Ayrshire’s Fraser Shennan and Mia, of Barr, won the Scottish National sheepdog trial at Portencross, in Ayrshire, last Saturday with an outstanding run.

The pair earned an exceptional seven-point lead over a field of 145 keen competitors after Fraser demonstrating that he had ably taken the family baton of being a successful Scottish National champion from both his grandfather and great uncle, David and Bob Shennan, respectively, into a new generation.

A relatively young 23-year-old, Fraser, who farms at Knockgerran, with his father, Jamie, brother, James, and sister Catherine said: “It is the happiest I’ve ever come off a National field. My papa, David Shennan, told me, if you don’t win the National with Mia, you’ll never win it!”

The trial got off to a difficult start. On Thursday, the Mule and Texel cross gimmers were cheeky, while Friday’s Mules were more agreeable, but Saturday’s older version of Thursday’s sheep rated somewhere between. Dogs struggled to drive the sheep down the long first leg of the right hand drive and the line of the cross drive was hard to judge and at the pen, the sheep repeatedly tried to break.

Mia (JR Welsh’s Tanhill Nap, FW Shennan’s Fizz) handled them like a professional, running out cleanly to the top and anticipating them going to her left, Fraser put Mia in place to block them, but that sent them to the opposite side and Mia had to hurry to catch them there. Once she had squared them up, the fetch went well.

On the first leg of the drive, the ewes zig-zagged a little before the gate and made a wide turn through, but after that she kept the sheep under good control for the drive and finished with a flawless, clean shed, pen and single. It was the perfect finish for a championship winning run on 197 points.

Ian McConnell, one of two judges, said: “The sheep seemed to like Mia and she handled them tremendously.”

With that one run standing out on a dull and dispiriting day – with run after run crashing on the way to the first drive gate – running in slot 44 out of 50, Ross Henderson’s Jude (RB Henderson’s Glen, D Wallace’s Jen) worked really well on the drive and was chosen by the judges to represent Scotland in the International’s driving contest.

She ran out a little past the sheep and had to be flanked back to correct it, with a near perfect fetch and by far the best drive of the day. The shed took a little time, but went well – one gimmer broke before Jude secured the packet and with a little time, she singled a collared sheep to complete her run for a then 13-point lead over the field.

Ross summed up his feelings after his run: “I don’t know if I can put it into words, but I’m over the moon.”

As a new day dawned, hopes rose and were rewarded when the Mule ewes proved more manageable around the course than the gimmers.

The more experienced handlers were generally achieving scores of upwards of 100 and eight runs qualified on Friday.

After an afternoon of dogs being whistled off the course when they fell below standard and a long, lean stretch that produced no team runs, Chloe Cropper’s Penllwyn Fly came to the post, 45th out of 50.

Fly (A Lyttle’s Spot, IB Jones’ Penllwyn Fly Meg) ran out perfectly to the top, but the ewes took off fast and although they seemed to be on a good line, two slipped by the fetch gate. The drive was great and despite a wiggle off the line before the first drive gate, they went through and kept a good line on the cross drive.

She shed cleanly and with Chloe battled valiantly with first one awkward ewe repeatedly breaking from the pen mouth and then, with attention focused on her, the remainder trying to slip away, unnoticed.

Chloe did not lose heart or temper, but battled on, her fast running fetch affording her time for the fray at the pen and eventually shut the gate on the full packet.

Fly completed a hard won successful run with a quick and clean single and 180 points, which earned third place overall, ahead of fourth on outbye work.

Earlier that day, Jimmy Menzies’ Baledmund Ted ran out cleanly to the top, to find the sheep moving, so he put them on line. The ewes tried to avoid the fetch gate, but Ted gently turned them in, took them down and turned them neatly.

The drive started well – although the ewes went slightly too far through the first gate, where an over correction brought them low. But Ted pushed them back up and through the cross drive gate, although the turn was slightly wide.

The ewes came to a stop and had to be pushed on to the shedding ring, but the shed was pretty good, the pen clean and a near perfect single finished the run on 180 points, eventually ranked fourth.

The fifth placed run, came from Saturday, with Peter Martin’s Daisy (D Naylor’s Straid Moss, P Martin’s Jill). She ran out cleanly, but the sheep came towards her at the top, so she stopped them, put them on line and made a very good fetch.

The ewes were wavering before the first drive gate, but Daisy worked well to keep them on line and put them through. The cross drive was good, although the turn was slightly wide, but a clean shed followed.

The pen followed the familiar pattern of an awkward ewe breaking and threatening a good run – like the experience of Chloe and Fly – but, again, the gate eventually closed on five sheep successfully shut in the pen. As Peter and Daisy made their single, the target ewe was ready to rejoin the packet, but Daisy stopped her in her tracks, well and truly under her control and completed her run on 179 points.

That run pushed one of Friday’s down the ranking. This was Neil McVicar’s

Mist (R Hutchinson’s Sweep, IM Brownlie’s Mo) which ran out short and the ewes

broke, so Mist had to cover them. She managed that, lifted and made a good fetch, but the turn round the post was a little wide, as was the turn through the drive away gate.

The rest of the drive went well and a clean shed followed, but again, the ewes broke repeatedly at the pen, and Mist had to work hard to put them in. Once she had done that, she completed a team run with a clean single for 179 points and sixth place, on outbye work.

LEADING awards:

Scottish National, Portencross – Singles (Judges, I McConnell, Lamlash; J MacDougal, Milton of Buchannan) – 146 ran. Singles – 1, F Shennan’s Mia, Barr, 197/220; 2, R Henderson’s Jude, Crawford, 190; 3, C Cropper’s Penllwyn Fly, Drimsynie, 180 outbye; 4, J Menzies’ Baledmund Ted, Tulliemet, 180; 5, P Martin’s Daisy, Glenlyon, 179 outbye; 6, N McVicar’s Mist, Benmore, 179; 7, AD MacKenzie’s Jess, Lochearnhead, 177 outbye; 8, S McCrindle’s Kate, Palnackie, 177 outbye; 9, AD Carnegie’s Linburn Rook, Comrie, 177; 10, AR Mundell’s Taff, Moffat, 176; 11, N Gillon’s Shweep (Sweep), Dailly, 174; 12, RB Henderson’s Tweed, Heriot, 171; 13, JW Common’s Grit, Lockerbie, 170; 14, A Stewart’s Tweed, Lockerbie, 167; 15, SL Davidson’s Gillieglen Queen, Sandbank, 166 outbye. Reserve – N Campbell’s Cass, Kinross, 166.

Brace (Judges: N McVicar, Benmore and R Howatson, Fairlie). Six pairs ran – 1, AD MacKenzie’s Bhoy and Mist, Lochearnhead, 168/280. Reserve – GC Gardner’s Meg and Nan, Lesmahagow, 163.

OTHER awards:

F Shennan and Mia, Barr – John Angus MacLeod Memorial Trophy, JM Wilson Challenge Shield, JW McNaughton Farmers’ Cup, Alexander Andrew Trophy (Scottish-bred animal).

R Henderson and Jude, Crawford – AA Armstrong Shepherds’ Cup, Miss McFarlane Trophy (new to Scottish team), Warnock Trophy (first day lead), Tom Gilholm Trophy (driving).

J McKenzie and Tweedie, Turriff – Drumclog Cup (youngest competitor).

M Grant and Fred, Forss – Jack Fraser Trophy (sportsmanship).