By Sine Robertson

Good work on the fetch and a quick shed gave Neil Gillon’s Shweep a narrow lead over a fairly similar run from Peter Martin’s Jill at Barr.

On a bright, cold day, the Blackface ewes behaved well on the big, open, hill course, but they were alert to overflanking or any weakness in the dogs and they needed to be held at the pen.

Neil’s Shweep (N Gillon’s Bhoy, S McCrindle’s Peg) responded to a whistle to keep him on a good line on his way out, but he overshot his sheep at the top. He worked well to keep the ewes on line on the fetch as they fought and twisted about, trying to break from the line.

The drive went well, with good lines, but one awkward ewe made trouble at the pen, and broke from the packet. Once Shweep had regrouped the sheep and penned successfully, Neil realised time was running out and seeing a gap appearing as the ewes left the pen, he took advantage of the situation, called the dog in to make his shed, to complete a winning run.

Peter’s Jill (R Dalziel’s Joe, N McVicar’s Nikki) responded well to a whistle on her way out, but to better effect, so she landed right on her sheep and lifted them nicely. The ewes went off line on the fetch, but a good drive and a clean pen followed. Peter’s effort to assist Jill to make a good shed encroached on the dog’s responsibilities and the run took second place, a single point behind Shweep.

A fine run, with a clean outrun and very good close work put Billy Morrison’s Straid Nell well ahead on a challenging hill course at Girlsta.

The 400 yd long course was set on a steep, heather hill with a flattish area for the pen and shed. The day was bright and dry, with a nip in the air, but the pure Shetland ewes did not want to stay together on the course.

Billy Morrison’s Straid Nell (SL Davidson’s Rob, D Young’s May) ran out clean to the top, and lifted well, but went a little off line on the fetch. The drive was good, with just minor wavering off line and a clean pen and a very good shed set the seal on the winning run which left the field behind, by a comfortable margin.

LEADING awards

Barr (Judge: S Martin, Glenlyon). Open – 47 ran –1, N Gillon’s Shweep, Dailly, 90; 2, P Martin’s Jill, Glenlyon, 89; 3, A McCulloch’s Sam, Dalmellington, 88; 4, F Shennan’s Spot, Barr, 83; 5, N McVicar’s Bill, Benmore, 78; 6, M MacNally’s Ragger, Invergarry, 76. Confined – 1, G Hodge’s Cass, Lendalfoot;

Girlsta, Shetland (Judge: MC Hughson, Scalloway). Open – 16 ran – 1, W Morrison’s Straid Nell, Yell, 90; 2, J Nicolson’s Riley, Scalloway, 85; 3, R Colclough’s Skye, West Sandwick, 79 outbye; 4, AWP Hughson’s Tess, Brunthamarsland, 79; 5, W Morrison’s Kep, Yell, 65;

Melvich (Judge: B Ross, Ardgay). Novice – 13 ran – 1, N Sutherland’s Heatherhill Heck, Strathnaver, 90 outbye; 2, J Gilmour’s Diesel, Bettyhill, 90 ; 3, K Keith’s Lyn, Durness, 89; 4, E MacKay’s Mac, Melness, 85.

Northumberland League

Shirlawhope (Judge: S Smith, Seahouses). Open – 24 ran – 1, C Balmbro’s Liz, Wooler,73; 2, E Gray’s Brennan, Great Elsdon, 95; 3, P Telfer’s Telf Jill Haydon Bridge, 94; 4, B Jordan’s Tuff, Whitfield, 88; 5, T Iley’s Scout, Longframlington, 20; 6, K Preston’s Helga, Elsdon, 80. Novice – S Pearson’s Hettie, Morpeth.