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Hooray!!  The SKC Championship trial ran this year!  This beautiful country of ours withheld its angry side until the Monday morning after the trial, when snow fell over black ice and made driving a little more interesting than usual.

Catering for competitors’ requests in a democratic manner meant that the trial run thus: - TD – Thurs/Fri/Sat/Sun; WD – Thurs/Fri; CD – Saturday only.  The bonus to this was that only one field and one set of jumps was required for C/A.

A November of rain had rendered the lush grass tracking fields a little damp, to say the least.  Thursday was damp, bordering on wet, with a brisk breeze that frequently gusted to 60 mph; Friday was mostly sunny with a slight bitter breeze; Saturday was as Friday until the afternoon, when rain fell; on Sunday, early black ice with hoar frost on top made travelling dicey, but by 10.30-ish a bright sun and a gentle, icy breeze had eased conditions.

The control field lived up to its reputation as "the driest field in the Borders" and provided firm sound footing for all.

42 teams entered, but 6 had to withdraw for various reasons.

Now, trials managers countrywide know that not all trialists help at trials, and not all willing helpers can help at trials other than their own, but it never ceases to amaze me that in this relative backwater trialists from some distance away regularly give generously of their time and commitment to ensure consistency, expertise, fairness and a warm, hospitable welcome for all competitors.  A debt of gratitude is also due to numerous local farmers, who not only made available their best ground for the job in hand, but threw open their homes to accommodate helpers and competitors alike, even though they have nothing to do with their trade.

If this was the "forces" I would be standing to salute you all now.  So, just for the record, this is the Scottish Kennel Club "Roll of Honour":-

TD – Judge, John Wykes; Steward, Kate Wykes; Tracklayers, Jim Jeffrey and Derek McAuley, both for three days.

WD – Judge, Joyce Rae; Stewards, Cheryl Savage and Gary Tait; Tracklayers, Andrea Lynd, Gary Tait and Doug Shearer.

CD – Judge, John Hood; Stewards, Cheryl Savage and Andrea Lynd.

The Kitchen Angels provided breakfast, lunch and evening meal to all involved, in addition to the usual hot snacks, packed lunches and drinks, all delivered with a smile and a joke.  So Susan Glasgow, Tom (Simon) Savage and Cheryl Somebody – take a bow!

Escorts were Heather Halton and Cheryl Savage, and Ed Brown and Heather Halton took care of the jumps and signs.  The farmers were John Irvine at Jed Forest Deer and Farm Park, Robert Barbour at Crailinghall for the tracking land, Jaime Cairns at South Riccalton for "the driest field in the Borders", Dougie Taylor at Swinside Townfoot and Margaret and Ken Hedley (our nearest neighbours) for billeting judges, helpers and competitors.

And last, but certainly not least, Mike Masson, our computer "glitch" fixer and catalogue printer.

The Saturday evening saw a small get-together in Edgerston Village Hall, where a "thank you" could be said to the farmers and all involved in the trial, and allow everyone to get to know one another.  A short period of entertainment was provided by singer Kim Brown, followed by a three-course meal, prepared by a legendary local SWRI member, Rosemary.   Welcome to the area was delivered by Jim Brown, the local SNP councillor, who stressed the area’s dependence on tourism, and emphasised the trial had received locally.

Thanks again, everybody.





Stewards: Auderea and Cheryl

I would like to thank The Scottish Kennel Club for the invitation to judge the CD stake at the above trial.  I would also like to take this opportunity to thank my control steward and my square steward, Auderea and Cheryl, and the trials manager for keeping my arithmetic right and everybody else involved in this trial.

It was bitterly cold but nice and bright and fair; superb location and the rain did not start until the CD competitors had finished, which was a bonus.

There were 16 entries and 7 competitors, of which there were 4 qualifiers.  The dogs that did not qualify were not far off, just bits and pieces here and there - maybe next time.

1st Fay Rae with SILVERSNIPE ONCE ONLY, Lab Retriever, D, 92, Q

2nd Jackie Hilton, GOOSECREEK CHINOOK, Aussie S, D, 91, Q

3rd Brian Glasgow, RANDOLFIELD NEILA, GSD, B, 90, Q

4th Jacquie Hall, LITTLE ASHAN, X-Breed, B, 83.5, Q




Tracklayers: Gary, Doug, Andrea and Brian

Stewards: Cheryl and Gary

Thank you to the SKC for the invitation to judge, fortunately the weather held this year and the trial could go ahead!

A big thank you to Doug and Sheila for all the organising and also to Sue and Tom in the kitchen for the wonderful hot food.

Trials could not run without people willing to give up their time to tracklay etc, so to Doug, Andrea, Brian and Cheryl for all their help and company, again a huge thank you for doing all I asked exactly as I asked.  Not forgetting that man of many talents (watch him get big headed now) Gary Tait who laid tracks, put out squares and stewarded for the control and gave me loads of cheek as well. Also thanks to the farmers for the use of their lovely muddy fields.

I tried to set a very straightforward test as I know that conditions in December can be difficult and was absolutely delighted that six out of eight competitors completed the track.  As usual the stays and jumps took their toll and I had three well deserved qualifiers.  Congratulations to those who made it and to the rest - your day will come.

A special mention to Bridget and Pegs, unlucky on the jumps but what a team - everyone who has met them will know what I mean.

1st Jane Lewis with RUSHBOTTOM RHYNESTONBROWS, 197.5, Q.  First dog to track on the first day and set a very high standard overall.  Lovely to watch.  Well done

2nd Jacquie Hall with NUNNEYSWOOD RHYTHM N BLUES, 184.5, Q.  Cy worked well, only a small hiccup on the jumps but otherwise a nice round.

3rd Julz Findeisen with GUNNISWENS ARRIVA LA DIVA, 180.5, Q.  Diva worked her little socks off for Julz today and I know Carole was delighted to be there to see her qualify.

Res John Tait with PINFOLD FLY, 184, NQ.  Fly worked nicely but decided that the jumps were not for her today.




Tracklayers: Jim Jeffrey and Derek McAuley

Square Steward & C/A Scribe: Kate Wykes

Escorts: Heather Halton, Cheryl Savage and Doug Shearer

Thank you to the Society for asking me to judge, I had a wonderful time and was well looked after.  Thank you to Doug and Sheila Shearer for having Kate and me to stay.  Thank you to Sue (Lorna) Glasgow, Tom (Simon) Savage and Cheryl (Carol) Savage, (the "kitchen angels") who kept us fed and watered.  The Saturday evening meal was fabulous and we were treated to some lovely Scottish ballads and songs by Kim Brown. 

The conditions played a big part in how many nosework qualifiers there were.  The grass fields we had for tracking were great; it’s just that there’d been so much rain in Scotland that they were waterlogged (you could try sending some of it down to the Midlands).  Friday turned out to be the best nosework day; whether that was anything to do with the hard frost we had on Thursday night who knows.

1st and CC Kathy Ingham with OBCh RUSKATH OTHENTIC IMAGE, WSD, B, 208, Q.  This pair worked hard on their track and I thought Kathy was going to need rescuing when she started coughing at the first article, being full of cold was not nice for her.  This is Oddi’s second ticket and, subject to Kennel Club confirmation, will make her a Working Trials Champion and subsequently a Dual Champion.  Congratulations. 

2nd & Res CC Margaret Robinson with JUST FRANKIE AT TRENT VALLEY, WSD, D, 195.5, Q.  This pair tracked on the Friday. 

3rd Lorna Cottier with ADDRESS TO A HAGGIS, X, B, 184.5, Q.  Haggis did a good sendaway and as Lorna’s been working hard on this exercise she was justifiably chuffed to bits. 

4th Pat Parkinson with WTCh CARISHILL HYACYNTH, G Ret, B, 183.5, NQ.  Poppy was a bit OTT on her control round, which was her downfall today. 

Thank you to all the competitors for entering under me and for accepting all my decisions.  To those who qualified - well done; to those who didn’t - better luck next time.

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