Abbey Venue for 2018 English National Sheepdog Trials

Some 150 of the country’s top sheepdogs and their handlers will meet at Jervaulx Abbey near Ripon in North Yorkshire this summer, to compete in the 2018 English National Sheepdog Trial.

The event, which is part of the International Sheepdog Society’s (ISDS) annual trials series, will take place on 27-29 July. It is being organised by the local ISDS branch, the Northern Sheepdog Association.

Brian Bell with Moss

Brian Bell with Moss

The three-day English National is one of the most important events in the ISDS annual calendar. Each day is judged separately, with the three winners qualifying for the run-off on the final day. The competitor with the overall highest point score, as well as those with the top five scores on each day, will go on to take part in the International Trial, which in 2018 will be held in Ireland. In addition, the English National will host a brace championship, in which two dogs will be run as a team.

The Trial is expected to attract several thousand spectators, who will appreciate the picturesque setting of Jervaulx; the country’s largest privately-owned Cistercian Abbey. While the Trial will be the main focus, there will also be a bar and catering facilities, as well as a craft marquee and trade stands. The Jervaulx Abbey Ruins and the camp site, tearoom and visitor centre will be open throughout the day.

The event will be hosted by Jervaulx Abbey owners, the Burdon family, with the sheep for testing the dogs’ ability being provided by Granville Fairburn and his son, Paul, of nearby Marriforth Farm. The Fairburns are renowned for the high quality of their livestock, particularly their pedigree Bluefaced Leicester flock, and will be supplying a group of Texel cross Mule shearlings for the competition.

While the English National Sheepdog Trial is run under the auspices of the International Sheepdog Society, the Northern Sheepdog Association (NSA), which includes members from Yorkshire and Cumbria, will be responsible for the local organisation of the 2018 contest. NSA chairman, Brian Bell, explained that the last time the NSA hosted the English National was in 1982.

“The NSA was founded in 1966 by a group of farmers and shepherds from Durham, Swaledale and Wensleydale and we are very pleased to have the opportunity to host the 2018 English National once again,” said Mr Bell,“ who is based in Hamsterley near Bishop Auckland in County Durham.

“The English National always attracts a large number of trialling enthusiasts, locals and tourists and our Association is currently seeking sponsors for the Trial, as well as offering trade stand space. We would also welcome enquiries from craft stand exhibitors who would like to be involved with this prestigious event.”


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