Shire’s foremost flyball team

Banchory Bravehearts
Banchory Bravehearts

The Deeside-based flyball team who once held the fastest time in Scotland are competing at the British championships this weekend.

The Banchory Bravehearts were started by Gordon and Yvonne McWilliam around 2007 - the first team in the Aberdeen and Shire area.

“We had a background in dog trials and running classes,” explained Yvonne, “but then we thought we’d try flyball.

“We went to a Dundee club for a bit before we set up in Banchory, because we needed to learn it before we could teach it.”

The Bravehearts won their first flyball competition, and they would go on to record the fastest time in Scotland.

“The thing with flyball is,” said Yvonne, “that you’re only as good as the dogs you’ve got, and only as fast as your most recent time.”

Flyball is a relay race with dogs - they run over hurdles, release a ball by pushing a spring-loaded pad, and race back over the hurdles, changing over for four dogs as fast as possible.

Though collies and collie variations tend to be the most represented in the faster divisions, any breed can play flyball.

Braveheart member Yvonne Laing said: “The British Flyball Association divisons are very inclusive. Slower dogs race against slower dogs and the faster dogs race against the faster, so any breed can play.”

The British Flyball Association has 55 divisions, the Bravehearts are in division nine, and the club’s second team, the Highlanders, are in division 34. The club also field a third team called the Banchory Thistles.