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Open Trial
Venue: Ballater
Trial Held: 27 June 2010


To begin, I should like, on behalf of the SWTS, to thank the Queen and her staff for continuing to allow us to use the buildings at Inchnabobart and the land of the Balmoral Estate for our trial.  In particular I would like to wish Fiona Smith, the Ranger, a timely and full recovery from her recent operation.

Most importantly, at least from my point of view, I should report that the midgies weren’t too bad at all!  The weather was again kind to us; it was dry and quite sunny and warm but often with just enough cloud to stop it becoming too oppressive for the dogs.  There were only light breezes, which were pleasant around the base, but which had little effect on the tracking out on the land.

I should like to express our most appreciative and grateful thanks to our Judges - Doug Shearer (C/A), Sheena Kerr (CD and WD), John Hood (UD) and Sheila Shearer (TD).  (On a personal note I should like to commend Sheila’s list of ‘rules’ for her competitors – a refreshingly positive, encouraging and heartening list which I hope will provide a model for other judges.)  No doubt the Judges will be naming and thanking their stewards and tracklayers themselves but I must thank them too.  I am most appreciative of their willingness to turn out and help, and most grateful to Jim Jeffrey for reorganizing the track-laying so efficiently.

My thanks to all those who travelled all the way to Inchnabobart to take part in the trial, and I’m absolutely delighted that a significant proportion of you were to qualify!

Again on behalf of the SWTS I should like to thank Bill Mackie, who had previously come all the way to Inchnabobart to take home the two scales to redesign them, chamfer them and apply three coats to them, doing a superb job, before returning them to Inchnabobart.  I should also like to thank Ann Bedford and Derek McAuley for gifting us our new microwave oven.

My thanks to Helen Jones for all the unseen secretarial work behind the scenes; to Ann Bedford for being a frighteningly efficient treasurer; and to Lorraine Wilson for her help with the trophies and presentation.  My thanks also to Betty Calderwood for her help on reception; it was good to see her fit and well again.  I had rather naively thought that I might do the scoresheets myself but David and June McPhillips knew better, thank goodness, and took over not just the scoresheets but also the whole complicated business that goes with them!  My thanks also to all those who helped in various ways setting up for the trial and cleaning up after it, most notably Bill Mackie, David McPhillips, Roy Drummer, Chris Woodhouse and Steve Hirst.

We were even more fortunate than last year in the donations of food we received to help with the catering - thanks to Ailsa Anderson, Ann Bedford, Beryl Gummow, Betty Calderwood, Hilary Hirst, Joyce Rae, June McPhillips, Lesley and Roy Drummer, Lorna Cottier, Louise McLaren and Sandra Dawson; and my apologies but I lost track of the many people who also so generously donated prizes for our raffles.

Finally – my most sincere and most grateful thanks to the catering team.  They provided superb food at the same time as extending a most friendly and sociable welcome to everyone who attended the base.  It is becoming difficult to imagine the Inchnabobart base without Chris Woodhouse there, providing the bacon rolls and conversing with all and sundry about anything and everything under the sun.  Sandra Dawson on the Saturday and Janis Simpson on both days attended to and looked after everyone extremely well, and Louise McLaren organized and managed the catering absolutely brilliantly.

Thanks again, everyone.





Steward: Ailsa Anderson

Thanks to SWTS for inviting me to judge CD.   It is always a pleasure to see young dogs starting out in their working trials careers, and I will watch your rise through the stakes with interest.  All the dogs and handlers are well able.   Unfortunately the jumps took their toll on the qualifiers but I am sure it was either just nerves or a blip on the day. 

The weather was very pleasant and warm and the ground dry.  Articles in the square posed no problem for any of the dogs who obviously enjoyed the nosework. The standard of control was very good.

I have mentioned Jim Mckay and his very efficient team elsewhere but thanks again for a lovely trial.  Many thanks Ailsa Anderson my steward who as usual kept everyone relaxed and for conducting all the exercises so clearly and calmly.

1st Gary Tait and MASTER FELDSPAR (Ice), GSD, 87, Q.  An excellent round overall.  A young, bold dog whose enthusiasm brings a smile and a stop of the heart all at once.  Lovely and well done.

2nd Paul Thornton and LYMASMYTHE ENNYA (Quest), GSD, 86, Q.  Lovely round, with excellent control, although  uneasy in the down, which may prove costly in the other stakes.  A pleasure to watch this dog work.

3rd Alison Robertson and FORGUECROFT DASH N DAMMIT (Dash), GSD, 81.5, NQ.  A Lovely round - only missed the qualification by a mistake of timing on the jumps.  Well done for your first ever trial. 

4th Leslie Drummer and LONDON PRIDE (Tab), FCR, 78.5, NQ.  A very nice round, a lovely square, only jumps let you down for a qualification.  Well done.




Tracklayers: Derek McAuley (2 days), Brian Glasgow, Gordon Barnett

Steward: Helen Jones

Thanks to the Society for the invitation and to Jim McKay for a brilliant trial.  Thanks also to my steward and tracklayers for their help and great company.

The weather was lovely for the humans but just a bit too hot for the dogs.  The setting for this trial is just superb and a couple of days watching dogs and handlers tracking is a perfect way to spend a weekend.  We saw some great tracks over what can be difficult ground for the handlers to negotiate but the dogs just took it in their stride.

1st Lorna Cottier and ADDRESS TO A HAGGIS, X-Breed, NQ, 183.  A great track from Lorna and Haggis – they made it look effortless.

2nd Pam Cuthbert and PIERCE’S APPRENTICE, X-Breed, NQ, 176.5.  Another superb track with some fancy footwork from Pam to stay upright!

3rd Jo Moulin and DURABLE OF DIRRINGTON, WSD, NQ, 170.  A great effort from Jo and Jura, dropping just one point.

4th Sam Ashton and DOTTY DOTTY, WSD, NQ, 163.  A good track but 3 out of the square saw Sam and Dot take 4th place.




Steward: Roy Drummer

The base is the Queen’s Picnic Cottage at Inchnabobart on the Balmoral Estate.  There is no more scenic HQ for a trial in the country.  No grass fields with straight edges here; no flat acres on which to watch the dogs run away for miles; hills everywhere, and whatever grass there is can best be described as "lumpy".  From a dog’s perspective everything is new and strange – you just cannot train for a place like this.  Splendour abounds.

I have only competed in trials since 1971, and back then my mentors impressed on me that I should not be overly nervous in front of a judge and steward.  They were only acting as agents for the Kennel Club in allocating marks for the dogs’ competency in completing each exercise to a satisfactory standard, in line with the KC’s rules, regulations and guidelines.  I think this holds true today, as we cannot all be perfect dog trainers with perfect dogs. 

Over the past year or so I have learned of several "nearly new" trialists who have given up the sport after attempting only a few CD and UD stakes.  Invariably, their reason is they consider they can never qualify as the method expected of them to work their dogs is too strict and precise for their stage in training.  Their dogs perform perfectly adequately both at home and at other training locations they visit, but when they are confronted with unexpected rules for the test, or have marks deducted for marks not legislated for, they become overly disappointed in the dog’s performance.  Examples quoted are: "No collars and/or leads on the control field", "Do not handle your dog under test", and "Do not praise or play with your dog whilst under test".  Deduction of marks is reported for the dog’s inability to maintain a steady speed on the retrieve, for the sendaway outrun speed differing from its return to handler, and for dogs being placed in the correct position from which to start an exercise, albeit that exercise has not commenced until the dog and handler are ready.

I am convinced that the above is "not in the spirit" for which the KC regulations were intended, and will do nothing to encourage new trialists.

Consequently, at this trial, competitors were informed that the judge wished to see each dog perform each exercise in the best way possible.  They should complete the C/A round in a relaxed manner, as they would in training.  There would be no added restriction on how they set their dog up for each exercise, they could use leads and collars between exercises, and they should praise and briefly play with their dogs on completion of each exercise (no toys).  This, together with the steward’s extremely competent and jovial manner, ensured that all rounds were attempted by relaxed competitors with smiling faces, and some damn fine rounds were witnessed!

Thanks to SWTS for the chance to redress the balance, and to Jim McKay, the Trails Manager, who ensured all went as planned.  Special thanks to Roy, who "hypnotised" each competitor into relaxing for the duration of the test, and to the "kitchen angels", who dished up some remarkable soups and puddings.


1st Steve Hirst with TRIJEM TRUEBLUE COWBOY OF AVAWAGA, ASD, 181, Q.  Difficult breed, well handled.

2nd Sue Sentinella with SHADOWSQUAD ZOFIA, GSD, 175.5, Q.  Neat C/A, just needs more confidence on the jumps.

3rd CC West Midlands Police, LIMASMYTHE ENNYA, Handled by Paul Thornton.  Lovely brood bitch, needs everything tightening up.  Non qualifier, but won the Best Track Trophy.

4th Gladys McCulloch with FORGUECROFT PATHFINDER, GSD.  Jumps the only problem.  NQ.


1st Cheryl Savage with GLENLOXLEY STAR WIZARD, BC, 195, Q.  The marks say it all on this ground.  Lovely.

2nd Pam Cuthbert with PIERCES APPRENTICE, X-Breed, 182, Q.  Nice control, jumps need attention.

3rd John Tait with PINFOLD FLY, WSD, 177.75, NQ.  Patient, quiet handling.  Again, jumps need attention.

4th Bridget Montague with Desma Thompson’s Labrador, KLIPPER RIVER HARMONY, 165.5, NQ.  Good control, but jumps took a toll.


1st Lorna Cottier with ADDRESS TO HAGGIS, X-Breed, 203.25, Q.  Slowly but surely this experienced handler is getting the better of this re-homed Malinois cross.

2nd Di Cottrill with SANDYS OAK, Lab, 197.25, Q.  Long way to travel to such alien ground.  Sendaway needs work.

3rd Ken Coleman with SHERINGEM MAC, BC, 195.75, Q.  Good C/A round from a dog totally in sympathy with his handler’s restricted movement.

4th Brian Glasgow with NORSHEP ROCCO, GSD, 188.75, Q.  A strong willed dog needing firm handling.

5th Karen Tiffany with BRICKER BRACKEN, WSD, 185, Q.  The C/A round of the trial.

Memory from the trial: A female handler with a GSD completed the clear jump and headed toward the long.  En route she very pleasantly gave the dog what we later realised was her pre-empt command.  At the time Roy and I looked at each other, grinned, then smiled widely.  At long last we had heard the words that every red-blooded teenager dreams of – "longy, longy, big boy"




Steward: Ailsa Anderson

Tracklayers: Bill Mackie, Jim Jeffrey, Brian Glasgow and Gary Tait

Once again, a wonderful weekend on the Queens lovely Balmoral estate.  The trial was excellently organised by Jim Mckay and his team, the sun shone and the midges came and went, and the atmosphere was friendly and relaxed adding to the overall success of this trial. 

There were 7 entries for the nosework and seven very positive competitors.   Each one commented on how delighted they were with whichever part of the exercise they were especially pleased, whether they had qualified in this section or not.  A very refreshing and rewarding attitude.  You all have great tracking and search dogs and I wish you every success in the future.

A big thank you to my tracklayers Bill Mackie, Jim Jeffrey, Brian Glasgow and Gary Tait - I very much appreciated your efforts, as did the competitors.   Last but not least, Ailsa Anderson, my search steward.   She kept us all on our toes and laughing and put all the competitors at ease - thank you.

1st Cheryl Savage and GLENLOXLEY STAR WIZARD (Brock), BC, 195, Q.  Lovely track 89.5 +20 articles, Square 33.  A very delighted Cheryl.  Also best track and search trophy. Well done.

2nd Pam Cuthbert and PIERCES APPRENTICE (Sam), XB, 182, Q.  A great track 87 +20 articles. Square 26.5, missing one article, but the smile said it all.  Sam certainly knew you were pleased.  Well done.

3rd John Tait and PINFOLD FLY (Fly), BC, 177, NQ.  Amazing to watch this dog track - never faltered on a particularly rough bit of ground.   Full mark track but unfortunately missed the last article.  Excellent square, fumbled article by handler lost 0.5.  Track 90 +10 article. Square 34.5.  Beautiful nosework.  Good Luck and well done.

4th Bridget Montague handling D Thompson’s KLIPPER RIVER HARMONY (Pegs), Lab, 163.5, NQ.  Pegs worked hard on the track, and with her very supportive handler managed to succeed in completing it.  Pegs never looked liked giving up. Well done both.   Track 77 + 15 article. Square 25.




Tracklayers: Jim Jeffrey, Pam Cuthbert

Search Steward: Joyce Rae

As said by Doug (C/A judge), this has to be the most beautiful and different trials venue.  None like it.  It is a privilege to be invited to judge.

Thank you to the Trials Manager, Jim McKay, and his great band of helpers.  You were wonderful.  To the kitchen ladies, thank you for the treat non-dairy products you produced.

The note I left at base for TD nosework competitors (reproduced at the end of this report) would, I hoped, set the ambience for a grand day out.  That, combined with the fabulous Dundee 3 team, (Jim, Pam and Joyce – go anywhere, do anything, no job too difficult) and things looked promising.

7 dogs competed, 5 qualified.

1st Lorna Cottier, ADDRESS TO A HAGGIS, X-Breed, 293.25, Q.  Once Haggis settled into the track there was no stopping this team.  Well done.

2nd Di Cottrill, SANDYS OAK, Lab, 197.25, Q.  First dog on and tracked like on rails.  Di’s commentary "Oh! Oh! Steady!"  Great to watch, nice boy.

3rd Ken Coleman with SHERINGEM MAC, BC, 195.75, Q.  Good, steady nosework from this pair.  I would expect nothing else from you, Ken.  And on a very steep piece of ground.  Lovely handling.

4th Brian Glasgow with NORSHEP ROCCO, GSD, 188.75, Q.  Without a doubt got the hardest piece of ground, which left Rocco very tired for the square.  Well deserved.

5th Karon Tiffany with BRICKER BRACKEN, WSD, 185, Q.  Foot perfect till the final leg and a half.  Left them needing a good square and C/A, which they promptly achieved.  Karen, you have a wonderful attitude in trials.

Best track and search – Mr P Turner, TOP SHELF ZAC, WSD.  A steady, accurate and sympathetic track.

Thank you all for a super weekend.



It would seem that it is now common for judges to list all do’s and don’ts for the competitors while under test.


DO: Remember to bring your harness, lead and dog.

Consider bringing water for your dog.

Thank your tracklayer and search steward.

Smile.  No matter how many times you fall down on the track.

Play with your dog between exercises.

Feel free to touch your dog.

Show me how good you and your dog really can be.

Laugh!!!  This is only a sport.

Encourage your dog if you wish.

Enjoy your day out.

Come armed with a joke

DON’T: Forget the midgie spray

Best of Luck

S Shearer  TD Nosework Judge

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