Johanna Johansson and Ztill handled the mule gimmers at St Boswells outstandingly well on the course and at the pen, where others struggled, and won the trial with a long lead.

The gimmers ran well on the big, rising course, and the 400 yd outrun provided good viewing, but they were difficult to pen and needed an assertive dog to put them in.

Ztill (S van der Sweep’s Garry, E Ericsson’s Zara) ran out clean to the top, lifted very well and fetched the sheep at a good pace, although they were slightly off line. The gimmers tried to break rather than turn round the post on to the drive, but Johanna earned the admiration of the judge for the manner in which she worked with Ztill to guide them round. The drive went well until, as two went through the cross drive gate, two shaved by, outside the gate, but the turn was neat and the reunited packet made a good return to the pen. Ztill was the only dog of the day to pen cleanly, with no breaks, and finished the winning run with a clean shed, leaving the field well behind him.

Duncan Robertson’s Joe (D Robertson’s Sarnfaen Mott, N McVicars Nicki) worked steadily outbye and fetched on a straight line that was just a little off the ideal route, and although the lines of his drive wavered, he put the sheep through the gates. Joe penned after minor breaks and a good shed completed the work in second place.

Mixed packets of Cheviot mule and Texel cross gimmers running on a steep, uphill course at Aberfeldy proved testing. They looked good from the start of the trial, but they could catch out some dogs on the first leg of the right hand drive and were generally tricky to pen. Some broke from the top of the course and if they ran into a hollow on the left, they took all hopes of a good run with them.

A single whistle of encouragement on his way out took Elinore Nilsson’s Middery Kid (RJ Hutchinson’s Sweep, L Magnusson’s Kate) to his sheep. He walked them down the fetch and round the drive with only very minor wavers and finished the winning run with a good return and clean work at hand.

Alastair McKenzie’s Bhoy (R MacDiarmid’s Jim, A MacKenzie’s Mist) ran out very well, and although he ran out to the right, where the terrain took him out of sight, he landed right on his sheep. He fetched with just minor wavers and had a very good drive. A good pen followed, but a slight indecision marred the shed and Bhoy took second place.

The hill Cheviot gimmers at Strathveich ran well on course, but proved very hard to pen, with only a third of the dogs succeeding in that. Dogs ran out blind over the rough and steep 750 yd uphill outrun to lift their sheep and fetched them down on to the flat. A fence ran across the course and dogs ran through a gate on the outrun to access higher ground, although not all found the route. A corresponding gate further across the course provided the fetch gate.

Two similar runs from Peter Martin’s Jill and Ewen Mackinnon’s Midge led the day. Ewen’s whistle to Midge (I MacKay’s Sunnyview Bob, F Matheson’s Jan) on her outrun, put her a single point behind Peter and Jill (R Dalziel’s Joe, N McVicar’s Nikki).

Both bitches worked well outbye and had good drives, but both had breaks at the pen before they successfully secured their sheep and finished their respective runs with a good shed, Jill doing so just in the last second of her allocated time.

LEADING awards

Aberfeldy (Judge: J Hastie, Saline) Open – 65 ran –1, E Nilsson’s Midderry Kid, Meigle, 93; 2, A MacKenzie’s Bhoy, Lochearnhead, 91; 3, JR Welsh’s Tanhill Sam, Dalrymple, 89; 4, L Hinnekens’ K’eira, Auchterarder, 87; 5, S McAuley’s Flo, Conachan, 85; 6, E Nilsson’s Frej, Meigle, 81; 7, GC Gardner’s Meg, Lesmahagow, 79; 8, A Wilkie’s Spot, Lintrathen, 78;

St Boswells (Judge: I Shearlaw, Gordon) Open – 53 ran –1, J Johansson’s Ztill, Sweden, 90; 2, D Robertson’s Joe, Langholm, 81; 3, M Davidson’s Rock, Lilburn, 79; 4, AR Mundell’s Rob, Moffat, 76; 5, JB Foster’s Tay, Earlston,72; 6, M Elliott’s Stan, Lazonby, 65; Novice – N Shaw’s Fly, Pathhead;

Strathveich, Ullapool (Judge: H Munro, Inverness) Open – 25 ran – 1, P Martin’s Jill, Glenlyon, 88; 2, EC MacKinnon’s Midge, Lochcarron, 87; 3, M MacNally’s Finn, Invergarry, 84; 4, H MacLean’s Dan, Culloden, 82; 5, P Martin’s Daisy, Glenlyon, 81; 6, S Renwick’s Dice, Inverbroom, 80.