Rivalry hots up for dog trials

National Sheep Dog Trials
National Sheep Dog Trials

THE English National Sheep Dog Trails come to the district next week, following a 46 year Lancashire haitus.

The event, which is the largest and most prestigious sheep dog trial in the country, takes place in Over Kellet from Thursday August 2 to Saturday August 4.

Tom Huddleston, the event’s local secretary said the rivalry between between the district’s handlers was already hotting up.

“Sheep herding skills are being practiced and stamina levels are being increased so that the dogs can collect sheep a quarter of a mile from the handler, and carefully manoeuvre them around the field.

“We are very proud to be hosting this event, and very excited to be able to show people in our area how wonderful these dogs are and how skilful their handlers are.”

The event is held in a different location each year, with Surrey playing host last year, and Northumberland the year before that.

It was last held in Lancashire 46 years ago and in Cumbria six years.

Mr Huddleston said: “It’s really quite surprising...since Lancashire and Cumbria are the centre of dog trialling in England.

“Around one third of the 150 dogs that will compete over the three days are from these two counties, as were two thirds of the English team that went on to compete against the Welsh, Irish and Scottish at the International competition in last year.”

During the trials, an expert will be on hand to talk visitors through a couple of runs, and answer any questions they have about the dogs.

The competition will finish Saturday early evening when the winners and national team of dogs will receive their awards and recognition for excellence.

The current English champion is Alf Kyme and his dog Sally from Rossendale in east Lancashire, and the event’s local chairman, Ricky Hutchison, who lives in Lancaster, is the current doubles (brace) International champion.

Mr Huddleston added: “I invite everyone to come along, be amazed by the dogs, explore the trade stands, get a bite to eat, you can even get your dog micro chipped.”

The Trials will be held on Swine Cragg Allotment in Kirkby Lonsdale Road, Over Kellet, starting at 7:30am each day.