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The Game Fair Hatfield House 2019 by Denise Barstow

We arrived on a scorching Thursday to set up camp. Many of us arrived with cool mats, paddling pools and gazebos in order to keep the dogs cool. As the day went on the Gun Dog Camp Site filled up with tents and caravans and an amazing variety of gundogs. The longest queue was at the water tap. Once the Working Clumber Spaniel contingent was complete, we ate a meal supplied by one of our members and settled down in the cooling evening to enjoy each other’s company and to receive our rotas for the following three days from Debbie Zurich.

Many of us were woken during the night by the thunderstorm and the rain continued for most of Friday, filling up our paddling pools and making the roads and paths very muddy. Although the rain and mud were not welcome, the cooler temperature definitely was! We shared a breakfast of bacon and egg rolls and then members who were on the first shift left the camp to start their duties.

Debbie had organised the helpers into two groups. One group helped to run a Scurry and the other group took part in the demonstrations and to meet and greet in the Working Gundog Pavilion.

Those of us in the Scurry team were in groups of three; one to organise the bookings and take the money, one to start and time the dogs and one to place and throw the dummies. We were provided with water and could access the Gundog refreshment tent for hot drinks and cake. Helping to run the Scurry was great fun, you meet a variety of dog people, from serious Scurry competitors to those who just wanted to enter their dog for fun.

The demo team had two demonstrations a day. The first was at 10.30 in the Working Dog Ring where Neil Varney set up a mock drive, where the spaniels hunted up and sat when the starting pistols were shot and dummies thrown, the retrievers then retrieved the dummies and as a treat for sitting still whilst this was happening the Spaniels were then allowed a retrieve. The second demo was the Working Clumber Spaniel Demonstration in the Working Dog Arena at 11.30. This demonstration began with two young Clumbers and progressed to show the working ability of the Working Clumber, their steadiness and their hunting and retrieving ability. They also demonstrated that the Working Clumber can no longer be called slow! The team were also represented at 1.30 in the main arena on the Friday where Neil Varney organised another mock drive.

The owners and their dogs also took their turn in meeting and greeting the public in the Working Dog Pavilion. This is a great opportunity to meet old friends and make new ones. There was a large amount of interest in the breed and many of us recalled that it was at various Game Fairs that our own interest in the Working Clumber began.

The weather throughout the weekend was wet and dull but that did not stop us having fun. Various members provided us with meals over the weekend from a cooked breakfast to dinners that included pies, paella, curry and on the Saturday night we were invited to join Steve Smith and his Scurry and International Team for a few drinks and a hog roast.

By Denise Barstow

Photos by Various members, Denise Barstow, Sarah Watters-Carver, Mel Winters

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