So there we were in Inverness, new roof over our heads and then?
As said it was the homecoming and as soon as I found out that there was an app I downloaded it and we went through the options for the weekend. One of the options on standby was the Braemar Gathering as we’d liked it a lot two years ago, however we also felt going again after such a short time was not the best idea for us. We wanted some thing different this year.
One of the options was the world sheepdog trials that had their finals on Saturday. Sheepdog trials are some thing we like watching whenever we catch it on TV. There is something special about people working with their eager dogs to get sheep to do what is wanted. What is see. At the rials is effectively what the farmers and their dogs do ‘in the wild’ just more streamlined and according to rules. Our interest in these trials was further heightened when we found that B&J have one of these dogs and train with it. Anyway as soon as I mentioned it SO was ready to run out of the door. for ages he’s been saying he’d love to see it live and now we had the chance.
It was not very far from Inverness, in Tain. We plugged In the coordinates as given In the app and on we went. After a Tomtom tiki tour
through the back roads around Tain we found the venue. Only to find that for that side the road was closed and that we needed to go around the church to get to the parking area. As soon as we got there it was clear that this was a dog crazy crowd. Many people came with their own dogs and really it had a very good vibe all around.
We did not have grandstand tickets ( sold out) so we had to find a decent enough position near the fence. Most of the time we could see things well and we saw some. Amazing feats and some really stunning things go wrong. One of the dogs really seemed to get lost and could not find his herd. The audience could feel the pain and desperation of the handler. But all in all it was incredibly impressive. at a certain stage SO and I were standing just behind some members of the Belgian team and their running commentary was enlightening and entertaining at the same time. We did not stay there the whole time as it was windy and there was much more to see and do.
There were demonstrations from young handlers, for the ‘normal’ canine training groups and of training dogs using ducks instead of sheep. As we only saw this as they were halfway through I am not sure on what the story was, but the parts we saw were hilarious. One of the dogs was tied down but so eager to help the one I. The ring that he was hopping on his hind legs while digging a hole with his front paws.
There were stalls with outdoor clothing, food stalls and also a Craft tent, with a remarkable number of people from the outer Hebrides. In a lot of cases the craftsmanship was of a remarkable high standard and we loved walking through the tent. SO nearly bought a dog whistle but managed to tear himself way for the stand.
As time went on it got colder and in the end we decided that we’d seen enough and had sighed enough times we wished we had a life which could include a dog. When it started to drizzle we called it a day and we want back to our hotel. We had a good hearty honest meal in the pub/restaurant of a nearby hotel (our hotel did not have such a nice area) based in the Aulde Distillery. It had been a good day.