A good outrun gave Jasmine Grant and Nell the edge over a well matched, closely packed list at Evanton.

Big, strong cross Swale hoggs ran well on a field with a hollow which put the sheep out of sight of dogs on right or left outruns.

Nell (D McNeil’s Yellowhill Tommy, J Connolly’s Lyn) ran out right to the spot, lifted her sheep, kept good lines on the course, and got all her gates. A clean finish ensured first place.

Ian Sutherland’s Dan (Hielan Cap) (J MacDiarmid’s Rab, S Robertson’s Ruby) stopped short on his outrun, but once he found his sheep he followed Nell’s pattern, right down to the clean work at hand, and took second place, a single point behind Nell.

At Birchburn, Iain McConnell’s Fly (I McConnell’s Sam and Nan) started out well, but a poor cross drive caused the strong Mule hoggs to miss the gate. Good close work helped to make up for that and Fly flew home in first place.

Wully Stevenson’s Tweeddale Morag (S McCulloch’s Sam, D Aitken’s Nikki) had a similar run to Fly’s, but added a missed fetch to her list of omissions,

Two trials on one calm, cloudy day at Dalfarson saw the top two places claimed at the first and held, in reverse order at the second. Quiet Blackface hoggs ensured that young dogs with the skill to run out to their sheep over a difficult outrun had little to fear on the course.

Jocky Welsh’s Bob (T Devine's Cap, P McGoldrick's Jess) ran out cleanly to the top, dropped only minor points on the course, and finished with a comfortable lead.

Willie Welsh’s Jan (W Welsh’s Cap, J Emmerson’s Mo) was a little tight on her way round the top, which set her back, but she learned her lesson and benefitted on the second trial, which she won.

Next time, both dogs were matched neck and neck round the course until a dip in the line at the start of Bob’s cross drive cost him the trial, but he finished second, only a point behind Jan.

John MacKillop’s Glen and James Shanks’ Link kept their places at the top over two trials on a steep course at Ronachan, where good Mule hoggs found any weakness in the young dogs.

Glen (SL Davidson’s Dan, S Campbell’s Queen) ran out and lifted nicely and fetched the sheep on a flexible line. Glen struggled with a command on the drive away and looked to John for clarification; he recovered and worked well on the course from there and had a good pen. The shed took a little time to come off, but once made, Glen was the top dog and stayed there for the next trial.

Link (J Shanks’ Mirk and Kay (Lucky)) responded to a whistle from James on his outrun and was a little cautious and slow to lift his sheep, but he managed them well on the fetch and drive, pushing them on when they tried to break their circuit of the course. A clean pen and shed made him runner up – a position he kept the second time round.

Two litter mates, Fraser Shennan’s Nap and Fred (E Gray’s Reiver Gray, F Shennan’s Belle) have dominated the top spots in the Dumfries and Kirkcudbright league over the season, with only occasional breaches by other competitors. At Kirkbride, Fred took the lead, following Nap’s win at Gaups Mill.

The cross Mule hoggs at Kirkbride could be challenging on the flat course and at the chute.

Fred ran out well, lifted in a controlled manner, and made a good fetch. Although he had a wide turn round Fraser, he aligned the sheep on the first leg of the drive, put them through the gate, and worked well from there on and back to the chute. That element did not go smoothly, but Fred eventually got the job done and finished the run on a clean shed and first place.

Nap also started well, but the hoggs gathered pace on the fetch and missed the incoming gates. He brought them back onto the line, round the post, and went on to a good drive. Nap, too, had difficulty at the chute and finished in second place.

Fresh Cheviot gimmers ran on a rising field on a bright, frosty day for the second of two trials in one day at Hunterston where the cross drive gate caught some handlers out.

Ian Lockhart’s Roy (P Byrne’s Moss, C McGlaughlan’s Nala) started out well, and although the sheep were a little sticky, he put them through the fetch gate. He made a slightly wide turn round Ian on to a good first leg with another slightly wide turn, but a good cross drive and return followed. The gimmers were wary of the pen, but Roy put them in without a break and a good shed completed the winning run with a comfortable lead.

Leading Awards

Evanton (Judge: H Munro, Inverness). Nursery – 20 ran – 1, J Grant’s Nell, Dunbeath, 95; 2, I Sutherland’s Dan (Hielan Cap), Strathnaver, 94; 3, D Worthington’s Bob (Albert), Skarfskerry, 93; 4, G Simpson’s Carlos, Forgue, 91; 5, M Ashworth’s Rex, Kinloss, 91; 6, G Simpson’s Greiston Mick, Forgue, 89; 7, MC Shearer’s Mack, Westfield, 87; 8, I MacDonald’s Meg, Staffin, 84; 9, H Cooper’s Roy, New Deer, 74; 10, N Sutherland’s Mali, Strathnaver, 72.

Dalfarson I (Judge: M McTeir, Moniaive). Nursery – Nine ran – 1, J Welsh’s Bob, Beoch, 95; 2, W Welsh’s Jan, Dalcairney, 91; 3, N Gillon’s Uno, Barr, 88 Outbye; 4, R Welsh’s Fly, Patna, 88; 5, I Fergie's Roy, Straiton, 84 Outbye; 6, J Shennan’s Dash, Barr, 84.

Dalfarson II (Judge: D Porter. Stranraer). Nursery – Nine ran – 1, W Welsh’s Jan, Dalcairney, 93; 2, J Welsh’s Bob, Beoch, 92; 3, J Shennan’s Dak, Barr, 87; 4, J Shennan’s Dash, Barr, 86; 5, R Welsh’s Fly, Patna, 85; 6, N Gillon’s Uno, Barr, 82;

Ronachan I (Judge: J Main, Whitehouse). Nursery – 14 ran – 1, J MacKillop's Glen, Fort Augustus, 91; 2, J Shanks’ Link, Ardtornish, 89; 3, A McCuish’s Nan, Skipness,73; 4, K Strachan's Mirk, Roybridge, 71; 5, M MacNally's Creag, Invergarry, 69; 6, R Rennie’s Ash, Furness, 65; 7, JC MacLachlan's Craig, Spean Bridge, 56.

Ronachan II (Judge: J Main). Nursery – 12 ran – 1, J MacKillop's Glen, Fort Augustus, 93; 2, J Shanks’ Link, Ardtornish, 86; 3, R Rennie’s Ash, Furness, 84; 4, D MacKinnon’s Torr, Taynault, 79; 5, K Grieve's Mirk, Skipness, 74; 6, A McCuish’s Nan, Skipness,71; 7, JC MacLachlan's Craig, Spean Bridge, 70; 8, M MacNally's Creag, Invergarry, 68.

Hunterston II (Judge: B Welsh, Beoch). Nursery – 16 ran – 1, I Lockhart’s Roy, Carsphairn, 90; 2, C Toner’s Fernhill Spot, Drimsynie, 83; 3, E Gray’s Greylees Flute, Ardros, 77 outbye; 4, E Gray’s Mainstay Jock, Ardros, 77; 5, SL Davidson’s Mac, Sandbank, 74; 6, L Gast’s Scalpsie Herbie, Scalpsie, 66; 7, L Gast’s Scalpsie Chase, Scalpsie, 64; 8, V Mathie’s Nip, Kilmaurs, 51; 9, D MacDiarmid’s Roxy, Eynort, 45; 10, V Mathie’s Fea, Kilmaurs.

Gillisbie II (Judge: W Todd, Langholm). Nursery – 14 ran – 1, H Hampshire’s Skye, Kirkcudbright, 88; 2, M Young’s Duncallean Tandy, Stranraer, 86; 3, I McMillan’s Cat, Newton Stewart, 85; 4, K Keith’s Foinaven Ellie, Lockerbie, 82; 5, A Stewart’s Annandale Spot, Lockerbie, 81; 6, A Stewart’s Annandale Alice , Lockerbie,77; 7, S McCrindle’s Duncallean Play, Stranraer,75; 8, C Caygill’s Glen, Whinnyliggate, 47.

Kirkbride, Gelston (Judge: B White, Dalry). Nursery –14 ran – 1, F Shennan’s Fred, Barr, 87; 2, F Shennan’s Nap, Barr, 82; 3, AR Mundell’s Jock, Moffat. 80; 4, D Robertson’s Zak, Langholm, 72; 5, J Thomson’s Roy, Carsphairn, 66; 6, CA Anderson’s Una, Penpont; 7, T Blacklock’s Mist, Kirkconnel. Pro novice – 1, R Malcolm’s Gael, Gatehouse; 2, T Blacklock’s Chip, Kirkconnel.

Birchburn, Arran I (Judge: G Brooks, Southpark). Nursery – Seven ran – 1, I McConnell’s Fly, Lamlash, 83; 2, W Stevenson’s Tweeddale Morag, Whiting Bay, 69.

Birchburn, Arran II (Judge: G Brooks). Nursery – Seven ran – 1, I McConnell’s Fly, Lamlash, 73; 2, W Stevenson’s Tweeddale Morag, Whiting Bay, 69; Older dogs 1, M McNeish’s Pip, Sliddery, 84 Time; 2, I McConnell’s Joe, Lamlash, 84; 3, I Logan’s Bute, Pirnmill, 60.

Gaups Mill (Judge: H Svobodova, Hallbankgate). Nursery –14 ran – 1, F Shennan’s Nap, Barr, 80; 2, F Shennan’s Fred, Barr, 71; 3, D Robertson’s Zak, Langholm; 4, AR Mundell’s Jock, Moffat; 5, J Thomson’s Roy, Carsphairn ; 6, CA Anderson’s Una, Penpont; 7, WJ Welsh’s Barcroft Jam, Sanquhar ; 8, T Blacklock’s Mist, Kirkconnel. Pro novice – 1, T Blacklock’s Chip, Kirkconnel ; 2, R Malcolm’s Gael, Gatehouse.

Spottiswoode (Judge: D Wallace, Blythe Bridge). Nursery – 12 ran – 1, WS Elliot’s Roy, Yetholm, 78; 2, J Foster’s Cap, Earlston, 74 outbye; 3, I Jackson’s Zac, Ancrum, 74; 4, M Arres’ Tot, Ashkirk, 70; 5, A Dickman’s Lady, Oxton, 66 outbye; 6, E Foster’s Glen, Brotherston, 66; 7, J Robinson’s Tay, Coldingham, 62; 8, E Runciman’s Meg, Lauder, 61; Novice 1, E Runciman’s Meg, Lauder, 61; 2, G Pate’s Moss, Humbie, 48.