The past six months have been hard for young Perthshire farmer Archie Downie as tragedy has struck at his small flock of sheep more than once.
In May, the animals the 14-year-old had purchased with the money made playing the pipes on the streets of Dundee were twice attacked by dogs in the space of just 36 hours.
Weeks after he battled on to show his Zwartbles at Alyth Show, he lost his prized breeding sheep Geordie to a tragic accident.
The most hardened of farmers might have been left reeling but Archie, who cares for the animals on his family’s smallholding near Ardler, has been unbowed by his experiences.
As he and his family back a national campaign to crack down on sheep worrying, his Mum Zoey reflected on 2017.
“Archie remains thoughtful about his experiences and has refused to be deterred by all that has happened,” she said.
“In the summer he came fourth at Alyth Show with his giant Zwartble breeding male, affectionately known as “Geordie the giant”.
“Geordie became a bit of a minor celebrity in the area due to his size, with people stopping past to speak to him.
“A few weeks ago, however, we got the sad news that Geordie had got himself into a bit of bother with the rylock fencing surrounding his field and he was found dead in the morning.
“On a separate occasion a lamb was lost to natural causes. This is part of raising livestock and happens all the time in farming, but it has been hard to swallow given our small flock and the year we have had.
“Archie has downsized the flock to a handful of sheep which he will lamb in the spring and he hopes to get going again next year.
“Lambing is a worrying time anyway and our sheep are still nervous when they see a dog, but while the experiences have taken the shine off things, Archie is not to be put off.”
Earlier this month, Police Scotland and its partners launched a new campaign to raise awareness among dog owners about the potentially devastating effects of livestock worrying.
November traditionally sees an increase in attacks as sheep are brought down to low lying pasture areas more accessible to people exercising their dogs or by dogs allowed to roam free.
Zoey said: “Archie thinks the campaign is a good idea and awareness about the cause can only be positive.
“He does, however, feel that it needs to be backed up by tougher action from the police otherwise it may not be taken seriously.
“Since the incident most people with dogs do stay clear of our sheep and fence boundary but with it coming into lambing season again I will have to politely ask people to not let their dogs run up and down the fence boundary as this also causes the sheep stress.
“As a dog owner for many years, I think pet owners can be more indignant about their dogs than their children and many think that their dogs are not capable of doing any wrong.
“We know different and all we can do is keep asking as nicely as possible and hope that they understand.
“I think you need to educate children at a young age to achieve a shift in attitude.”