Day 1 - Qualifying

The 2015 International has started on a beautiful morning, with autumnal sunshine and a cool breeze. The course is set on a 146-acre field, which is flat with a few undulations. 

The sheep are Scottish blackfaces and they are working well around the field so far, but are very tricky at hand. 

After four runs we have yet to see a completed course.

Tom Huddleston and Udale Jet ran out of time in the single.

James McGee and Seth were timed up in the shed.

The grandstands are busy already and there are a lot of trade stands and marquees on site.

The drives are left-handed and the line of the cross drive is in front of the fetch gates. With the hazy sunshine it is quite tricky to judge distance and the wooden panel gates.

The first completed run of the day comes at number nine, from Craig Davidson and Cap.

The Society's Patron, the Princess Royal will be visiting the trial later today. The first of the brace runs will be run at lunchtime.

The four judges for the singles are George Simpson (Scotland), who is also celebrating his birthday today, Mike Northwood (England), Emyr Lloyd (Wales) and Eamonn McAuley (Ireland).

The brace runs are due to start around noon. Stephen Martin will be the first to run for Scotland.

There were three completed brace runs, from Stephen Martin, Glyn Jones and Val Powell. The brace sheep used were re-run from this morning's ewes.

The singles resumed with Ricky Hutchinson and Sweep. Ricky sent Sweep to the left and gave him a couple of extra whistles. The sheep split into two and three on the upper half of the fetch but Sweep nudged them back together before the gates. The drives went well, at a steady pace, and by the time they got back to the shedding ring the crowd was hushed, waiting to see how they would fare at-hand. They set to work without any major problems and completed the course.

Ricky Hutchinson and Sweep score 383. Neil McVicar and Mist are on 367.

The English and Scottish teams will be calling upon their reserve members. Gordon Watt has moved to America since the English National and unfortunately, due to health reasons, Scottish captain, John McKillop has had to withdraw. 

The sheep continue to be touchy at-hand. The later afternoon packets seem to be less settled at the pen, but they are still working well around the field. The apparent deaf spots on the first drive don't seem to be causing as many problems this afternoon.

Princess Anne stayed for a few hours and enjoyed watching some of the runs. She spoke to a number of the competitors and met members of the local committee and the National Presidents. She also walked around the trade stands and craft and food marquees.

During a break in the running she presented the Wilkinson Sword to Alistair Mundell. She also presented the trophies to the oldest and youngest competitors, J.R. Griffith, of Wales, and Fraser Shennan, of Scotland.

Derek Scrimgeour and Fleece went to the top of the leader board with the penultimate run of the day. Last to run was Michale Gallagher and Flo who completed the course on a score of 360.

At the end of day one Derek Scrimgeour was in the lead with Fleece on 390 points. Ricky Hutchinson was in second on 383, and Neil McVicar third on 367. Michale Gallagher and Flo were in fourth placew with Thomas Longton and Maya in fifth.

The day one brace scores were:

Stephen Martin, Rob & Lexie, 357;

Glyn Jones, Cap & Zak, 250;

Val Powell, Mint & Cully, 226.


Angus Jardine's Elsie was first to run in this year's International. PICTURE: Lisa Soar

James McGee's Seth (Sid). PICTURE: Lisa Soar

Princess Anne presented the Wilkinson Sword to Alistair Mundell. PICTURE: Lisa Soar

Mosse Magnusson's Myllin Davey. PICTURE: Lisa Soar

The Princess Royal met a number of competitors and members of the local committee as well as the National Presidents. PICTURE: Lisa Soar

Pupils from Johnstone Bridge primary school enjoyed their day out at the trials day today. PICTURE: Lisa Soar

Thomas Longton talks through his run with Princess Anne during her visit to the trials. PICTURE: Lisa Soar