Day 2 - Qualifying

It's another fine morning for the start of the second day of the International. The first runner today is Ewen Mackinnon who has gone to the post with Midge. They are waiting for their sheep to be walked to the lift post.

The sheep are being brought out from the holding pens on the left-hand side of the course, behind an elbow in the field. There are two shepherds holding them at the top with dogs.

Midge went out to the right and stopped a bit short on her outrun. After some nice work around the course Ewen was timed up at the pen.

The early sunshine has been replaced by cloud and a cooler breeze.

Alistair Stewart and Midge have scored 346 this morning at run number 37. Gwyn Lighfoot and Omega Mari scored 333.

The sheep are going around the course well but are still touchy at-hand. They can be a bit flighty at the pen and can't be rushed. A number of runs are being timed up here.

After a good run, James McGee and Glencregg Silver have gone into the lead on 407 points.

The last brace runs are due to start around noon today.

The huge, expansive course is causing some dogs to run out too wide for the qualifiers. In some cases this is wasting a lot of time. Most of the competitors are getting back to the ring in around seven or eight minutes, but if the shed takes time and things start going wrong at the pen, the remaining minutes can soon dwindle.

There is plenty of room for spectators, with five grandstands on site. In the ISDS marquee there are some new products available to buy and the Christmas cards are flying off the shelves. The Society's principal sponsors Gilbertson & Page have a stand here and there are lots of other stands and marquees for visitors to walk around.

Everyone is commenting on the course, and the size of the vast field. There is already high anticipation for tomorrow's Supreme. The weather forecast is not looking good, so there may be a rush for the best seats in the grandstands in the morning.

The last of the brace competitors ran at lunchtime. First to the post was Peter Martin with Jill and Jen. They ran out of time after the first pen but scored 343 points. 

Things didn't go well for John Griffith, who scored 169, and the last two runs, Ricky Hutchinson and Ned O'Keefe, both retired. 

So, this year's brace championship goes to Scotland's Stephen Martin, with his father Peter taking the reserve. 

The sheep have run consistently over the two days. They have been trickiest at the pen, but have needed skillful handling in all the at-hand elements.

The cut-off points for the Supreme was 331. There are four Scots, four English, four Welsh and three Irish who will run in the final.

The winner of the qualifiers was James McGee with last year's International champion, Glencregg Silver, on 407 points.

There are two shepherds through to the Supreme, Alistair Stewart and Ian Brownlie. Kevin Evans is the only competitor who will be running two dogs, Jimmy and the youngest dog in the final, Kemi Ross.

The top 15 qualifiers for tomorrow's Supreme, who will run in catalogue order, are:

1, Run no. 15, Ricky Hutchinson (E), Sweep, 383;

2, Run no. 17, Neil McVicar (S), Mist, 367;

3, Run no. 8, Thomas Longton (E), Maya, 349;

4, Run no. 12, James McCloskey (I), Kim, 338;

5, Run no. 11, Kevin Evans (W), Jimmy, 338;

6, Run no. 10, Ian Brownlie (S), Mo, 344;

7, Run no. 31, Derek Scrimgeour (E), Fleece, 390;

8, Run no. 32, Michael Gallagher (I), Flo, 360;

9, Run no. 34, Gwyn Lightfoot (W), Omega Mari, 333;

10, Run no. 37, Alistair Stewart (S), Midge, 346;

11, Run no. 40, James McGee (I), Glencregg Silver, 407;

12, Run no. 45, Michael Shearer (S), Jim, 331;

13, Run no. 50, Kevin Evans (W), Kemi Ross, 355;

14, Run no. 55, Mark Elliott (E), Pat, 380;

15, Run no. 58, Aled Owen (W), Llangwm Cap, 336.

Ewen Mackinnon and Midge were first on the field this morning. PICTURE: Lisa Soar

Gwyn Lightfoot and Omega Mari scored 333 points to qualify for the Supreme. PICTURE: Lisa Soar

Course director Richard Armour, and assistant director, George Gardiner. PICTURE: Lisa Soar

Winners of the qualifiers, James McGee and Glencregg Silver. PICTURE: Lisa Soar

A view of the course, taken from the top of the field. PICTURE: Lisa Soar

Kevin Evans has qualified for the Supreme with Kemi Ross, above, and Jimmy. PICTURE: Lisa Soar

Dick Roper's Spot at the end of his run. PICTURE: Lisa Soar