BORDER collies were put through their paces at the historic Lake District Sheepdog Trials near Kendal.

The event at Hill Farm, Ings, attracted hundreds of people all eager to catch a glimpse of this traditional skill. The trials date back to 1877.

About 40 shepherds and their collies were tasked with herding a group of three sheep around the course, with dogs judged on accuracy and style.

Watching on were Marty Olsen and his wife Anne Dodge, who herd sheep competitively in San Diego, America. Mrs Dodge said: “We love border collies and we love watching sheep herding.”

Mr Olsen said: “You have no idea what the sheep are going to do,” adding that herding involved a “big interaction” between dog, sheep and shepherd.

Competing in the event was Harry Hutchinson and his five year-old border collie, Birdie. Mr Hutchinson, of Bridgehouse Farm, near Ravenstonedale, felt that the heat may have affected things.

“The sheep are a bit awkward, reluctant to move around,” he said.

Also taking part was Brenda Helliwell, with her six year-old border collie Ernie. Miss Helliwell, who trains sheepdogs and handlers in Lancaster, said: “Considering the sheep were not easy today, and it’s quite a difficult course - we did actually manage to get to the pen.”

Visitors were also treated to a number of other competitions, including best looking sheepdog, best looking other breed dog and hound trailing.

Everley Buckley, chairman of the event, spoke of the ever-increasing diversity in sheep herding.

“There’s quite a lot of women nowadays that take part - it used to be a male oriented sport,” he said.

He added: “There’s a lot of younger people as well, which is brilliant to keep it going.”