Who will be this year’s top dog?

A Girvan man is taking part in the most prestigious sheep dog competition in the world which is coming to the south of Scotland on 10-12 September.

Fraser Shennan and his dog Fizz will take part in the International Sheep Dog Trials 2015 will be held at Meikleholm Farm near Moffat.

Thousands of spectators are expected to attend to watch the most highly skilled sheep dogs in the world compete for the title of Supreme International Sheep Dog Trial Champion 2015 – the highest accolade in the International dog trial circuit.

Increasingly regarded as a spectator sport for all ages to enjoy, sheep dog trials take core, traditional shepherding skills and showcase them in a spectacle of tough manoeuvres that test the skills of each competing dog and handler to the limit.

Event Organiser and Chairman of the International Sheep Dog Trials, Fiona McMillan from Moniaive, says Dumfries & Galloway is an ideal host venue for the event.

“Dumfries & Galloway has a long association with sheep farming and the skills demonstrated by these competitors are used regularly to manage flocks. It is more than 35 years since this competition was last in Annandale, and I’m delighted that it has returned this year.”

More than 13,000 visitors attended the 2014 International Sheep Dog Trials which were held in Ireland and were believed to have injected £2.5million into the respective local economy. Organisers are aiming to achieve similar results for Dumfries & Galloway in September, and to help realise this the event has received funding from Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Major Festivals & Events Fund and from EventScotland, a team within VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.

Councillor Colin Smyth, Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Event Champion said: “I’m delighted to see an event of such regard choosing to take place in Dumfries & Galloway. The Trials create a wonderful opportunity for us to let visitors and TV audiences see all that Dumfries & Galloway has to offer.

“This is a sport that plays well to Dumfries & Galloway’s strengths – beautiful scenery, a rich agricultural heritage and a fantastic tradition of appreciating and promoting traditional rural skills and crafts.”

VisitScotland Regional Director Paula McDonald said: “I hope that as many people as possible - from the local community as well as from outwith the region - will come along to Meikleholm for The International Sheep Dog Trials, which promises to be a really entertaining, unmissable event.  

“The Trials are expected to attract thousands of visitors so will not only provide important benefits for businesses here and our local economy, but also offers us a great opportunity to showcase this beautiful region and the wonderful range of things to see and do which Dumfries & Galloway offers.”

The Trials are being kindly hosted by George and Hazel Mair and family whose achievements in UK sheep dog circles are already widely acclaimed. As event treasurer Hazel manages the event’s purse strings while husband George Mair is the current International Trials’ President. Son Andrew Mair, aged 19, is ‘Scotland’s Young Handler’ and as such will be competing to win the International Young Handler Trophy.