2007/2008 Working Season 

Enstone, 11th November 2007

36 hounds and 44 people made a staggering turnout at the long delayed opening met of the season held at Oat Hill farm. Parking was easy, at the end of the concrete track around the barns. The beagles were very excited as they got out of the cars (with much bugling) and were squeezed into their gaily coloured hunting jackets as their owners pulled on wellies and walking boots.

We started on a stubble field by the farmhouse.  Since it was such a long time since the 2007 Trials, Fieldmaster Dave McSheehy had the 8 working certificate holders run first as a discrete group and very well they ran indeed, demonstrating why they were the proud holders of the coveted working certificates. Though no longer speedy, Haylock’s Enchace Yokel, worked steadily and consistently throughout. The new workers – Fernie’s Suki (Kybo Touchy), Forbes’ Buster (Kentoast Napoleon) and Richmond’s Swagger (Redcap Cardinal Punch) – proved themselves worthy of leading off in this group. 

Once they returned, the whole field lined up; Away went the workers on the first whistle pursued (at second whistle) by the novices who had been straining at the leads and were raring to go.  So much so that they swept the legs out from under one of the worker-handlers who ended face down in the mud.  Some of the first timers were frankly bemused by the whole experience - both hounds and owners – with a few hounds only going a few yards before they ran back to “Mum”.

Up round the back of the barns led by the farmer/owner who came round with us and on to a series of interlinked grassed fields.  Down to the serious business of the day.  We stopped at this point to hold the two minute silence for Remembrance Sunday which was observed in the breach by a couple of dog hounds whose owners had to hold them round the muzzle.  Whilst remembering those who gave their lives in war I, for one, thought of the beagle packs who went out to Flanders in 1914 with the cavalry regiments…….

This is a super venue with an abundance of good fields.  Very easy to walk round.  Viewing more difficult since several fields had a dip in the middle and hounds were prone to disappear over the brow of the hill then reappear after what seemed a considerable number of minutes!  None ran off and, apart from one little group taking off into the hedgerow, all came back reliably to their owners – many having completed the whole drag, others having held a “mother’s” meeting and a few just having frolicked in the middle.

On balance, Trigger’s group performed more reliably than Yokel’s but it was noticeable that the hounds that ran on the fresh scent did better than the group that ran second on the line.  Forbes’ Filly (Kentoast Filbert) worked well and showed leadership, bringing in one group with the lead workers.  Gemark Dr Jekyll started off strongly then lost the plot and decided to play with his companion bitch.  Amongst the newcomers out for the first time today Stannard’s Angel (Redcap Angel's Kiss for Barterhound) and Leighton’s Dilys (Stormpasture Chocodot in Dolliesgang) had certainly worked out what the beagle nose is designed to do and showed great promise.  Ambridge’s Amber (Cliffmere Iris) had great fun chasing and shaking the lure during an idle moment and seemed very keen.

The end of the drag was somewhat marred by one of the new hounds having a fit in the farmyard but he recovered well and the owners informed me their vet does not feel he has suffered any lasting ill effects.

Many of us then went to the pub in the nearby village.  We rather “swamped” the restaurant and bar.  Lunch was OK but took an awful long time coming and it was a shame about the cold plates.  However, a good time was had by all and I hope that many of you will be out at Greens Norton on 25th January.

Theresa M Chapman - Working Section Secretary - 16th November 2007

Greens Norton 25th November 2007

This farm to the north of Greens Norton is a bleak and windy location with the great barn dominating the yard.  The yard filled up with the people and hounds – 34 of each – as we milled around awaiting the arrival of the farm stockman with the quad bike.

The first fields were all stubble and quite exposed.  Very heavy clay clinging to paws and wellingtons.  The Fieldmaster again let the working certificate holders run first, and solo, the n let the rest of the field off to follow.  Thereafter we ran in two groups: Group A led by Forbes’ Buster (Kentoast Napoleon) and Group B led by Fernie’s Sukie (Kybo Touchy).  At the risk of sounding like a fashion writer I have to say that Sukie was pretty in a bright new pink coat and everybody was easily able to identify her from the other hounds.  Fortunately, both she and Buster (newly qualified workers) made a creditable job of leading their groups.

 The wind was so strong that the scent was being blown every which way and we found that all the beagles were somewhat erratic on these fields with the first group to try the scent consistently performing better than the second group to run.  Matters improved once we got into the lee of the hill and some accurate lines were run.

There was quite a bit of movement between the groups as several owners wished to try their beagles together – to improve the behaviour of the less energetic or skilled

Last week’s novices – Ambridge’s Amber (Cliffmere Iris) and Leighton’s Dilys (Stormpasture Chocodot in Dolliesgang) – worked well with Amber trying to steal the lure out of the Fieldmaster’s rucksack every time he put it down!  They were being challenged, however, by another novice – Bather’s Fern – who showed great promise.  If these three young hounds continue at such a pace then it is going to be extremely competitive at the Trials to determine the Best Novice and the Best Newcomer!

Some old faithfuls were back this week and added strength and substance to the pack: Kimber’s veteran Coachbarn Clover (who unfortunately retired early with a limp); Kingham’s Nelson (reliable and steady) and the Burwood’s Rowley and Radley.  Flashy Radley in his orange coat was back to his old tricks of running each line twice and once managed to disappear into the only stand of woods on the whole site.  Fortunately he kept off the manicured lawn the woods backed onto and the search party recovered him speedily

Overall the beagles worked well in trying conditions.  As one beagler summed it up at the end of the day: “I spent the evening picking enormous lumps of clay from between my beagle’s toes and burrs from my daughter’s hair”.

I would like to thank Ian Bidey, Tracey Fernie and John Reymond whose excellent photos of the day – including a group shot of all those present – will grace the Beagle Club website at www.thebeagleclub.org  under working section.

Theresa M Chapman

Lewknor, 2nd December 2007 - Write Up by the Fieldmaster (the official version!)

Once again an excellent turnout.  It is really pleasing to see the Working Section go from strength to strength after such an uncertain and delayed start to the season.  Everybody seemed to enjoy the day but there seemed to be very little improvement in the ability of the hounds to work the line.

This was a new venue with flat ground and good visibility. The fields were grass and kale and were nowhere near as heavy as the previous drag. The weather started with light drizzle and strong winds which blew the scent across the field by at least 10 metres. It deteriorated gradually until the 6th line when hailstones stopped play and the Field Master called it off.

On the first line with just the workers let off, all worked well, but when all hounds were let off, a large number of the less experienced hounds just gambolled about.   The usual experienced hounds worked well, including Radley (Leeshir Dynamic) who went off on several private expeditions! It was good to see Annavah Darla  back again after a long break.

Our veteran Enchace Yokel did sterling work always returning on the line. The Leighton's Dilys (Stormpasture Chocodot in Dolliesgang) and Ambridge's Amber (Cliffmere Iris) in their first season continue to show promise.

Many of the novices ran well at the start, but did not seem to realize that they should follow the line, and returned instead to their owners.  It is very difficult to have effective teaching with such large groups of novices and only a few workers. Much smaller groups are needed to enable the novices to learn from the experienced hounds and not be distracted.

Blewbury 16th December 2007

We were blessed with glorious weather at Blewbury.  Crisp, sunny and chilly.  It is quite a trek up the bumpy track onto the Downs but 27 beagles and 32 people arrived and coated up.  The Field Master had decided that today was to be run as a learning session and as a “half term” assessment of progress.  The beagles were divided into six groups, two comprised totally of working certificate holders, one solely of this year’s newcomers and three of the experienced but novice hounds from previous seasons.

The rotations were arranged after the first field so that one group of workers ran with a similar sized group of “followers”.  Two lines were run on each field.  Interestingly the workers in group B Buster, Ducat, Swagger & Yokel showed stronger leadership than those in group A (Ardent, Clover & Sukie).  Ducat worked well on her first outing this season and Yokel was reliable as always.  Sukie, pretty in pink, was clearly a leader of hounds as many beagles followed her faithfully.  Sadly she ran two fields on the heel line (in reverse), with her followers in pursuit.   The overall star of the day was a newcomer, Indy, who ran nearly every line accurately.  Also performing well were Filly and Pocket.

The most noteworthy lines of the day occurred towards the end.  On one, groups A & E (Ardent & Nubie) diverted alongside the fence line for ages, all snuffling around and trying to push through.  Owners had to walk along the adjacent field to retrieve the worst offenders.  On the next field, the line was laid up a slight incline to the brow of the hill and then curved back towards the handlers.  James Lehain is to be congratulated at the speed with which he ran it!  Please run more lines next time, James.  The first groups to run (A, C and D) cut the corner and came back rather slowly and in dribs and drabs.  The second half set off really fast and tightly bunched and the handlers of the hounds in groups B, E & F watched proudly as the pack stormed up the hill, over the top and then ……………… nothing!  They simply did not come back.  After a while two or three returned but we had to go searching for the remaining 11 who were found down the far side of the slope emerging from the trees just as a hare, maddened by the scent of beagle, made a bolt from the plough into the trees.

On the last field the workers were not allowed to run and the novices went it alone.  Perhaps it was the heady rush of all being together and a determination to outperform the worker / teacher hounds but it was the best line many of them had run all day and a joy to watch them sweep around the field.

It is time to book for the drag at Middleton, Suffolk on 6th January.  Meet up at the Bell Inn, from noon and move off to Yew Tree farm at 13.00h.  Please book lunch directly with the pub 01728 648286.  Number of people and hounds please to me by the previous Wednesday (01249 890379 or theresa.chapman@donkagen.co.uk).  Neill and Mary Hannon are hosting a tea after the meet.  Please bring contributions for the table and phone Mary on 01728 648491 to say what they will be bringing.

Other dates are 13th January, Mitcheldean; 27th January Flamstead / Gaddesden Row; 4th Feb near Buckingham; 17th Feb Greens Norton.

Mitcheldean 6th January 2008 Photo's

Gaddesden Row 27th January 2008

The meet at Mitcheldean was cancelled due to flooding of roads in the area but I hope, with Peter and Barbara Roderick’s help, to reschedule this meet for earlier in the 2008/09 season.

There was a good turn out at Gaddesden Row, a venue provided by the South Hertfordshire beagles: 34 people and 28 hounds all eager to perform on a mild and sunny day.  Beagles, being beagles had other ideas.  The long “holiday” (with many not having been out since mid December) left them full of the joys of spring, eager to rush around but many ignoring the scent of aniseed.  Fortunately the majority also kept out of the woodland and the water jump on the cross country course. 

The undoubted first prize for power pong of the day goes to Amber (Cliffmere Iris) who found something delicious to roll in (fox?) and then proved more attractive than the lure to certain easily distracted hounds!

John Reymond introduced us to an electric radio controlled cart with big dumper style wheels and a little flag which he used to lay the line on several fields.  Many beagles were fascinated by this, stood up on hind legs like a row of meerkats and were avid to chase.  Alas, modern technology ran out of battery power and had to be returned to the car park.  In the confusion the drag lure was left behind and, despite a field full of beagles being trained to sniff out aniseed, proved quite difficult to find.

Still nobody strayed, all returned safely and a select few demonstrably worked. Admiral Lord Nelson has returned to form (apart from a tendency to cut corners) and newcomer Indy (Rossut Inkling) continues to turn in sterling work and is showing great promise.

Forthcoming dates are 17th Feb Greens Norton; 24th February Working Section Trials; 2 March near Tunbridge Wells arranged by Sally Kimber and John Reymond

Lenborough 3rd February 2008

The forecast was heavy rain or snow and strong winds but the former held off and, although we shivered in the crisp wind, we stayed dry.  The Working Section met at Lenborough, near Buckingham, a new venue courtesy of Stowe College beagles.  Stowe College did us proud – not only did the kennel huntsman turn out with nine students who were a credit to the college and provided line laying and whipping in services but the venue itself was beautiful pasture with undulating hillocks.

The Stowe student who laid the first line overestimated the stamina of our beagles – we thought he would never come back!  Once they were released the 22 beagles streamed off in pursuit of aniseed but the pack split and the lazy, crafty or less competent made their way back whilst Nelson, giving tongue, and (Enchace) Yokel doggedly followed the whole trail.

The Fieldmaster started and ended the meet with all hounds running together but split the pack in two over the six interim fields.  Certain hounds stood out and were swiftly identified by the Stowe kennel huntsman.  He offered Nelson a “job” (despite an unfortunate tendency to run the heel line!) and noted as top bitch on this day Sukie (Kybo Touchy) pretty in pink with her admiring string of male followers.  Spencer (Rossut Argonaut) and Gemark High Dudgeon (the latter out for the first time today) followed Sukie (or the aniseed?) slavishly to start with but had insufficient concentration to manage all 8 lines properly.  Indy (Rossut Inkling), Buster (Kentoast Napoleon) and Nubie (Nictoney Octavious) worked well all day with Indy being the most reliable and accurate hound completing one or two lines on his own when everyone else in his group had fallen by the wayside or got diverted into an alluring copse by fox scent.  The Stowe boys were swift to roust them out.

The beagles worked well today.  It was a picture to see several running, turning and weaving as pack.  Hoy (Machovas Hoyden), Filly (Kentoast Filbert) and Pickle (Machovas Pick a Lily) stormed round together with newcomers Dilys (Stormpasture Chocodot in Dolliesgang) and Fern Bather (n.a.f.) turning in some good fields.  As ever, some hounds are out to frolic and socialise but the overall impression left with Stowe College was of some promising beagles who were serious about trailing aniseed.

Forthcoming dates are 17th Feb Greens Norton; 24th February Working Section Trials; 2 March near Tunbridge Wells arranged by Sally Kimber and John Reymond

Greens Norton 17th February 2008

We met at the farm on a cold and crisp day and were pleased to find the stockman and quad bike waiting for us to lay the lines.  This is one of our favoured venues with a mix of terrain – pasture, stubble, kale – not forgetting the “famous” trout lake, the length of which Nedlaw Troubadour swam a couple of years ago rather than run round after the aniseed.

To start with the 19 beagles ran erratically and kept missing the line.  Fieldmaster, Dave McSheehy topped up the aniseed and, by about 11.30h as the ground warmed up, the beagles got the idea and started to work well.  It was good to see the Goulding’s Enchace boys back out and both worked the line well

One field sticks in my mind in particular.  For some reason the pack split from the start with half (led by Nelson) running clockwise on the heel line and half (led by Trigger (at Sunrise) and Leeshir Dickens (Rowley)) running anti-clockwise following the trail correctly.  Come the middle and the two groups met head on. The majority turned to follow Nelson and only a few completed the anti clockwise line correctly.  Machavos Hooligan burst out of the pack with a large shin bone in his mouth and was pursued by some greedy beagles into the next field.  Gemark Dr Jekyll decided it was absolutely essential to lead a little group through the brambles for a paddle in the drainage ditch.  Enchace Yokel had slowed down by now after his bravery in christening a bird scarer which, fortunately for him, did not blast off in mid stream.

A good day all in all and if the weather is kind next Sunday (slightly damp and not much wind so the scent will hold) the hounds could turn in a good performance for our visiting judges at the Trials.

Remember the invitation meet for the southern members on 2 March near Tunbridge Wells arranged by Sally Kimber and John Reymond which will wind up the season.

Chainhurst 2nd March 2008

On a crisp, overcast day a small group of dedicated Beaglers met up at The  Woolpack Inn, a small but welcoming Kentish Pub, for this coda to our season.  On schedule we set off down ever narrowing lanes to the derelict Hoppers' huts  on Reed Court Farm, a new venue provided courtesy of the Bolebroke

Beagles. The few stragglers who had been caught up in London traffic soon joined  us, thanking their SatNavs for guiding them to a dot on the map.

By one o'clock we were ready for the off, but not before enjoying a warming port and nibbles supplied in the tradition of the Bolebroke by Sally.

This venue is arable land alongside the River Beult, a tributary of the  Medway. The drags commenced with four good long lines laid without complications  to get the hounds back into working.   As always it took time for them to settle,  with curiously several who shone at the finals taking the longest to settle  (perhaps they thought the season was over!). To the amusement of all, except Jill Ambridge, Amber managed to kill the drag at least twice and needed plenty  of encouragement to give up her prey!

Lines five and six moved onto land alongside the river and with its  meanderings and the bits of coppice gave the opportunity for a couple of complex lines  laid by Kore and John to really test the hounds. Kore disappeared down onto  the river terrace and John having hidden in a hollow until the off was able to run through a ditch into the adjacent field and return via a bridge hotly persued by a frustrated Amber who having cut the line couldn't find the trail (or  a way) into the other field. On these two lines hounds Nubie and Nelson performed extremely well giving tongue and accurately following the trail.  Alistair McLuskie, Chairman of the Bolebroke Beagles, who accompanied us out of a very real interest in the breed, was genuinely impressed with the performance of our "impromptu" pack once they settled to the task.

Lines 7 Nelson and Riot performed well. Clover and Hunter went off to investigate a strange windmill in the next field but soon  returned completing an accurate line at a stately pace befitting of veterans,  displaying that determined look that says "we can do it as well as the youngsters when WE want to!" On the final line most of the hounds demonstrated how well they could all actually work as a pack.

As it was Mothering Sunday and Pubs had been booked solid for weeks we  ended  the day with another Bolebroke tradition, tea and cakes enjoyed in the glow of a watery sun just peeping through lightening clouds.   A very pleasant end  to a good day and season.

Grateful thanks to all line layers volunteer or press ganged, to David our  Hunt Master for an excellent season and to Theresa for all the organisation  behind the scenes.

Report on the Beagle Club Working Trials 2008 results 

The Working Section held its end of year Trials in the Meon Valley, Hampshire, under the eagle eyes of judges Pat Sutton MH (Association of Draghounds and Bloodhounds) and David Brown (Christchurch & Fairley Hill Beagles).

Beagles get one point per line for each of setting off strongly, giving tongue, sticking to the line & being free from riot with up to two bonus points per line at the judges’ discretion for demonstrating leadership or consistently good work.

The following hounds were awarded working certificates:

Ambridge’s Trigger at Sunrise

Burwood’s Leeshir Dickens

Fernie’s Kybo Touchy

Forbes’ Kentoast Napoleon

Haylock’s Enchace Yokel

Kingham’s Admiral Lord Nelson

Lehain’s Nictoney Octavious

McSheehy’s Machavos Rioter

Admiral Lord Nelson (a former welfare beagle) was Best Working Dog and Best Hound overall. Best Bitch and Res Best Hound went to K. Touchy. Best Veteran was M. Rioter with Best Veteran (opp sex) being Johnson’s Redcap Raindrop. Best Novice for the highest scoring hound with no previous working certificate was won by N. Octavious. Best Newcomer (highest scoring hound in first season out) was hotly contested and shared between Bather’s Valley Belle Fern of Cymru, Ambridge’s Cliffmere Iris & Beaney’s Rossut Inkling. R. Inkling also won the Enchace Talismark memorial trophy.

Trophies Awarded 2008

Best Working Dog - Jesson Trophy - Admiral Lord Nelson

Best Working Bitch - Perrystar Trophy - Kybo Touchy (Sukie)

Best Working Hound - Perrystar Hare Trophy - Admiral Lord Nelson

Res Best Working Hound - Valedown Minstrel Boy Memorial Trophy - Kybo Touchy

Best Veteran - Ch Houndswood Havoc Trophy - Machavos Rioter

Best Veteran Opp Sex - Enchace Graceful Lady Trophy - Redcap Raindrops (Pocket)

Best Novice - The Sharomay Emperor Trophy - Nictoney Octavious (Nubie)

Best Newcomer - Precious Lady Trophy - Valley Belle Fern of Cynru (Fern)

Rossut Inkling, Cliffmere Iris

Field Masters Discretion - Enchace Talismark Memorial Trophy - Rossut Inkling

Young Person (under 16) - Kempton Hopeful Whip - Not awarded

You can view photos of the trials on Matt Bathers site CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS