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Sheep dog trials at Dovedale prove popular

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: September 01, 2014

  • George Bonsall of Stafford rounds up the sheep with the help of his dog Tommy.

  • Katy Cropper with her dog Tsavo.

  • Martha Gilman of Macclesfield with her dog Tuc.

  • One of the sheep dogs in action

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TWO days of sheepdog trials in the picturesque surroundings of Ilam and Blore have once again proven popular with visitors.

Organisers said they were pleased with the turnout of spectators this year, despite disappointment at the number of dogs running being down over previous years.

The event, on Tuesday and Wednesday last week at Blore Pastures, saw fewer competitors than usual, which organisers say may have been partly down to the competition being staged close to the English National Trials on August 15, 16 and 17 in Gloucestershire.

Although numbers were down, there was still plenty to see and the growing number of spectators this year had more than ever on offer to occupy them alongside the running of the dogs.

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Drawing in the crowds this year was the presence of a well-known face in the trialling world, Katy Cropper, who was invited to judge the competition this year. Ms Cropper is the only female winner of BBC's One Man and His Dog competition and is nationally-renowned as a sheepdog trainer and judge and she travelled down to the event from her farm in Cumbria to watch over the proceedings.

Chairman of the trials Bill Carr said: "We are a bit disappointed with the number of dogs that were running, but in general everything went very well. The number of people that attended was very much up on previous years, and although the number of dogs finished off down a little the people that came to see it had a good couple of days. Katy Cropper said she really enjoyed it and even picked up an entry form so she can take part herself next year.

"Generally, everything is going well for the trials. We've got a few things to tweak here and there and we are already thinking of what we've got to do next year to make it even better."

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