Sheepdog News

Sue: Day 10

Whew. Woke up on Uig where we stayed at the Uig hotel. A ferry terminal town. Move ‘em in move ‘em out. Note to self: Avoid these kind of places. Not much in the way of charm. Though really it was fine and had a good view. We have just been spoiled.

Up and off to Dunveagan where we actually had no idea where we were going. We drove around expecting signs. Were about to sit at the crossroads and wait for the parade of handlers to appear, but I got anxious and decided to ask at the hotel. The innkeeper had no idea but suggested we could flag down the post van which would be by at eight or could wait for the chap with dogs to come by with his key.

Jim Weir appeared around and gave very sparse but accurate directions. We would never have found it. It was four miles out of town and on the back side of a loch down a small track. The field ran across a football field and we only saw it once we had driven past the loch. Two guys standing in a field and a sheep trailer. That’s it.

The sheep were the same crazy Cheviots from Waternish. They were set behind a line of tall grass actually in a second field. The outrun was only about 150 yards but for Flo running to a second field to sheep she did not see was not happening without the redirect which we gave almost perfected. But it caused excitement and it did not take much to send the sheep flying towards the loch. I really did not want to swim for them so we quit. Six sheep drowned one year. So I considered my action wise.

I did not see Peat’s sheep because they’d not been set. Good gather regardless of an off line pick up but the sheep bolted at the turn and he went behind the cars to get them. Again they headed for the beach. I decided I’d had enough fun.

Actually hard to keep your mind on one trial with the next one waiting.

Bev had a good go with Joe and we hit the road. Hugs and goodbyes to Brenda, Sally, Gerda, Daniel, Enid and Jeff Moore and Claire Neale who were all heading home. Emails were shared, invitations extended both ways and we were off. What a great group we had met. I was very sad to say goodbye to our new friends. Hope to see them all again.

The drive to Gairloch was spectacular as promised. I had driven the route 20 years ago with Gene and we had climbed a few of the rocky hills we drove past. Dramatic land forms and weather. Some single track roads and two lane highways.

Yummy chicken korma for lunch at place I’d been long ago when it was just a climbers lodge in the Cuillens with sheep packed along the lee side to get out if a gale.

Gairloch!!!! Pay your entry. Get handed a bottle of whiskey and go to the post. A cross between Loon Mountain and the Big One.

photo

I ran Peat as Flo had no clue and was not looking up. Steep 400 yards with a 100 yard wall of bracken into which three paths had veen carved. Left right and fetch. The bottom the fetch was flat for drive pen and shed. Wiley bouncy dicey cheviots which were breaking in three directions at the top for the current handler was my first impression.

Bev went with Joe. Good outrun after a short time in the bracken good lift stops on the fetch and at the bottom they dove into the bracken in three places before they crashed the fate and headed out of the field. Game over. Not much Bev could have done.

Yikes. Our turn. Peat saw them. And after a slight look at the set out lifted and had good fetch, turn, and drive.

At the pen they dodged and split and jumped rope.

Finally a grip after turning them back about a million times. His abilities have increased tremendously but here’s a weak spot that recurs. Sigh. It was going really well.

Flo needed a lot of redirects but got there. Judge called us off to save the sheep for the next run. I wasbummed as I wanted her to lift them after all her effort,but Flo’s personal growth was not on his mind. It was 5:30 with lots more to go. Fair enough. Flo gave it her all. I have to hope it was a good experience over all.

Two hours drive through Inverness down the A9 and we are at the high rane motelin aviemore poised for the last trial (sob) at Aboyne in Aberdeenshire.

I am down to my last bit of coffee and my last pair of clean socks so I guess we have to go home.

But it seems like there could always be one more great trial just down the road.

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