The population of one of Scotland’s oldest Royal Burghs could almost double over the next four days as the Highland village of Tain prepares to host the country’s first ever World Sheepdog Trials.
From 3-6 September, an estimated 3200 people will visit Fearn Farm to watch 240 competitors from 25 nations herd up to 700 sheep, in the battle to be named top dog.
Part of the Homecoming Scotland 2014 funded events programme, the annual global competition, which is held every three years, is billed as “the Olympics of the sheepdog world”, with competitors coming from all across Europe as well as the USA, Canada, South Africa, New Zealand, Brazil and Japan.
As well as attracting a number of international supporters, the event is also expected to draw visitors from across the country, providing a significant boost to the local economy.
Organised by Scottish members of the International Sheep Dog Society, the event will begin with an Opening Parade and Civic Reception in Tain this evening (2 September). As well as the official contest, which concludes on Saturday, spectators will also be treated to trial demonstrations, vintage farming displays and trade and craft stalls.
The 2014 World Sheepdog Trials in Tain marks the beginning of Highland Homecoming, a two-month celebration of the very best in heritage, culture and sport in North Scotland.
Supported by a Homecoming fund of £170,000, the packed programme of events includes:
Blas Festival (5-13 September)
Highland Military Tattoo (5-7 September)
Inverness Highland Meeting which includes the world’s biggest Highland Games event – the Masters World
Championship (12-14 September)
Camanachd Cup Final, where two of the country’s top Shinty teams battle it out to take home one of
Scotland’s oldest sporting trophies (13 September)
Baxters Loch Ness Marathon & Festival of Running ( 27 -28 September)
Scotland’s biggest Gaelic Cultural Festival – Am Mòd Nàiseanta Rìoghail (The Royal National Mòd), returns to Inverness for the first time since 1997 (10-18 October)
The world-class downhill tracks at Fort William’s Nevis Range, hosted by WEMBO World Solo 24Hr MTB
Championship (11-12 October)
Inverness Street Theatre Festival (16-18 October)
Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland said:
“What is fantastic about Highland Homecoming is that it showcases the very best in Scottish tradition and culture against the breath-taking backdrop of the Scottish Highlands. We look forward to welcoming the world over the next two months and I am sure this packed programme will offer something to suit all tastes.
“2014 has been a unique year for Scottish tourism, we’ve had Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, and later this month we welcome the Ryder Cup to Gleneagles but I guarantee the passion, pride and sportsmanship will be just as enthralling in Tain this week. Events such as the 2014 World Sheepdog Trials, highlight the value of our tourism industry by boosting the local economy, creating jobs and sustaining communities.”
For full details on Highland Homecoming visit: www.homecomingscotland.com/highlandhomecoming