With thanks to Rick Paul for the following piece describing events on the 21st July 2019:
"On the third Sunday in July, as ever, aficionados gathered at of Ballogie Estate’s riverside parks to watch the annual Aboyne Sheepdog Trials. The weather was kind to us, and once we had topped up with coffee and bacon rolls we began the trial. Four sheep were released for each dog's trial. The sheep and dogs have never worked together before, adding an extra element of difficulty to the competition. This herding event is a competitive dog sport that dates back to the mid-19th century and the crowd watched intently as the sheepdogs attempted to herd the sheep through obstacles including gates and pens. Unlike some trials in the US, gripping, where the dog gives the sheep a tiny nip or pinch results in instant disqualification, and this year two dogs fell foul of this rule. Rather than shouting instructions over long distances, handlers used whistles to direct their dogs, only using voice commands when the dog was close. “Left” and “right” sound similar , both being one-syllable words so handlers usually use “come by” for the left signal and “away” for the right signal. Contestants were judged on how efficiently and calmly their dogs worked the sheep and how many obstacles the sheep got through in the allotted 10 minutes. Judge Rab Lawson from Pitlochry presided over the 56 dogs competing and a clear winner was Ian Wilkie from Inverurie with 87 points out of 100. Elinore Nillsen of Blairgowrie and Kenny Brehmer from Turriff were second and third. It’s always good to see young handlers at the event and this year we had two novices from Udny, Gary Bruce and Michelle Stephen. Gary just pipped Michelle to win the Novice Collar.At the end, a grand raffle preceded the handing out of prizes and everyone agreed that it was a great event. As always, we are deeply grateful to Ballogie Estate for generously loaning the park and sheep without which we could not continue this fine tradition."