A steady, well controlled run with no ‘holes in it’ from Dougie Galbraith’s Craig took a narrow lead over the field at Crieff.

The Blackface hoggs ran well on the big, flat course if dogs handled them kindly and Craig (M Magnusson’s Myllin Davey, AD Carnegie’s Jess) worked well outbye, had a good fetch and drive with just minor wavers –finishing the winning run with clean work at hand.

Elinore Nilsson’s Middery Kid (RJ Hutchinson’s Sweep, L Magnusson’s Kate) was slow to leave Elinore’s feet and stopped on the outrun, but he worked well from there until difficulty at the shed took time, and jeopardised all the good work on the course. Finally, the shed was made as the bell was sounded and Kid earned second place, hot on the heels of Craig.

The NCC ewes generally ran well on the snow covered course at Springhill, but some rogue ewes were hard to handle and some packets were restless. The first leg of the drive ran downhill and the cross drive uphill, but it was not easy to judge the white gates against the snow.

The ewes did not want to go down the first leg and tended to twist and screw the line, but Bobby Dalziel’s Mack (I Fourney’s Spot, C Le Guelle’s Jeda) got a good start outbye but met the common resistance on the drive away. On the cross drive, the ewes gathered speed and their line looked high, but Bobby’s flank brought them across the gate and the ewes slipped by. A good pen and shed completed the winning run with a comfortable lead.

Camouflage proved a different issue at Knocknagael – the dogs had difficulty seeing the Blackface hoggs at the start post, against a dark, stubble field. The course was flat, but a rise in the middle contributed to the visibility problem.

The strong hoggs were challenging on the course and eager to avoid the gates on a cold, dry day with George Simpson’s Elwy Rodger (J Richardson’s Shep, AH Roberts’s Morag) setting the standard with the first run of the day.

He was slightly tight on his outrun, but he lifted cleanly, and although the hoggs tried to slip the fetch gates, the dog managed them carefully and put them through. A good turn and a steady drive followed, but a couple of breaks at the chute marred a very good run, which finished with a clean shed and a long lead.

The Blackface hoggs at Coylton ran well if not pushed too hard on the rising course, or pressured too much at the pen, but the cross drive was hard to judge.

Jock Welsh’s Sweep (J Connolly’s Craig and Mist) fell a little short at the top, but lifted cleanly and fetched with just minor wavers.

The first leg of the drive was good, and the cross drive started well, but the line fell low on the approach to the gates and a misjudgement saw the hoggs miss the gate, on the bottom side.

The pen was clean and though Jock missed the first chance to shed, once complete, the run earned first place with a comfortable lead.

Sandy McCulloch’s Sam had the best start of the day, followed by one of the best drives, but misjudgement at the cross drive gate caused the hoggs to miss the gate.

The return to the pen was good, but Sam had trouble holding the sheep at the mouth of the pen, before he eventually penned.

The hoggs were restless at the shed, but once the split was made, Sam took second place.

The Cheviot hoggs at Moniaive were good to handle round the flat course and easy to pen and shed, with the cross drive slightly up hill.

Duncan Robertson’s Moss (M Magnusson’s Myllin Davey, AD Carnegie’s Jess) reached his sheep, lifted and fetched them calmly, made a neat turn round Duncan, took a good line up the first leg of the drive and through the gates with just minor deviations.

He kept a good line on the cross drive, put the sheep through the gates with a neat turn and nice line to the pen. With the best drive of the day behind them, and a clean pen and shed to follow, the run earned first place.

In the novice section, Mick Wilson’s Meg ran out well and although she lifted slightly off line, she worked well on the fetch. She had the sheep moving at a pace, up the first leg of the drive and onto the cross drive, again losing points for deviations from line.

The hoggs were settled and Meg made a clean pen and shed and claimed first place in that section.

LEADING awards:

Crieff (Judge: N Campbell, Kinross). Nursery – 28 ran – 1, D Galbraith’s Craig, Comrie, 94; 2, E Nilsson’s Midderry Kid, Meigle, 93; 3, P Martin’s Kay, Glenlyon, 92; 4, K Howlett’s Yellowhill Jock, Comrie, 91; 5, M Magnusson’s Kemi Sally, Mid Derry, 89; 6, M Watt’s Nap, Kirriemuir, 86 outbye; 7, A MacKenzie’s Jess, Lochearnhead, 86; 8, P Martin’s Daisy, Glenlyon, 85; 9, K Craig’s Eadie, Tulliemet, 84; 10, R Lewis’ Ruby, Killin, 77. Novice – 1, M Lundin’s Sture, Sweden, 88.

Springhill (Judge:R Lyon, Hawick). Nursery – 15 ran – 1, R Dalziel’s Mack, Ettrick, 93; 2, C Dickson’s Stuart, Coldingham, 88; 3, D Gilchrist’s Ted, Oxton,79; 4, J Robinson’s Templehall Jack, Coldingham,77; 5, S Blaikie’s Jeff, Cranshaws,75; 6, M Arres’ Moss, Ashkirk,74; 7, A Dickman’s Jaff, Oxton,72; 8, J Allan’s Ellie, Mt Benger, 68. Novice – 1, S Blaikie’s Jeff, Cranshaws,75.

Kirkcudbright Farm, Moniaive (Judge: WJ Welsh, Sanquhar). Nursery – 13 ran – 1, D Robertson’s Moss, Langholm, 84; 2, JW Common’s Cowlow Rosie, Lockerbie, 79; 3, M Forster’s Meg, Irongray, 69; 4, N MacDonald’s Cap, Shawhead, 67; 5, JW Common’s Jaff, Lockerbie, 61; 6, D Robertson’s Lad, Langholm,59; 7, D McMillan’s Fleet, Carsphairn, 49. Novice – 1, M Wilson’s Meg, Corsock, 65. Pro-novice – 1, D Aitken’s Tweeddale Buzz, Lockerbie, 71; 2, N MacDonald’s Meg, Shawhead, 61; 3, D Aitken’s Tami, Lockerbie, 52.

Bute (Judge: F Shennan, Barr). Nursery – 17 ran – 1, I Lockhart’s Joe, Carsphairn, 83; 2, N McEachern’s Misty, Dunoon, 74; 3, D Campbell’s Gemma, Strachur, 70 outbye; 4, C Toner’s Tami, Drimsynie, 70; 5, N McVicar’s Bill, Benmore, 68; 6, N Docherty’s Spot, Bute, 67; 7, J Howatson, Jasper, West Kilbride,; 8, C Cropper’s Rhydale Paddy, Drimsynie,; 9, L Gast’s Ben, Scalpsie.

Knocknagael (Judge: E Mackinnon, Lochcarron). Nursery – 14 ran – 1, G Simpson’s Elwy Rodger, Forgue, 88; 2, G Simpson’s Celt, Forgue, 80; 3, I Wilkie’s Pip, Keithhall, 75; 4, G Simpson’s Kim, Forgue,74; 5, G Simpson’s Lad, Forgue, 73; 6, H Johnstone’s Kyle, Fyvie, 71; 7, I MacDonald’s Jim, Staffin, 69 Outbye; 8, J McKenzie’s Meg, Turriff, 69; 9, H MacLean’s Moss, Culloden, 68; 10, G Simpson’s Gelert, Forgue, 64.

Coylton (Judge: G Carnochan, Coylton). Nursery – 12 ran – 1, JR Welsh’s Sweep, Dalrymple, 81; 2, A McCulloch’s Sam, Dalmellington, 76; 3, N Gillon’s Kinloch Rheed, Dailly, 75; 4, W Welsh’s Chance (Chase), Dalcairney, 73; 5, A McCulloch’s Meg, Dalmellington, 72 outbye; 6, I Fergie’s Craig, Straiton,72.

Bargenoch I (Judge: R Middleton, Neilston). Nursery – 12 ran – 1, A McCulloch’s Sam, Dalmellington, 90; 2, I Fergie’s Craig, Straiton, 87; 3, JR Welsh’s Sweep, Dalrymple, 86; 4, W Welsh’s Chance (Chase), Dalcairney, 85; 5, A McCulloch’s Meg, Dalmellington, 82; 6, C Derwent’s Dot, Dumfries House, 79.

Bargenoch II (Judge: R Howatson, Fairlie). Nursery – 12 ran – 1, JR Welsh’s Sweep, Dalrymple, 90; 2, A McCulloch’s Sam, Dalmellington, 89; 3, I Fergie’s Craig, Straiton, 87; 4, A McCulloch’s Meg, Dalmellington, 81; 5, J Welsh’s Gail, Beoch,79; 6, W Welsh’s Chance (Chase), Dalcairney,79.