Mr Alexander McAdam
WITH THE passing of Alexander McAdam of Helengowan Collies and Shelties, in November, Scotland has lost one of its oldest and most knowledgeable dog fanciers. Alex was in his ninetieth year. He had been ill for some time and was hospitalised following a recent stroke.
Alex was born and grew up in the village of Gartmore, Perthshire, near Aberfoyle, and was married to Peggy for 66 years. Alex served his apprenticeship as a plumber and had his own business in Blanefield, Stirlingshire before he moved into farming, first at East Kilbride then at Howood before once again resuming his trade as a master plumber.
Alex's interests included shooting and fishing. He also bred, showed and judged British birds and his opinion was highly regarded all over the country, in this discipline.
Alex was active in dogs and dog showing for most of his life, having started showing along with his wife Peggy in the 1930s. He was interested in all breeds of dogs -particularly gundogs - and in addition to Collies and Shelties had enjoyed past show success with Cocker Spaniels, Poodles and Wire Fox Terriers. Alex judged both Collies and Shelties at championship level and, as well as judging all other breeds at Open show level, was also a very highly competent Steward.
Alex and Peggy made up a significant number of Collie and Sheltie Champions and exported Rough Collies to such diverse places as America and Australia back in the 1950s. They were truly a world class Kennel even then, and demand for their stock was so great that often buyers wanted breeding stock whenever it won its first CC or reserve CC - that was good enough for them to know that these dogs would easily gain their title in their new country. Collie champions and CC winners owned or bred by Alex and Peggy included Ch Helengowan Cornriggs Catriona, Helengowan Sapphire, UK & Aust Ch Helengowan Starboy, Helengowan Superb, Ch Helengowan Superior, Helengowan Spray of Gold, Helengowan Success, helengowan Caber Shiela, Ch Chapelburn Ivor a famous and a prolific sire reputed to have the best collie head ever, not forgetting Alex and Peggy's own exceptional brood bitch Helengowan Shirley who, when mated to Ivor, produced both Starboy and Sapphire. Perhaps few people are also aware that the well known Scottish tri bitch Ch Campsieglen Wendy was also bred by Alex and Peggy. The list of famous dogs that came out of the Helengowan Kennels is seemingly endless. There were many more collies and shelties and poodle champions too. Likewise Alex's reputation for grooming trimming and show preparation was second to none.
One of our own collie bitches, back in the fifties, was sired by Ch Helengowan Starboy who, in many people's eyes equalled or even surpassed the qualities of Int Ch Lochinvar of Ladypark. We also used another Helengowan stud dog - Benefactor - owned at that time by Andy Hunter who was later to become a founder member and Secretary of the then 'new' Ayrshire Collie Club. I still regard the standard of these lines of dogs as being that to which we should all aspire today. Something that they had seems to be lacking in the breed now.
Alex McAdam was a knowledgeable stockman who had a good eye for a dog of any breed. He was always willing to give wise counsel, when asked, but was not the type of person to loudly push himself forward. He will be sadly missed by all who knew him both in and out of the dog game, but most of all by Peggy, and our most sincere sympathies are extended to her.