The Yorkshire Dales Moorland Group (YDMG) hosted it first ever working gundog test this weekend in a bid to raise funds for an outdoor learning facility for Kettlewell Primary School, a local Dales school which is part of a federation of 4 small primary schools in the dales that are helping to educate the next generation about the beautiful countryside that surrounds them.
Competitors and spectators braved the elements as the inaugural Hector Kirk Moorland Cup was held at Conistone and Grassington Estate near Skipton in North Yorkshire.
Sonya Wiggins, coordinator of the YDMG and wife of the head gamekeeper of Conistone and Grassington Estate, said: “It has been a real pleasure organising the inaugural Hector Kirk Moorland Cup and to see so many friendly faces turn up despite the weather. We have seen some fantastic displays from both dogs and owners in extremely challenging weather conditions and we are thrilled to of raised the money for a very worthwhile cause.”
“The money we have raised will build a ‘Forest Classroom’ for Kettlewell Primary School. I am passionate about educating children about the countryside and this construction will benefit many different groups of children throughout the Dales that will be able to come and use this facility”
The Cup comprised of a 3 man team retriever test and a separate AV open and novice spaniel test with a grand total of 55 dogs enjoying the wet conditions and their owners competing for a wide range of donated prizes. The whole event was kindly sponsored by Dog & Field, a gundog supplies company based in Cambridgeshire, owned by Colin Chalkley who with his team of helpers/staff came along on the day to lend a hand, this is a true reflection of the gundog community and how they are all passionate about supporting educating young children about the countryside.
A sprinkle of flair was added to the day by members of the current England retrieving team taking part such as Dave Latham, John Yarwood and distinguished panellists from across the British Isles judging the competitors.
While the dogs deservedly stole the show, the real aim of the day was to raise money for local education initiatives. The bulk of the money came from the YDMG’s auction of promise where 5 separate grouse shooting estates from within the group offered gundog training days on their moors, along with some other very generous donations from various supporters of the group.
Since its creation, YDMG has been at the forefront of promoting the positive impact that gamekeepers and grouse shooting estates have in the Yorkshire Dales. Alongside the suite of year-round conservation benefits that moorland managed for grouse shooting brings and the economic boost that grouse shooting delivers during the season, the YDMG’s main focus is on education.
With conservation of rural spaces becoming increasingly important, YDMG is rising to the challenge of educating local children about the array of plants and animals found on their doorstep. Initiatives including moor visits, open farm days and fundraisers are planned throughout the year to enable members of the local community to learn more about what it takes to conserve and enhance this precious North Yorkshire landscape.
Results from the day :-
HectorKirk Retriever Challenge Cup
1st – The Three Dogs – Glynn Sykes, David Sidwell and Ralph Thompson
2nd – The Poachers – Phil Goulden, Andy Latham and Dave Latham
3rd – In Dogs, beers we have only had one – Tom Newton, Paul Newton and John Yarwood
AV Spaniel Novice
1st – Damon Ross
2nd – David Jennings
3rd – Richard Kinnon
AV Spaniel Open
1st – David Ross
2nd – Lee Marson
3rd – David Jennings
We also had a trophy made in memory of Jimmy Swindlehurst for the highest scoring dog of the retriever test and that went to Antony Appleton with his dog Mossborough Chub of Applebriar.