A controlled run and clean work at hand gave 15-year-old Joe MacKenzie and Tweedie a comfortable lead at Durness, over a closely packed list of experienced handlers, including three former national champions.

The Cheviot ewes ran well on a flat course that rose up to a bank where the sheep were released, but they reacted against dogs that upset them.

Tweedie (G Simpson’s Del, W Davidson’s Tide) overshot the sheep slightly at the top, which spoiled the angle at which they started the fetch.

Once Tweedie had them moving, he controlled them very well and kept the sheep moving smoothly round the course. The fetch went well, although the line of the turn round Joe’s feet and onto the drive squiggled a little.

A good drive followed, with just a slightly wide turn out of the cross drive gate to fault it. A clean pen and shed completed the winning run by a clear margin.

Jock Welsh and Cree (JR Welsh’s Tanhill Nap, FW Shennan’s Fizz) found their sheep wavering from line at the start of the fetch until they managed to settle them, and the line improved.

The turn on to the first leg of the drive was wide, but the cross drive was good. A clean pen followed, and although it took hard work to make the shed, once the run was complete, it earned second place.

The Texel cross Beltex gimmers at Atholl and Weem were deemed some of the best trial sheep of the season and a high standard of work was achieved. The handlers stood on a bank looking down on to the sheep and sent dogs out to fetch them uphill.

Ian Wilkie’s Floss (M MacNally’s Finn, I Wilkie’s Nell) ran out to her sheep, but they did not come straight.

Once Floss had them on line, the fetch went well, and although there was a twist as they were turned on to the drive, the work was good from there.

A clean pen followed, but at the shed, Floss came through the sheep, but was less than automatic in turning on to them. With only minor faults on the run, Floss earned first place.

Peter Martin’s Jill (R Dalziel’s Joe, N McVicar’s Nikki) overshot her sheep slightly, but lifted and worked well on the fetch, with just a very minor waver off line. The drive too, went well and the work took second place.

The Blackface ewes at the Abington trial behaved very well on a big, but rising course. However, the dull, wet day made visibility poor.

The scope of the field encouraged dogs to run wide on either hand, however

Murray McTeir’s Bob (T Smith’s Bob and Liz) ran out to the top, stopping just a little short, but that was his only fault there and he fetched the packet of sheep flawlessly.

The drive too, was good, but for a wide turn out of the cross drive gate. The ewes changed their mind at the pen, coming out before they were safely inside, but Bob soon sorted that and a clean shed completed the work in first place.

Allan Common’s Cammen Roy (HW Watkins’s Jack and Style) made a little more work of putting his sheep round – although he ran out well, the ewes did not want to come straight from the lift, but Roy worked to fetch them on line.

Again, the drive was good, with just the turn out of the cross drive gate against it. Clean work at hand brought the run into second place, within a point of Bob’s.

LEADING awards

Atholl and Weem (Judge: D Robertson, Langholm). Open – 55 ran – 1, I Wilkie’s Floss Keithhall, 95; 2, P Martin’s Jill, Glenlyon, 94; 3, AD Carnegie’s Linburn Rook, Comrie, 93. Local – 1, P Martin’s Daisy, Glenlyon, 84; 2, K Craig’s Eadie, Blair Atholl, 66; 3, D Corbett’s Tess, Aberfeldy.

Abington (Judge: K Anderson, Canonbie). Open – 54 ran – 1, M McTeir’s Bob, Kirkcudbright, 93; 2, JA Common’s Cammen Roy, Lockerbie, 92; 3, M Condie’s Doon, New Cumnock, 89 outbye. Local –1, R Henderson’s Glen, Crawford;

Durness (Judge: J Ogston, Killin). Open – 38 ran – 1, J McKenzie’s Tweedie, Turriff, 92; 2, JR Welsh’s Cree, Dalrymple, 89; 3, H Johnstone’s Queen, Fyvie, 87. Young dogs – 1, H Johnstone’s Roy, Fyvie, 77; 2, J McKenzie’s Meg, Turriff, 68; 3, T McPhee’s Mist, Wick, 47. Local – 1, J Sutherland’s Upland Jan, Durness, 69 outbye; 2, A Bailey’s Tess, Durness, 69; 3, M Campbell’s Cally, Durness, 50.

Ellemford (Judge: S Wallace, Prendwick). Open – 30 ran – 1, RB Henderson’s Bonnie, Heriot, 88; 2, RB Henderson’s Tweed, Heriot, 86; 3, E Foster’s Moss, Brotherston, 85.