150 dogs and handlers prepare to battle for an England team place
The scene is set for the Devon Country Fayre & English National Sheep Dog Trials, which is being staged at Castle Hill Estate, near South Molton on July 19-21.
A total of 150 dogs and their handlers from all over the country will take part in the trials run by the International Sheep Dog Society (ISDS) on their return to the county after four years.
The South West competitors include successful trialists Jed Watson from Dartmoor, John Carter from Cornwall and Kim Dart from North Devon, who will have to pit their wits and handling skills against Romney cross ewes and a challenging course.
David Kennard from the ISDS and a North Devon sheep farmer said: "The course at Castle Hill is a tough one with a 500 yard out run for the dogs, plenty of undulations and dead ground where the dogs can easily lose their way. But a tough course will bring the best to the fore."
At the end of the trials there will be a new national champion and national team which will compete in the International Trials in September. The top five pointed dogs on each day will go forward to make up the team, while the winning run from each day will compete on the Sunday evening in a run-off to become national champion.