HRH The Princess Royal visits World Sheep Dog trials
Yesterday (Thursday 4 September) HRH The Princess Royal paid a visit to the international sheep dog society’s World Sheep Dog Trials at Fearn Farm by Tain.
Arriving to the site in the morning she spent 3 hours watching dogs and their handlers in action and meeting many of the competitors from the 24 nations taking part including teams from South Africa and Spain who are competing for the first time.
HRH, who arrived at Fearn Farm by helicopter, was met by Deputy-Lieutenant Mrs Annie Stewart and then escorted by car to the site where she was introduced to Douglas Gordon, Chairman of Fearn Community Council and John, Fiona, James and Janet Scott who are hosting the event on their farm.
The International Sheepdog Society’s (ISDS) Chairman Mr Jim Easton MBE and Chief Executive Judith Sheen then accompanied HRH to view the trials from two of the grandstand sites and meet some of the British and overseas competitors and their dogs.
After lunch HRH visited the craft tent to speak to stall holders before meeting the National Presidents – Con McGarry from Ireland; Alun Jones from Wales; Dick Roper from England and Ewen Mackinnon from Scotland and local event secretary Mary Mackay. She was then introduced to representatives from the sponsors getting the opportunity to talk with representatives from the local community who had worked with the organisers to ensure the success of the event.
HRH then made a presentation to Bess the sheepdog who has won Quality Meat Scotland Best Farm Dog of the Year award and then was presented with a colourful posy from Izzy and Lexie Scott.
After HRH has thanked the organisers for inviting her and said farewell, Chairman Jim Easton MBE said: “Princess Anne was happy mingling with spectators in the sunshine and really enjoyed watching the sheep dogs in action on the fields. It was a great honour for us for show her around and I know the teams from around the world were particularly delighted to chat to her about their experiences working with such skilled dogs. The event here in Fearn is proving to be a great success in a superb location and I am delighted so many people are coming along to enjoy the entertainment and show their support.”
This is the first time the World trials, described by the organisers as the “Olympics of the Sheep dog world” have been held in Scotland and The Highland Council is one of the principal sponsors alongside Homecoming Scotland and Gilpa. Council staff have also been working closely with the organisers to ensure the safety of the setup and running of the event and putting the public entertainment license in place.
In his welcome for the official commemorative brochure, the Convener of The Highland Council ,Councillor Jimmy Gray said: “The Highland Council is very pleased that the 2014 World Sheep Dog Trials have come to the Highlands and wishes to extend a very warm welcome to all the participants and supporters.
“Many of our sheep are held on extensive hill-grazings where the skills of the shepherd and their dog are tested to the upmost. In the past, Highland shepherds and their dogs have been highly sought after in other parts of the globe so it is therefore fitting that the World Sheep Dog Trials have been included in the events for the 2014 Year of Homecoming in Scotland. I wish everyone an enjoyable stay in the Highlands and hope they will return to visit us again soon.”
The World Sheep Dog trials continue today with the finals taking place on Saturday. As well as action on the fields there are lots of other attractions and entertainment for visitors. Further details and information on tickets is available by visiting http://www.worldsheepdogtrials.org/