A near flawless run from Ian Sutherland’s Dan set an early standard that was unmatched throughout the day and topped a high scoring list on home ground at Strathnaver.

The well managed Cheviot ewes turned a day of torrential rain into a grand day out for North handlers who regularly travel from the offshore islands, East, West, and South to run their nursery dogs. The judge, in turn, was impressed by the standard of the running, with dogs generally proving to be in good command on the big flat field, worthy of an open trial. The only bogey was that the cross drive proved hard to judge and dogs consistently came low on their line across the second leg of the drive.

Dan (Hielan Cap) (J MacDiarmid’s Rab, S Robertson’s Ruby) was faultless outbye, started his drive very well and like others, let his sheep come a little low before he realigned them and put them through the gate. Clean work at hand secured his position in the first place.

Geordie Simpson was not far behind, with Llangwm Ben and Carlo in second and third places, level on points and separated only by their outbye work.

Ben (C Pritchard’s Madog, A Owen’s Llangwm Gael) ran out and lifted very well, and worked very well on the course with just very minor wavers on the fetch and drive. A clean pen and shed completed the run.

Carlo (JR Rowland’s Mot &Fflei) responded to Geordie’s whistles to keep him out on his outrun and made up for needing the reminder with a clean lift and fetch and a very good drive. Again, clean work at hand matched his kennel mate, Ben.

Fraser Shennan was on good form at Ulzieside, with litter brothers Nap and Fred (E Gray’s Reiver Gray, F Shennan’s Belle) claiming the top two places. The Blackface hoggs were good to handle round a good, flat course, but could be a little difficult to put through the chute.

Fraser’s Nap ran out a little wide but lifted the sheep cleanly and fetched them down through the fetch gates with only a slight deviation from the line. He made a good turn around the handlers’ post, putting them on a good line on the first leg of the drive. They made a good, tight turn onto the cross drive, where Nap held them on a good line and straight through the cross drive gates. Fraser and Nap had to work hard to put the sheep through the chute, but they succeeded and finished the winning run on a clean shed.

Fred also ran out well, but lifted the sheep a little off line; he recovered well with a good line on the fetch and through the gates. He turned the sheep nicely round the post and took them up the first leg of the drive on a good line, with a tight turn onto the cross drive and through the gates. Like Nap, Fred also had a little difficulty at the chute, but his shed was not quite a match for Nap’s and he took second place, a single point behind him.

Leading Awards

Strathnaver (Judge: B Ross, Ardgay) Nursery - 17 ran – 1, I Sutherland’s Dan (Hielan Cap), Strathnaver, 98; 2, G Simpson’s Ben, Forgue, 96 Outbye; 3, G Simpson’s Carlos, Forgue, 96; 4, D Worthington’s Bob, Skarfskerry, 92; 5, I MacDonald’s Meg, Staffin, 91 Outbye; 6, H Cooper’s Roy, New Deer, 91; 7, G van Dyck’s Lhinnek Rum, Invergordon, 87; 8, J Grant’s Nell, Dunbeath, 86; 9, G Simpson’s Greiston Mick, Forgue, 85;10, N Sutherland’s Mali, Strathnaver, 83;

Ulzieside (Judge: A McCulloch, Dalmellington) Nursery – 9 ran – 1, F Shennan’s Nap, Barr, 87; 2, F Shennan’s Fred, Barr, 86; 3, AR Mundell’s Jock, Moffat. 69; 4, D Robertson’s Zac, Langholm, 55; 5, WJ Welsh’s Bancroft Jam, Sanquhar ; 6, T Blacklock’s Mist, Kirkconnel; Pro novice -1, D Robertson’s Mirk, Langholm, 87; 2, T Blacklock’s Chip, Kirkconnel;

Tigh na Blair (Judge: C Toner, Drimsynie) Nursery – 25 ran – 1, M Gallagher’s Hillrunner Bee, Alyth, 80; 2, P Martin’s Meme, Glenlyon, 76; 3, K Dickson’s Skye, Fintry, 72; 4, S Martin’s Cherry, Cashlie, 71; 5, AD Carnegie’s Dot, Comrie, 67; 6, P Martin’s Hamish, Glenlyon, 65; 7, E Nilsson’s Amy, Alyth, 62; 8, D Mullen’s Moss, Kinross, 61 Outbye; 9, M Gallagher’s Chief, Alyth,61; 10, A Wilkie’s Seal, Glenmoy, 58.