An outstanding run from one of the UK’s most successful handlers, and former world champion, Aled Owen, and his two-year-old Bud triumphed at the NHS mini International trial at Littledale in Lancashire.

Teams of seven dogs from each of the four home nations ran on an open green field crossed by a sizeable, rough and rashy hollow. The Swales behaved on the course, but were alert to the potential dangers looming beyond any woodwork they encountered.

Billy Common’s Grit won the qualifying trial of 28 dogs, for Scotland, and with the four runners up, went on to the double gather final, set on the same field, with a less arduous outrun than that of ISDS international events.

Bud (A Owen’s Llangwym Cap, Burndale Tess) ran out nicely, took a flank at the lift and with only very minor wavering before the sheep went through the gate, fetched them. He left them, and with whistles of encouragement from Aled, the young dog turned back for a second packet, lifted smoothly on the move, brought them through the fetch gate, united the lot and brought them round Aled.

The drive started well and a very neat turn led to a steady cross drive through the rough and through the gate, with Bud working well to curtail any idea of avoiding it. The shed was good, with six off in a block, the rest in smaller groups and only an attempted break by a red collar to threaten it. Aled and Bud stopped her, and, with a good shed made, Bud put the five red collared ewes into the pen and earned the title of mini international champion.

Earlier in the day, Billy’s Grit (DK Evans Spot, DC Meek’s Queen) ran out on a good line, but slightly overshot the sheep. He put them on line and with some zig zagging, reached the rough. The ewes stopped, but Grit put them through it and on through the gate. As they approached Billy at the post, they thought to avoid him, but Grit was fit for them; he put them back and nicely round Billy’s feet. The drive went well, with minor wavers on the first leg followed by a good cross drive with just a little hesitation at the rashy ground.

A decent shed took a little time, with the well behaved Swales tending to stick together, but resisting any pressure. The prospect of a wooden pen gave them further cause for hesitation, but Grit put them in. A good single completed the run, giving Scotland her high point of the day, the qualifying championship.

Elin Hope won the young handler’s competition and organisers and judges commended the standard of all four entrants.

There was also a massive fundraising event organised by one couple for NHS Charities Together – a four nations charity (charity no 1186569) To contribute

To see trial

LEADING awards

NHS Mini International Littledale, Lancs (Judges: R Hutchinson, (E); E McAuley, (I); S McCrindle, (S); S Harden (W)) Qualifying – Four teams of seven ran – 1, JW Common’s Grit, (S) 378 /440; 2, R Ellis’ Todd, (W) 363; 3, SL Davidson’s Gillieglen Queen, (S), 362; 4, A Owen’s Bud, (W), 357; 5, C McGarry’s Karven Dave, (I), 354; 6, D Wood’s Polly, (E) 344; 7, J Watson’s Bob, (E), 339; 8, J McLaughlin’s Ben jnr, (I), 333; 9, F McCullough’s Spot, (I) 331; 10, J Howard’s Billy, (E) 331. Final – 5 ran – 1, A Owen’s Bud, (W), 523 /680; 2, R Ellis’ Todd, (W) 512; 3, C McGarry’s Karven Dave, (I), 510; 4, JW Common’s Grit, (S) 430; 5, SL Davidson’s Gillieglen Queen, (S), 400?;

Young handler – 1, E Hope (W) 323; 2, S Conn (I) 321; 3, H Harrison (E), 274; 4, T McKinley (S) 252; Team – Wales, 396; Ireland 392; England, 340; Scotland, 308;

Ham (Judge: M Sutherland, Halkirk ) Invitation – 15 ran –1, K Keith’s Jen, Durness, 87; 2, D Simpson’s Gael, Barrock, 86; 3, I Sutherland’s Foinaven Drift, Strathnaver, 85 Outbye; 4, W Cormack’s Nap, Dunnet, 85; 5, W Cormack’s Jill, Dunnet, 70; 6, W Cormack’s Maid, Dunnet, 67; 7, N Sutherland’s Heatherhill Heck Strathnaver, 66; 8, K Keith’s Skye, Durness, 65; 9, T Robertson’s Ruby, 64; 10, N Sutherland’s Gore Hill Wisp Strathnaver, 63.