A steady, workmanlike run on a very challenging, rough and steep hill course put Stephen Martin’s Lexie well out in front at Cairndow. 
The Blackface gimmers knew the ground, were familiar with every possible exit route from the course and took advantage of dogs that gave them any liberty. The long outrun, somewhere in the region of 800 yards took around five minutes running, and made it a severe test to find and reach the sheep. 
Dogs crossed a fence, whether by jumping over or going through the gate, near the start and then needed whistles of encouragement to get to their sheep, some responding better than others to that prompting.
Like others, Lexie (W McAllister’s Hope, K Howlett’s Tess) needed commands to get to the top and although she found her sheep, she had a little bother lifting them, but once she had contact, she took good command of them and worked very well on the course. 
The fetch was good, with just minor wavers and the drive was even better. A good pen and a clean shed finished the work with a long lead over the field.
Neil McVicar’s Podge (N McVicar’s Spot, D Campbell’s Braehillor Jill) needed encouragement to get out of the field and on to the hill, and to the sheep. Once he reached the top, again the lift did not go smoothly and there were wavers on the fetch and drive, but Podge got his gates.
He penned with some work, but the gimmers were flighty at the shed and the division did not come off at the first attempt. Once the successful run over the big course was complete, Podge had passed the test and earned second place.
Hamish Mitchell’s Ben had a similar run, but difficulties encountered before a successful shed was made put Ben into third place. 
Clean work outbye gave Bobby Henderson’s Skid the lead at Heriot. 
The Northie Cheviots gimmers, grouped in threes, ran well on the flat field, but some dogs had difficulties on the first leg of the drive, due to a dip in the ground.
Skid (RB Henderson’s Bill, D Wallace’s Meg) ran out, lifted and fetched flawlessly and although he had no problem on the first leg of the drive, the line was high on the cross drive and needed a bend to go through the gate. 
A good return and a good pen followed, but it took time to settle the three sheep enough to single one off and take first place.
Julie Hill had to whistle Sid (J Hill’s Ban and Kim) on his outrun, but he stopped a little short at the top and worked well, with only minor points dropped on the course and no holes in the work. Clean work at hand completed the run in second place.
In England, Ricky Hutchinson, current ISDS International brace champion, achieved a rare success, winning England’s 2017 single and brace championships, with Sweep and Jock. 
While Sweep claimed the individual championship, Jock was commendably fifth, and both worked together for the brace title.   

LEADING awards

Yell (Judge: J Williamson, Lunna). Open – 31ran – 1, W Morrison’s Tanhill Will, Yell, 98/100; 2, J Ramsay’s Drift, Ollaberry, 95 Outbye; 3, J Ramsay’s Cap, Ollaberry, 95 outbye; 4, D Murray’s Ali, North Roe, 95; 5, J Nicolson’s Riley, Scalloway, 94; 6, C Williamson’s Joe, Ollaberry, 93 outbye. Championship – 1, W Morrison’s Tanhill Will, Yell, 107/110; 2, J Ramsay’s Drift, Ollaberry, 106; 3, J Nicolson’s Riley, Scalloway, 104. Limit – 1, J Ramsay’s Tweed, Ollaberry, 54/60; 2, J Nicolson’s Todd, Scalloway, 52; 3, R Anderson’s Wallace, Ollaberry, 37 Outbye. Brace – 1, C Williamson’s Joe and Jaff, Ollaberry, 101 /120; 2, J Nicolson’s Meg and Riley, Scalloway, 97/120; 3, M Georgeson’s Vera and Wisp, Sand, 67.
Cowal (Judge: R MacDiarmid, Cairndow). Open – 75 ran – 1, N McVicar’s Mist, Benmore, 96; 2, JR Welsh’s Tanhill Sam, Dalrymple, 95; 3, SL Davidson’s Hope, Sandbank, 94 outbye; 4, SL Davidson’s Gillieglen Queen, Sandbank, 94; 5, A Watson’s Fen, Shotts, 93; 6, F Shennan’s Mia, Barr, 91; 7, AD Carnegie’s Linburn Rook, Comrie, 90; 8, J MacKillop’s Joe, Fort Augustus, 89.
Ardkinglas, Cairndow (Judge: R Howatson, Fairlie). Open – 33 ran –1, S Martin’s Lexie, Cashlie, 86; 2, N McVicar’s Podge, Benmore, 79; 3, H Mitchell’s Kate, Lochearnhead, 77; 4, C Cropper’s Fly, Drimsynie, 67; 5, N McVicar’s Mist, Benmore, 59; 6, S Martin’s Kate, Cashlie, 58. Local – 1, C Cropper’s Fly, Drimsynie, 67; 2, A MacDiarmid’s Rex, Strathlachlan, 53.
Heriot (Judge: D Kinloch, Kilsyth). Open – 73 ran – 1, RB Henderson’s Skid, Heriot, 86; 2, J Hill’s, Sid, Heriot, 79; 3, M McTeir’s Bob 92 outbye; 4, J Foster’s Tay, Earlston, 92; 5, J Hastie’s Cree, Saline, 92; 6, JR Welsh’s Tanhill Sam, Dalrymple, 91; 7, J Hill’s Molly, Heriot, 80; 8, E Foster’s Moss, Brotherston, 88.  
Drynie double lift (Judge: A Cameron, Callander). Open – 36 ran – 1, J MacKillop’s Joe, Fort Augustus, 127/140; 2, S Grant’s Tia, Strathcannaird,120; 3, EC MacKinnon’s Glenalla Maddie, Lochcarron, 116; 4, H Munro’s Lil, Inverness, 110 outbye; 5, S Grant’s Kim, Strathcannaird, 110; 6, J MacKillop’s Straid Sam, Fort Augustus,107.

English National – Singles (Judges: N Vyas, Melton Mowbray, and J Palmer, Clitheroe). 1, RJ Hutchinson’s Sweep, 194/220; 2, S Perello’s Galdon Murguia Jim, 196; 3, M T Longton’s Rainow Todd, 195; 4, D Henderson’s Star, 189; 5, RJ Hutchinson’s Jock, 187; 6, JD Wood’s Lin, 180; 7, TW Longton’s Maya, 177; 8, JS Howard’s Bill, 172; 9, GT Watson’s Jake, 168; 10, E Hawkins’ Gipping Valley Troy, 177; 11, RP Watson’s Nidderdale Nidd, 171; 12, BJ Smith’s Ben, 168; 13, D Cole’s Sanduck Moss, 174; 14, K Cropper’s Tsarvo, 162; 15, SAM Cropper’s Beechwood Ben, 158; reserve, V Morris’ Bob, 168.
Brace – RJ Hutchinson’s Jock and Sweep, 257/280; reserve, K Cropper’s Tsarvo and Zac, 223.