SPECTATORS and competitors from as far away as Stornoway and New Zealand were treated to a tremendous day out at a stockjudging competition and invitational dog trial held at Badanloch, Kinbrace, last Saturday.

The idea for the event came about at a meeting of members of the North District of the North Country Cheviot Sheep Society, primarily as a get-together to look forward to after a hard winter and a busy lambing – but the day also produced a sizeable donation for the Macmillan Cancer Support charity.

The stock judging, which attracted 96 competitors, was ably judged by Dingwall and Highland Marts auctioneer Paul Spencer, who was presented with six classes to assess, courtesy of the event host, Hughie Mackenzie.

In addition to the three classes of North County Hill Cheviots, there was a class of South County Cheviot ewe hoggs donated by Jan Mackenzie, Langdale, and a class of work collies. Paul admitted having to revert to football team colours bias to judge the novelty class, the Hebridean sheep!

The scoring and co-ordination of the stock judging was undertaken by member of various Young Farmers clubs in Caithness. The eventual winner of the stock judging was Kevin Gunn, of Halkirk, with Eilidh Stronach, Thurso, as runner up and winner of the ladies competition. Joint third were Jenny Gunn and Jim Mair. The top Young Farmer went to Amy Mair, Dunbeath, with eight-year-old Eva Cook, Halkirk, winning the junior category.

Other prize winners included Alan Mackay, Balkeith, who guessed the combined weight of the four Hebridean sheep, and Kirsty Maclennan, Tain, who amazingly guessed within 300 grams of the correct weight of tup, Armadale Seagull, who tipped the scales at 104.5 kilograms.

The dog trials, held earlier in the day, were judged by 2014 World Champion Michael Shearer, from Lythmore, Thurso. Neil Sutherland, Strathnaver, and his dog Hill, came out on top of a field of 17 competitors with a grand total of 81 points. Neil also won the prizes for the Best Fetch, Best Pen, Best Shed and Best Dog Trained by Owner!

Runner-up and Best Lift went to Jock Sutherland, Durness and Flo, with Andrew Robertson, Clebrig and Laddie getting third place. Best Outrun went to Jan Mackenzie, Badanloch and Meg, with host Hughie Mackenzie and Rock getting the Best Drive. Kirsteen Simpson Thorburn, Thurso and Maggie got the prize for Hardest Luck.

But one of the main winners on the day was undoubtedly Macmillan Cancer Support, with a grand total raised of £2477. This included the proceeds from the auction of two mounted prints, donated by photographer Angus Mackay, which resulted in a couple of fierce bidding battles, with the first selling at £115, and the other going at an amazingly generous £400!