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Scottish National Sheepdog Trials: McCrindle wins in Caithness

Competition host Michael Shearer pens his sheep with the aid of Tib.
Competition host Michael Shearer pens his sheep with the aid of Tib.

Stuart McCrindle proved to be in a class of his own as he claimed his first Scottish National Sheepdog Trials title in Caithness.

The Stranraer stockman racked up one of the highest scores in recent competitions with his seven-year-old collie Zak.

The 43-year-old will now head the Scottish team taking part in next month’s home international in Wales.

Going out next to last on the first day of the competition at Lythmore Farm, Forss, he and Zak scored 207 – just 13 short of a maximum.

“I knew it was a decent run but you don’t think much about the score when you’re in the middle of it,” said Mr McCrindle, of Boech Farm, Cairnryan.

“I think my previous best was 193.”

Mr McCrindle made his Scottish debut in 2008 and this will be his ninth cap. His best previous performance was a third place finish in the 2009 trials in Dumfries.

His other main work dog, Kate just missed the cut for a place in the national team.

Mr McCrindle was very impressed with the course and the organisation.

He said: “It was a really good set-up. The course is well laid-out and there’s been a really good atmosphere at the event.”

Stuart McCrindle is presented with the Mrs JM Wilson Challenge Shield by Joyce Shearer, of Lythmore Farm.

Second in the singles competition was Duncan Robertson, from Langholm, on 196; and third, David Kinloch, from Glasgow, with 194.

Michael Shearer, who hosted the competition, finished in eighth spot with Tib (180) while two of the Shetland contingent also qualified for the 15-strong team – Andrew Hughson was seventh, with Ola, on 181, and Brendan Smith, was 13th with Lass, on 166.

Countback was required to decide the final place with Inverness-shire’s Freddie Fulford, with Gipping Valley Nelly, pipping Mr Shearer’s second dog Heilan Rab after they tied on 163.

George Gardner and his dogs Gum and Meg, from Lanarkshire, won the brace competition, with Ella Nilsson, from Perthshire, runner-up.

About 100 competitors from Shetland to the Borders ran 150 dogs over the three-day competition.

The weather was ideal for the trials apart from a heavy downpour which drenched the early starters on Saturday.

Trials committee member Kirsteen Thorburn said: “It’s been great to see people travelling from all over the country to take part. We’ve also had a lot of interest from local people and tourists.

“It’s one of the first outdoor events to take place here over the summer and I think many saw it as a chance to catch up with their neighbours and people further afield.

“It’s also given a boost to local hoteliers and other traders.”

The Scottish team heading to the friendly international in Wales are: Stuart McCrindle, Stranraer with Zac; Duncan Robertson, Langholm with Moss; David Kinloch, Glasgow with Zak; Ellie Nilsson, Perthshire with Midderry Kid; Sean Morgan, Berwickshire with Midderry Kim; Neil Gillon, from Ayrshire with Boss; Andrew Hughson, from Shetland with Ola; Michael Shearer, Caithness with Tib; Mark Arres, Selkirkshire with Doug; Alan Wilkie, Angus with Mott; Jock Welsh, Ayrshire with Sonny; Andrew Carnegie, Perthshire with Linburn Rook; Brendan Smith, Shetland with Lass; George Gardner, Lanarkshire with Meg; Freddie Fulford, Inverness-shire with Gipping Valley Nelly.

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