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Venue: Ballater
Trial Held: 24 June 2007

Trials Manager’s Report

This year has been a year of firsts for me. My first judging appointment, and now first time as trials manager.

I would like to start by thanking Her Majesty the Queen for once again allowing us to use this wonderful place as our base. Also thank you to the Factor, Mr Peter Ord, who visited us on the Sunday and stayed to hand out the prizes. Big thanks go to Fiona, the Ranger, who does so much before, during and after the trial and is always only a phone call away (signal permitting) if we need anything. She even removes all our rubbish!

Thank you to all the base staff, Frances, Ailsa, June and David, super burger man, doing a wonderful job of lunches for judges, stewards, tracklayers and everybody else who helped, plus the competitors. This was the first time Frances had been anywhere near a trial, but you would never have guessed. Her husband Alan was also roped in as UD search steward. To all who ran the admin side, Betty, David, Helen, Lorraine and Chris, my brother in law, who does not work a dog, a big thanks. To Jim McKay for putting up the signs, thank you. To everyone who donated food, really big thanks - it was all delicious. Thanks to Bill Mackie for once again collecting and putting up the jumps on Friday and then putting them all away after the trial.

Thank you to everyone who helped with all the unsung jobs that make a trial run so smoothly, especially to Joyce Slack, Gwen Matear, and Ann Bedford.

Huge thanks go to all our judges who set really good and fair tests for the competitors. Congratulations to those who qualified.   I’ll leave it to the judges to name their helpers but your work was very much appreciated.

Steve Hirst.


Stake: CD


Stewards: Gwen and Helen

My thanks to SWTS for the invitation to judge, to Gwen and Helen for being fantastic stewards, the kitchen for keeping us all well fed and to Steve for running an excellent trial.

Of 11 entries 10 ran. As ever with CD the stays and jumps took their toll, and I had only one qualifier.  I must say though that the rain started in earnest when I started the down stays!

1st          Gladys McCulloch with DANNY.  I think Mum was very pleased. The only qualifier, 85.5

2nd        Helen Kelly with TAZ.  Beautiful full mark round until he uncharacteristically failed the jumps. NQ, 85

3rd         John Westaby and CLUNIE.  Clunie is older than most but he does love to work.  Great to see a dog still full of fun.  Thanks for retrieving the sendaway cone!!  NQ, 76

4th          Paul Thornton and CARROW.  Carrow going over the scale made a very wet holiday in Scotland worthwhile I think!  NQ, 72


Stake: UD Nosework


Tracklayers: Jenny Wood and Colin Thain

Search Steward: Alan Lovie

Thank you for my first judging appointment at my favourite trial.  The setting is stunning and the friendly atmosphere second to none.  Well done Steve, first time as manager.  Well done base staff, organising everyone and turning out delicious food.  Huge thanks to my team, Alan doing squares for the first time and all perfect, Colin and Jenny tracks, Jackie and Jeff helping out too.  They got soaking wet and struggled through soggy heather for two days, remaining cheery and extremely accurate throughout, so that the competitors were put at ease and all stood the same chance.  Great company.  Also thanks to Beryl for taking charge of my dogs for three days – no mean feat.

We had some very impressive tracks with the handlers doing well to survive the rough terrain.  Only one ended up in hospital so far as I know – get well soon Stevie!

1st          Sheila Tannert and STYPERSON EBONY, CDEx, Lab.  Don’t know why you get nervous – lovely round.   196.5

2nd        Helen Kelly and LAETARE DYAMI. BC.  Strong, handsome, red and white, desperate to work.  193.5

3rd         Frank Glancy and MISTERGEES COOL JAZZ, GSD.  Trophy for the best track over all stakes by a qualifying dog and the one I wanted to take home.  186

4th          Yvonne Walker and DIEGO’S CAUGHT’N’THE ACT, CDEx, Dobe.  Qualified for Crufts in the show ring next day.  NQ 179

UD Track Trophy (irrespective of qualifying) John Hood and CHEYENNE DAWN, BSD.  Faultless track.


Stake: WD Nosework


Tracklayers: Jim Jeffrey and Pam Cuthbert

Steward: Derek McCauley

Thanks to SWTS for the invitation to judge.  I always enjoy my time at Balleter, even when the weather lets us down.  Well done to Steve and all his helpers, they did a great job running the trial.  Many thanks to Jim and Pam for tracklaying and to Derek for stewarding.

1st           J Beaton and TRIALEX NORTHERN LIGHT, GSD.  Jed did a lovely track only dropping 2 points, then he did a nice square, finding 3 articles.  Well done to Jenny for getting around the track - thanks to the wonders of modern medicine the new hip did great.  The only Qualifier, 181

2nd         C Greville and STYPERSON SWINGTIME, Lab.  Well done.  A good track despite the wet ground and a fantastic square only dropping 0.5.  A well deserved winner of the Best track and Search Trophy. 180, NQ

3rd         J Massheder and PENTLAND VITHFARI, GSD.  Duke did a nice track, but he was a bit unlucky this time.  Keep up the good work your day will come soon.  134, NQ

4th          C Ashworth and TWEEDSMILL LOCH TAY, FCR.  Started the track off well then encountered a few difficulties; did a nice search.  Good luck in the future. 76.5, NQ


Stake: TD Nosework


Tracklayers: Jim Jeffrey and Bill Mackie

Steward: Derek McAulay

Very many thanks to the Scottish Working Trials Society for inviting me to judge the TD at what must be the most beautiful venue in the whole of the UK, and, although it is slightly off the beaten track, those competitors that do go are more than well rewarded by the scenery alone – and the friendliness of everyone could not be faulted.  This year, under Trials Manager Steve Hirst and his wonderful band of helpers everything went like clockwork, and the hospitality to Joyce and myself over the two days was much appreciated.  Many thanks to Jim Jeffrey and Bill Mackie for laying the tracks perfectly, and to Derek McAulay for dong all the squares, and to all of you for looking after me, and for your very enjoyable company.

Unfortunately, the entries were quite low, with only 7 competing, but I hope that all those attending enjoyed themselves as much as I did.  As always, the nosework was on fairly lush heather, and although the wet weather made going a little difficult, we saw some excellent work, with four of the competitors obtaining 90 or over on the tracks, and only one failing on the search.  Well done to all of you, and thank you for taking the results so sportingly.

1st           Mrs A Pollard with PRIDE OF THE GLEN, (GR).  Did a great track and managed to negotiate the patches of water very well, and recovered all three articles, losing only 6 points; did enough in the square by recovering 2 articles.  Gained 144 on the nosework and 186.5 overall.  Well done, and the only dog to qualify.

2nd         Mrs L Wilson with ALFIE PEPPER POT, (Crossbreed).  Another excellent track and search, recovering all seven articles.  Best nosework in the TD stake, losing only 8 points, and gained 188 overall.

3rd         Mr B Glasgow with NORSHEP ROCCO, (GSD).  Only minor mistakes on the track, but could only recover one article and two from the square, but well done all the same.  Gained 118 on the nosework.

4th          Miss Anne Bedford’s WOLFHART DARK ISLANDER, (GSD), handled by Mrs L Wilson.  Started well on the track but then worked downwind on the third leg for about 80 yards before coming back onto line, but, alas, decided to start backtracking.  Very hard luck, but did a good square, getting all 4 articles.

Highly recommended:  Mr R Drummer with MOSSDEW DELTA FORCE (Flatcoated Retriever).  The fourth dog to complete the track, losing only 6 points, but unfortunately ran out of steam on the search, gaining only one article.  Flatcoats are my favourite breed and this one was a joy to watch.

As I mentioned above, the entries in the TD stake were rather low, but to me this trial is special in many ways, and the fact that over half the teams obtained 90% or over on the track was very satisfying – and hopefully will encourage more competitors to have a go in the future.

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