Dan Buglass, agricultural journalist
DAN (Andrew) Buglass was one of Scotland's best known agricultural journalists and rural affairs editor of The Scotsman for the past three years of a varied career.
He will be missed at the big farming occasions he loved so well, not least for the friendship and convivial welcomes that greeted him wherever he went.
The Royal Highland show in June was probably his favourite, with his Panama hat at an angle, members' badge flapping and trademark pipe glowing more intensely as the day wore on and the pressure mounted to knock stories into shape. His love for the main annual event in Scottish farming went back to his primary school days, a record of continuous attendance of more than half a century.
But the Border Union show at Kelso, Dumfries show and the Great Yorkshire at Harrogate ran the Highland close in his affections.
Until a few years ago at Dumfries and until July this year at Kelso, only days before he became ill, he also provided live commentary for the sheep championship judging. That was the chance for him to reveal his ingrained practical farming side and depth of knowledge, not only about the breeding and pedigrees of sheep, but – a Borderer to the core – about their exhibitors, too.
There was another reason for his unflagging enthusiasm for the show and sale side of farming, as he noted in one of his last Monday-morning Scotsman columns: "One of the great joys of attending shows is the opportunity to talk to farmers and to hear them air their views and opinions."
And, he might have added, for them to hear his own. There was no secret about his own political views – he once stood as a Conservative Party candidate in a Glasgow constituency during the Thatcher years – or his opinions on farming politics. But he had the knack of chatting easily with anyone, whether that was an impromptu, and for her and her security staff unexpected, conversation with the Princess Royal at an Edinburgh Castle reception, a blether with author Ian Rankin in the Edinburgh bar they both preferred, or a chat with a shepherd or lorry driver.
He especially loved the big set-piece, high-price, sales of Blackface rams at Lanark, Suffolks at Edinburgh and bull sales at Perth, but also had a soft spot for the lower-key South Country Cheviot sale at Lockerbie and the main annual lamb sale at Lairg.
For him all these events combined work and hobby, like so many of the farmers he wrote about, and two of his regrets in the past few weeks as he fought his final illness in hospital were missing a Kelso ram sale and a new world record price for a Texel ram at Lanark.
His journalistic efforts, including outstanding reporting during the 2001 foot-and-mouth epidemic and an encyclopaedic knowledge of the meat trade, were recognised when he was elected a fellow of the Royal Agricultural Societies.
His rare days off would be spent with family, walking, a rugby match, a race meeting – he wrote the biography of auctioneer and race horse trainer Ken Oliver, The Benign Bishop – or a jazz concert. Or, as an omnivorous reader and bibliophile, in a bookshop or at a second-hand book sale.
Christened Andrew after his grandfather, but known as Dan since childhood, he was the first of five children born to the late Ralph and Flora Buglass. He came from a long line of shepherds and farmers on both sides of the family, forebears having farmed in Perthshire, Angus and the Cheviots, and first home was his father's 1,000-acre Minto Kames, near Hawick.
He was educated at the village schools of Minto and Denholm before moving to St Mary's Preparatory, Melrose, and then Loretto School, Edinburgh. He excelled academically and, on leaving school, he was urged by his parents to follow an academic career. But he wanted to farm and went on to graduate from the then East of Scotland College of Agriculture with distinction in both the Scottish and National diplomas in agriculture.
Aged 21, he married Jane Fleming, and began to farm on his own at 800-acre Middlestead, Selkirk, where the couple raised their three children. He became involved in many local organisations and societies including the Teviotdale Farmers' Club, the oldest of its kind in the UK, of which he was president from 1982-85.
It was also during his time at Middlestead that he began to develop his journalistic career, with a farming column for the weekly Southern Reporter, later a regular column in The Scottish Farmer, and work for Farmers Weekly.
His broadcasting career, which began with appearances on BBC Scotland's radio programme and the television programme Landward, developed rapidly with the establishment of Radio Tweed in 1983, and Dan and the old-style heavyweight Uher tape recorder became a familiar sight at Border events well beyond farming.
When he gave up farming to become one of the most prolific freelance journalists in the business, he reported extensively for the main farming magazines and the four Scottish daily papers with a farming section. Latterly, after several years as farming editor of the Herald, he became rural affairs editor of The Scotsman in January 2007.
He is survived by his three children and six grandchildren, of all of whom he was intensely proud.