Day 1

8am: Running starts on time. The course is rising with undulations. A cool wind is blowing across the course. The outrun is shy of the National standard but the right-hand drives are long.

9.30am: Run number eight is currently on the course. So far the sheep appear to be tricky to get them to flow around the course and are taking time to shed. They will pen but time is beating competitors. John MacKillop and Cap have had a completed run but they had to single a second time.

ISN Editor Lisa Soar will be discussing the new-look magazine with members in the ISDS marquee between 10am and 11am.

During the course of the morning it became clear that the sheep were going to be a bit of a battle for dog and man. From the lift they tended to pull down the slope to the right of the fetch gates. Just before the gates there is a bit of a dip in the land where some packets came to a standstill and were difficult to get moving again. 

They would come around the post without too much bother but would set off on the first drive at speed, many packets pulling down towards the pen, going off line.

On the line up the first fetch they could pull to the right. The gates are on a brow and beyond that is a gateway in the middle of the field. Despite being covered the ewes know it is there and tended to be drawn towards it, where again they could become stuck.

The cross drive line is quite tricky to judge, more so perhaps today because the sheep were not flowing. 

At-hand the ewes were touchy and were diffcult to shed, taking up too much valuable time. They would pen with quiet, gentle push, but many were timed up in the single.

Brace competition, day one:

The brace competition kicked off with Ewen Mackinnon running Glenalla Maddie and Midge. Ewen sent both dogs at the same time. The sheep were to the left of the lift post when they arrived at the top of the field, but then pulled down the right hand slope, similar to many of the morning’s singles runs.

The bitches crossed behind their sheep coming down the fetch and they missed the gates. After the gates they pushed them back on line towards the post.

They lost 27 points on the fetch.

After the turn they caught the first drive but Maddie flanked around the sheep when she shouldn’t have and pushed them towards the gateway in the middle of the field.

Once back on track they caught the second drive gates, losing a total of 25 on the drives.

Ewen used Midge to shed, where she lost 8, and at the open pen, losing 3 points. Maddie took over at the second pen where 7 points were dropped to give a total of 197.

Second to run was Hamish MacLean with Roy and Kim.

Kim was sent first, on the left hand side, where she ran out wide. Roy took a more direct route up the field and got behind the sheep first.

They caught the fetch gates but Kim was some distance off the sheep. After the turn Roy pushed them down towards the grandstand.

After the first drive the packet went into the field gateway. They had trouble on the cross drive with the sheep going high and then coming back down the field, but did catch the second gates.

Roy was used to shed with Kim keeping watch at the open pen. At the second pen Roy pushed them in just in time. They had a total score of 185.

Ian McConnell ran Fly and Misk (Cim). Ian retired after the shed when the sheep rejoined the others.

Singles PM:

Running continues in strong, blustery winds this afternoon. The sheep aren't easy and are proving a challenge. The majority of handlers are choosing the right-hand outrun although both sides are an option. 

The weather may be causing some commands to be lost on the wind, but the wind is also causing other problems. At the pen handlers are battling to close the gate against the gusts, and course officials are being kept busy having to go back and fore to close the gate when the rope unravels and the gate blows open.

3.30pm: The wind is dropping slightly and the sheep are becoming more settled.

After some rain which swept in from the west, the sunshine returned to warm up hardy spectators in the chilly evening air.

Because of the impending late finish tonight it was decided to stop the running at run number 45. Trialling will start at 7am tomorrow, starting with run number 46.

Top of today's leader board is Michael MacNally and Finn on 161 points.

Finn was sent on the right-hand outrun, where he lost 3 points. At the ift he lost 4, and dropped 6 on the fetch.

The judges took 13 off the drives, one of the best driving scores of the day. At hand they lost 8 in the shed and 5 at the pen. Despite being timed out in the single they still went to the top of today's running.

All smiles early in the morning as competitors and spectators line the wall to watch the running. PICTURE: Lisa Soar

Michael MacNally and Finn. ALL PICTURES: Lisa Soar

Andy Carnegie and Jess in the ring. They had a completed run and scored 150.

Ewen Mackinnon waits to run first in the brace competition on day one.

Stuart Davidson's Denwyn Harley at the turn.

Bobby Henderson and Tweed at the pen. They had a completed run and scored 152 this afternoon.

Neil Campbell and Gus penning on day one, they scored 157.