Princess Anne to attend Sheep Dog Trials

HRH The Princess Royal has been announced as one of the celebrity visitors attending the International Sheep Dog Trials, which will be held in Dumfriesshire from 10-12 September.

Princess Anne, who is Patron of the International Sheep Dog Society, will visit on Thursday 10th September to encourage the competitors and to browse the local food, drink and craft products for sale in the Artisan Village.

Among the competitors taking part are three Dumfries & Galloway residents and their dogs; Ian McMillan and his dog Lamp from Carse of Clary, Newton Stewart, Alistair Stewart and dog Midge from Boreland, Lockerbie and Scotland’s Junior Handler, Andrew Mair and his dog Wispa from Meikleholm Farm, the host venue for the International Trials.

Wispa, an enthusiastic 3 year old Border Collie, is fast becoming the face of the International Trials, and she led a parade of young supporters up the Moffat Sheep Races course on Sunday.

“Wispa is a fantastic dog but it’s going to be tough,” says Andrew who with his dad, runs the family’s 1,1000 strong sheep flock at Meikleholm, “but I’m really looking forward to this competition which inspires and encourages other Young Handlers from all over the UK to get involved and to compete at the highest level.”

Sheep dog trails achieved cult status as a spectator sport in the 1980s when TV show One Man And His Dog regularly attracted audiences of 8 million, and this traditional rural craft is enjoying a recent resurgence in interest. ITV’s new prime time celebrity sheep dog trial show Flockstars has seen the dogs steal the limelight from the 8 celebs and host Gabby Logan.

Sheep dog trials take core, traditional shepherding skills and showcase them in a spectacle of tough manoeuvres that test the skills of each competing dog and handler to the limit.

It’s not just traditional farmers that take part, sheep dog trials are increasingly attracting dog handlers from a wide range of backgrounds, who thrive on the challenge of the tough competition and the enjoyment of working with intelligent and hard working sheep dogs.

Local people who want a taster of sheep dog trials can see demonstrations at the Galloway Country Fair on 22-23 August, and The International Sheep Dog Trials 2015 take place on 10-12 September at Meikleholm Farm, half way between Moffat and Dumfries. Day tickets cost £8 and children can attend free of charge. Tickets are available from www.internationalsheepdogtrials.org.uk and they can also be purchased during the Moffat Sheep Races on 9 August and at the Galloway Country Fair.

Photo by taken by Allan Devlin.

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