Competitive sheepdog trials back on our screens

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Sheepdogs, the ever-popular BBC ALBA series, returns this January and once again delves into the highly competitive world of national, international and world sheepdog trials across the UK and Ireland.

Across six parts, Donald MacSween and Catriona MacPhee travel to present the very best action from the trialling scene.

In programmes one to three, Donald and Catriona visit the Scottish National Trials held at Conan Bridge.

The trials took place over three days in July 2015, with some outstanding runs and results from very skilled dogs and their owners despite often windy and rainy conditions.

Among those featured in the first three programmes are 2015 World Champion Michael Shearer and his dog, Roy, current Scottish President Ewen MacKinnon on the post with his dog Midge as well as two debutants at the national trials, 15 year old Mure Grant with his dog Fred, and 13 year old Joe McKenzie, who is running Tweedie.

The Scottish National Trials generate huge interest and speculation with the team that will go on to represent Scotland in the season’s major event, the international championships, to be selected.

Episodes four to six come from those International Trials, this year held in Scotland on a 146 acre field at Meikleholm, Courance, near Moffat.

As well as the best action from across the three days of competition, which was held in September, Donald, Catriona and reporter Evelyn Coull spend time getting to know each of the teams from Scotland, England, Wales and Ireland as well as Evelyn visiting the University of Swansea to meet Dr Andrew King, a bioscientist who has researched the science of sheep herding. His findings will be revealed!

The final programme of the series takes us the climax of the international competition: the Supreme Championship.

The conditions though on this final day are challenging with heavy rain making it difficult for the dogs to hear commands across the vast course.

Sheepdogs will be broadcast on the BBC ALBA on consecutive weeks from Tuesday 5th January at 9.00 until 10.00pm.

Each programme will be repeated on the channel (Sundays at 9.00pm), with all programmes also available on BBC iPlayer for 30 days following first transmission.