleuch or glen for shelter; there they could get no further, and were ■ smoored,' or buried in the soft snow7. We lost 31 on that occasion; but close by, on the Northumbrian border, losses were heavier, for, as ill-luck would have it, the storm took place on the