A CALL is being made for vocal home support when Scotland take on the cream of British and Irish junior hill running in the Borders this weekend.

The tough slopes of Cademuir Hill, on the south side of Peebles, play host on Saturday to the Home Countries International for Under-17 and Under-20 teams from Scotland, England, Ireland, Northern Ireland and Wales competing for the City of Edinburgh Trophy.

Each team comprises four runners in each of the four races which also incorporate the British and Irish Junior Mountain Running Championships, and are open for non-international runners to enter on the day.

Scotland Team Manager Jane Robertson said: “We can hopefully maximise our home advantage in trying to wrestle back the City of Edinburgh Trophy which England narrowly won last year.

"It has helped that, thanks to the local club Moorfoot Runners, we were able to hold our selection races over the same course in August.

"The testing course is very spectator friendly with great views over the Border hills so we hope the locals will come out in force to support our young Scottish Internationalists.

"We want to see the Saltire being waved across Cademuir Hill with lots of vocal support on Saturday as they battle against the best of the rest of Britain and Ireland.”

Gala Harrier Yousuf Khursheed ran well for third place in the U17 Scotland selection race to secure his first Scotland vest and joins ex-clubmate Gavin Bryson, from Lauder, but now running for Edinburgh AC, who returned to form to win the U20 selection race.

Gavin has already raced in this event three times, his best finish being 4th in 2014, and he represented Great Britain U20 in the European Mountain Running Championships last year.

He will be facing a very strong England team containing three of this year’s crop of GB juniors – Joe Dugdale, Chris Richards and Nathan Smith.

A relative novice on the hills, Lauren Dickson is from just up the road in Lasswade and was a convincing winner of the women’s U20 selection race.

She is joined in a strong looking Scotland team by Scottish U20 hill running champion Anisha Badial (Aberdeen), GB internationalist Laura Stark (Kilbarchan), who won the U17 race in this event in 2015, and last year’s U17 race winner Grace Whelan (Moray Roadrunners). But the England team contains two of this year’s GB U20 team in Scarlet Dale and Helen Thornhill so a close contest in the team race can be expected.

In what must be a first, two sets of twins – the McCheynes and the McKennas – make up the Scotland U17 Women’s team.

Scotland last won the overall trophy in 2010 in Ireland when Moorfoot Runner Scout Adkin from Peebles, who trained on the Cademuir routes, was victorious.

Another former participant in this event for Scotland is Euan Jardine from Galashiels, now Councillor Jardine and Scottish Borders Council executive member for culture and sport, who finished just outside the medals in 4th in 2000.

Councillor Jardine was a regular Scotland hill running internationalist in his day, racing in two World Championships as a junior and two as a senior.

He said: "The Junior Home International is a really important event in the British hill running calendar. It is an event I competed in as a junior athlete and I have very fond memories of the occasion.

"It has also been an important catalyst in the career of many Olympic athletes, including Jonathan and Alastair Brownlee. For the Scottish Borders to host such a prestigious athletics international is fantastic for the area. I have been in touch with the local organisers and am sure that they are going to deliver an event showcasing the Borders and Peebles that will live long in the memories of all those involved.”

Event organiser Mike Pearson said: “We are very fortunate to have courses on Cademuir which are excellent for both the runners and spectators.

"My fellow race organiser Gregor Nicholson and I, and also Scottish Athletics, are very grateful to the landowners Cademuir Farm and the Wemyss and March Estate, for allowing the event to take place.

"Thanks too to Peebles High School which is our race HQ.

"The four races all start at the lower end of the Morning Hill field and apart from the first race for under-17 women, they climb to the main summit of Cademuir.

"In fact the final race for under-20 men does so twice. There is a fast and potentially dramatic final descent to the finish near the top end of the Morning Hill field, so plenty of thrilling action to take in.”