Portree dog blazes a trail in national contest

Blaze and Steve

Blaze and Steve

A border collie from Portree made the final of the recent VisitScotland ‘Ambassadog’ initiative aimed at representing the spirit of Scotland around the world.

While Blaze didn’t win the competition his owner Steve Millar was delighted to make the shortlist of eight dogs.

He said: “At four-and-a-half  ‘Blaze’ has now done about 80 Munros, including some of the Cuillin. He even has his own climbing harness and ropes and will let me abseil him off rockfaces. He goes canoeing with me as well. In 2014, his calendar, via his 9,000 Twitter followers and the 90,000 on Scotland from the Roadside Facebook page, raised over £1,000 for Glencoe Mountain Rescue, and this year, we will be doing the same for Skye MRT.

“Blaze is also rather well known in Portree for doing his tricks for the tourists, usually outside the pubs, and has been ‘adopted’ as the Skye Camanachd mascot.”

The winning dog was ‘George’, a golden retriever from Glasgow, owned by Emma and Victoria Rae. Owners were interviewed on their knowledge of Scotland, social media savvy and interview skills at Prestonfield, Edinburgh, earlier this month.

Mr Millar added: “Maybe we were a tad too rugged in what we do as we tend to veer more towards the extreme types of activity which may only appeal to a small percentage of tourists. In that light, the judges made exactly the correct choice. I must say, though, all the entrants would have been worthy winners and all shared a love and passion for our land.”

The winning dog and owner received a free holiday somewhere in Scotland and the chance to be involved in VisitScotland campaigns for 2016.