Farmers’ new spin on sheepdog trials
Aberfeldy group hits on idea to mark event date
Aberfeldy Young Farmers hit on a novel way to mark the day that it should have been hosting the annual sheepdog trials.
In secret, the chair of Aberfeldy and District JAC Jillian Kennedy plotted a filmed sheepdog demo with a twist.
A human ‘dog’ and three flighty female ‘sheep’ ran around the ‘One Man and His Dog’-style course.
A real shepherd sent the two-legged dog off to round up the flock, with the high energy action backed up by a convincing sports commentary.
The video ‘Sheepdog trials demonstration with a twist’ entertained Aberfeldy and District JAC members, who normally would have entered their dogs in the annual competition, held in the second weekend of July at Croft Morag just outside the town.
Derek Corbitt, from neighbouring farm Derculich, did a star turn as Del Boy the dog, gamely racing round the course directed by his wife Leanne who is joint secretary of the club.
Sandy Thomson dryly gave his commentary as ‘Del Boy’ raced around the field to Annie’s commands, gathering the ‘sheep’ and chasing them towards a gated pen.
Jillian and her sisters Katrina and Yvonne from Lurgan Farm played the part of the ‘gimmers’ - young inexperienced sheep, traditionally used in the competitive exercise of hill farming skills.
Commentator Sandy described them as “hardy hillstock, bred here on the farm.”
“We had a brilliant time doing the video,” said Jillian. “It was a real laugh and so far it’s had over 5000 views.
“My family farm sheep and cattle and for our local club, the annual sheepdog trials is one of the highlights of the year.
“With everything cancelled this summer and restrictions ruling out real club events until October 1, we have tried keep in touch with our members and I hit on the idea of doing a funny video to mark July 10, the day we should have held our sheepdog trials.
“As many as 65 dogs usually take part and there’s a cash prize for the competition winner.
“Derek and Leanne Corbitt often work with our family as we farm close by and my sister Yvonne sometimes does the odd day with them to help out.
“Last year our honorary club president Sandy did such a good job commentating our old versus young football match, that we asked him to voice the mock round-up for us.
“We didn’t tell anyone what we were planning as with the social distancing restrictions they couldn’t have taken part anyway.
“We got out the equipment we would use for the trials and set it all up in a paddock at our family farm. The video shows the course as it would be done at our trials.
“Derek did very well, it’s not easy running up hill.
“We sheep gave Del Boy an extra puzzle by one of us breaking away from the group and running off just as he was about to get all three gimmers in the pen.
“He didn’t know that was coming. That was just to make it more realistic, honest.
“My mum Jane did the filming with Alex Thomson and we edited it and put it out online.
“I think it gave our members a laugh or two.”
Aberfeldy and District JAC has been keeping up a determined membership recruitment drive and last month was named runner up in SAYFC’s virtual Royal Highland Show in the social organisation’s competition to find the national club of the year.