A clean start and a good finish gave Stuart MacFarlane’s Willow the lead on a difficult day at Saline.

The Cheviot Mule hoggs behaved well at the lift and on the fetch, but were not readily turned round the handler, tending to take off on the first leg of the drive and were not keen on the pen. The cross drive gate, situated just beyond the shoulder of the rising ground, was also hard to judge.

Willow (C Davidson’s Cap, R Harris’ Jan) ran out and lifted cleanly. She fetched with minor wavers, but her turn was wide and the hoggs fought Willow on the first leg of the drive, but she got them through the gate.

Her line was low on the cross drive and the hoggs slipped by the gate. They broke from the pen, but Willow eventually secured them, and completed the winning run with a very good shed.

Mike Watt’s Nap (M Watt’s Bob, J Angus’ Ascog Fly) was a little short on his outrun, but lifted cleanly and had a very good fetch. His drive went fairly well until his sheep, too, slipped by the cross drive gate.

Like Willow, he penned after retrieving breaking sheep, but time ran out before the shed was made and the incomplete run took second place.

A good start and finish gave Allan Common’s Braan the lead at Boreland of Anwoth, where the cross hoggs were good to handle on the gently rising course, but wind blowing at the top of the field impaired the hearing of the dogs and trees cast a shadow over the sheep, making them barely visible from a distance.

Braan (A Owen’s Llangwm Cap, A Jones’ Aeron Floss) was the only dog to run out to the right, achieved the best outrun of the day and lifted well. He fetched the sheep down through the gates, but his line had minor deviations.

The hoggs were a little unsettled on the drive and the work suffered there, but improved at hand, so a clean chute and a good shed completed the winning run.

Duncan Robertson’s Moss (M Magnusson’s Myllin Davey, AD Carnegie’s Jess) ran out well and lifted the sheep in a controlled manner for a good fetch. He had a good drive and a clean chute, but again, time ran out at the shed and Moss took second place, a single point behind Braan.

Mick Wilson’s Jill ran out well, stopping just a little short, but she controlled the sheep at the lift for a good start to the fetch, but the hoggs slipped past the gates.

They were unsettled on the drive, so again, there was some difficulty there.

Mick and Jill controlled them well at the chute and earned full points there, then a good shed completed the leading novice run.

LEADING awards:

Evanton (Judge: H Munro, Inverness). Nursery – 19 ran – 1, G Simpson’s Elwy Rodger, Forgue, 94; 2, W Cormack’s Roy, Dunnet, 91; 3, G Simpson’s Kim, Forgue, 90; 4, G Simpson’s Hemp, Forgue, 89; 5, N Sutherland’s Heatherhill Heck, Strathnaver, 87; 6, J McKenzie’s Meg, Strathnaver, 85; 7, J MacDiarmid’s Lass, Eynort, 83 outbye; 8, K Keith’s Sassy, Durness, 83; 9, I Sutherland’s Jaybeez Ben, Strathnaver, 81 Outbye; 10, T McPhee’s Scot, Wick, 81; 11, H MacLean’s Penny, Culloden, 80. Older dogs – 1, S Grant’s Tib, Strathcanaird, 93.

Skipness (Judge: J Barr, Clochkeil). Nursery – 6 ran – 1, A McCuish’s Roy, Skipness, 92; 2, J MacKillop’s Jed, Fort Augustus, 91; 3, K Strachan’s Flora, Roybridge, 87; 4, M MacNally’s Glen, Invergarry, 84; 5, JC MacLachlan’s Queen, Spean Bridge, 82; 6, JC MacLachlan’s Rick, Spean Bridge, 79.

Dryden (Judge: H Brown, Coulter). Nursery – 11 ran – 1, C Dickson’s Stuart, Coldingham, 80; 2, M McTeir’s Dan, Fountainhall, 78; 3, M Arres’ Jock, Ashkirk,74; 4, G Pate’s Misty, Humbie, 68; 5, WS Elliot’s Branshaws Cap, Yetholm, 61; 6, P Howe’s Queen, Hawick, 59; 7, P Howe’s Cass, Hawick, 56; 8, A Dickman’s Haverhill Sweep, Oxton, 52. Novice – 1, G Pate’s Misty, Humbie, 68.

Saline (Judge: A Dickman, Oxton). Nursery – 20 ran – 1, S MacFarlane’s Willow, Blairgowrie, 77; 2, M Watt’s Nap, Kirriemuir, 74; 3, L Magnusson’s Glencar Eire, Mid Derry, 71; 4, AD Carnegie’s Bill, Comrie, 70 outbye; 5, K Howlett’s Spot, Comrie,70; 6, CM Magnusson’s Wheatwood Bee, Mid Derry, 69; 7, M Caul’s Denwyn Mist, Balkello, 68; 8, J Fotheringham’s Ben, Ardler. Novice – 4 ran – 1, M Lundin’s Stewie (Sture), Blairgowrie.

Boreland of Anwoth (Judge: A Jardine, Hawick). Nursery – 11 ran – 1, JA Common’s Braan, Lockerbie, 67; 2, D Robertson’s Moss, Langholm, 66; 3, D Aitken’s Midge, Lockerbie, 58; 4, J Thomson’s Nell, Penpont, 49 outbye; 5, D Aitken’s Tweeddale Vicky, Lockerbie, 49; 6, H Jackson’s Ruby, Penpont; 7, J Thomson’s Tom, Penpont. Novice – 1, M Wilson’s Jill, Corsock; 2, J Thomson’s Drift, Penpont; 3, M Forster’s Meg, Shawhead.