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Sheepdog News

Sue: Day Nine

Up at 4:30 with sunrise because I have finally shifted time zones and it is so gorgeous in Loch Erisort that I want to enjoy it. We loaded up and headed to Tarbert for the ferry to Uig on Skye. From there a death defying drive down a single track road with switchbacks to Staffin on the western coast of Skye.

What location is most beautiful. No idea. But the ferry ride on calm seas with deepening blue sky and dark waters was a charming trip.

Staffin is a flat field, about 450 yards, that opens onto a vast peat bog. As always, a lefthand drive and most people sent right as it was a shorter trip to the sheep. Left and a dog would cast out onto the bog and run into rough terrain and ditches. But it was a hard long dog leg to the right and the sheep pulled heavily to the left over a hill to where they were exhausted and had pastured over night

The post had an off-pressure turn fairly close to the rope marking the bottom of the field and the spectators. As they rounded the turn for the first drive gate they broke up the hill and were happy to plow over the dogs.

This as you might have guessed got worse over the day in the heat and as the sheep were rerun. They were not easy to shed as they broke past the handler. In the morning they were fun to work. I completed a run with Flo which was yet another sign of our progress. She handled the sheep well, a bit gleefully at times. Listening all around a bit slow to come around for the dog leg but all gates made. Nice tight turn, good handle on the sheep to the first drive gate. Good drive and pen and her insistance that closet was better on the shed. We did shed but raggedly. I was pleased.

Peat had a nice gather. Sent left. Just because it looked cool. Big outrun. Pretty decent fetch–got the line and the dog leg We got a pretty good turn but the sheep bolted along the rope to break up the hill. Peat was not able or willing to cover them so close to the rope and hill; he dove in amongst them and tumbled. Appeared to me he tried to tackle one. No grip but off all the same. Not sure what else i could have done. But the gather was cool, just came to naught.

Most of us dropped like flies at the turn. We bonded over it. Bev Gerda Brenda sally. We cheered for anyone who could get the drive gate. It got hot. The Scots and Brits exposed their beautiful fair skin and soaked up the sun like lizards.

Chicken curry for lunch. Murdo Murray won followed by Ian Macdonald who organized the trial. Carol had a nice run with a lovely dog named mirk. We liked Kenny Braemer who ran a clever prick eared bitch who reminded us of Joni’s dog Sage. Kenny’s handling made us sit up and take notice.

It was a long, hot day. The scenery was magnificent. A very tough trial as the sheep tried to bully the dogs at the turn. Tomorrow we hit two trials. Dunvegan and gairloch on the mainland.

The journey home begins tomorrow.

We are familiar with the routine now. A lot of banter and camaraderie has developed amongst the handlers. I know my dogs have improved and watching these handlers run has been unbelievable.

Comments (1)

One Response to Sue: Day Nine

  1. Amanda milliken says:

    Mowed hay all afternoon. What a joy to read of othe adventures of the Americns girlfriends in the Hebrides against such a flat background of activity. Bravo

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