I really do appreciate how fortunate I am to do what I do. The final day of this year’s International was the best day’s filming I’ve ever had. We’ve been filming Farpaisean Chon Chaorach for 5 years now and, before yesterday, hadn’t had a Scottish winner of the Supreme. We’ve had Kevin Evans, Richard Millichap and Butch Jones for Wales, along with Micheal Gallacher of Ireland, but yesterday topped it off for me, with Ian Brownlie winning for Scotland. We’ve known Ian since series one, I don’t remember the first trial we met him at but I was filming at his house back in 2008 and he’s one of the handlers that has become a real friend of the show over the years – so it was fantastic to see him lift the James A Reid Shield! (and a dozen other trophies!)
Before this series, Ian had never won in front of our cameras but he broke his duck at the trial he hosted himself in what will be episode 1 of this series, then went on to win the Scottish National, Captain Scotland to victory in the team event at the International and top it all by finishing with the Supreme!
I watched his run in qualifying on Friday and in the Supreme on Saturday with his wife, Nicola. She was so nervous – especially during the run in the Supreme. I think we all were though! Here she is with Ian and the trophies – and Gus of course, it wouldn’t have happened without him!
I’ve had a feeling all week that Ian was going to win – and was telling anyone that was prepared to listen. “he doesn’t have the dog”, “you’re mad”, “you’re the only Scotsman that thinks that” were what some of the Irish boys staying in the same hotel as us thought of that, so I had great pleasure in pointing out to them that I was right after all!
Anyway, there was more to it than the winning. I love going to the big trials as we’ve made good friends with so many handlers over the years and it’s great to get the chance to see them all at the same time, especially seeing as they’re a wee bit more relaxed since it’s over 3 days – and even more so when they have a wee drink! Here are some of the Scottish contingent – although I am in no way inferring they would take a drink! 🙂
Lots of things made this a memorable International for me. I had a wee chat with Dai Jones, a very well known tv figure in Wales, particularly when it comes to rural affairs. He says he’s a big fan of our programme and watches all the time!
Having a chat with Princess Anne was also quite a big deal!
I think the highlight for me though was getting to hold an Olympic Gold Medal! Won by Geraint Thomas in the Cycling Team Pursuit, it was the last thing I expected to see doing the rounds at a sheepdog trial! The medal was there because Geraint’s girlfriend’s father, Eifion, was looking after it
and was the one ferrying our cameramen around during the 3 days. Niall, one of our cameramen was chatting with him and said he had to bring it out to us! Here I am with Eifion.
And here I am with the medal!
But it was all about the sheepdogs and it was a great day for Scotland. Here are the Scottish prizewinners, Tony Welsh (top scoring shepherd), Euan MacKinnon (won qualifying and think he was 4th overall), Ian Brownlie and 17 year old Fraser Shennon, 3rd in the Supreme despite it being his first time in the Scotland team! A great few days, a highly enjoyable series and a fantastic bunch of people to work with – crew and sheepdog folk.