Friday, 28 April 2017


With the onset of digital photography it seems that we forget the joy that is to be found in leafing through a photo album, especially ones that we "stuck together" to remember a special wedding, or a big birthday or a retirement. 

We have always offered photobooks for shoot days, weddings, or just as a nice way of pulling a collection of images together as a present  and are always looking to expand and improve the range,so when  the opportunity to trial Saal Digital layflat photobook arose, we grabbed it with both hands. 

 Having spent most of the season out on various Moors around Yorkshire capturing the shooting season it seemed a perfect way to present a collection of images. 


Saal Digital 28cm x 19cm Hard Cover 40 Page Layflat Photobook with Presentation Box.

After downloading the software to the IMac, I set about designing the book.  Having used several other book design software packages I found it fairly easy to use, although if you opt to select templates as opposed to designing your own layouts it can be a little tedious. 

After having designed the book, the upload process was easy and I waited for it's arrival. 

Having read a few reviews and noting the comments regarding speedy delivery I was delighted when, after ordering on a Sunday afternoon, the book arrived on Tuesday afternoon. 

A lovely large grey presentation box, with plenty of padding, cased a gloss fronted photobook. 


The box gives a WOW factor of that there is no doubt, the gloss cover also adds impact.  My instant reaction was that the book itself felt quite "small" - I normally order A4 landscape and this is a degree smaller,  having checked  there is a larger option available and in future I would probably opt for this. 

The layflat spine is fantastic.  As much of my Grouse Moor work takes in large vistas I was interested to see how the landscapes would cope on a double spread, and how the 3/4 to 1/4 double spread splits would look.   I was not disappointed.  Either presented on a stand or laid flat on a coffee table the book really does do the double page spread justice.

Not only am I capturing the colours and tones of the surrounding landscape but also of the dogs and handlers working the moors. 

The print quality is exceptional.  I opted for a gloss front cover and matte inner pages.  All are printed on genuine photopaper and provide an extremely high quality finish. 

The colours and tones held up well, my only observation that they were maybe a little heavy on the contrast.  Heavy blacks which next time I would adjust for. 


My only reservation was the wording on the spine, which I failed to turn round the other way and for me doesn't quite sit right, but I am sure there is a simple solution and the small barcode on the back, which although I searched high and low for an option to remove (and which I believe is there) couldn't find.   The box, although of nice quality for the amount it adds to the overall cost I feel I probably wouldn't order - there are many other ways to present a book such as this. 

 A high quality beautiful photobook that I will most definitely be adding to our list of products. 

Tuesday, 7 March 2017


A title like this, at this time of year,  would normally bring to mind a six nations rugby match, but this was far far more important, it was a in fact a re-match of the Kirkbourne v Polmaise Trophy. 

Currently held by the Polmaise team after last years meet in Scotland, 2017 was Kirkbourne's years to host. 

The visitors arrived late Friday evening traveling down through some inclement weather, but once all safely here, everyone settled ready for a full weekend of gundog fun and competition. 


Saturday was dedicated to a days training in fabulous spring like weather that sadly was not to last the weekend and after an evening of frivolity it was time to get down to business on Sunday.

The Kikbourne/Polmiase Trophy Working Test 2017. 

Meet time was 9.30am and it was dry for around half an hour before the rain set in for the rest of the day.  But not to be deterred after a short briefing we were underway.



Walk to heel. (Blind placed a starting point)

Send back for a short blind. 

Walk to heel. 

Shot fired, Marked Retrieve.

Walk to heel

Shot fired, blind opposite bank  over river


A nice set of three challenges to test the novice dogs.  Crossing the river for the seen mark adding an extra edge of difficulty. 

Learning the ropes in the Novice Retriever.

Michelle and Barley finishing their test.


Walk to heel in pairs.

Mark into water. 

Dogs sent in turn. 

Walk to heel.

Shot fired, Mark into small wood

Dogs sent in Turn

Walk to heel

Shot fired

Blind across river 

Dogs sent in turn.


What a challenge, for both dogs and handlers.  In horrible weather conditions each element of the test was designed to push to the limits, and that it did.  For some it was the very first time they had worked as a pair and with only a few managing to complete the 130m blind out across the river the rousing support from the onlookers made every "stop and direction" worth it.

No one should be disappointed in how they did,  lots of positives to be drawn from the day.

Taking instruction in the rain

Open Retriever Water Retrieve



A short hunt up through cover.  

Stop at appropriate point. 

Marked Retrieve. 

Continue to hunt up.


This was a great test, lots of nice cover to let the young dogs work through, and it was good to see spaniels getting their noses down and starting to really work for their handlers.

Louis hunting during his Novice Spaniel run.

Sara and Elsa watching the rest of the field are their fantastic run.


Hunt up in pairs. 

Stop to shot, first dog retrieve. 

Continue hunting

Stop to shot, second dog retrieve.

Hunt to end.

Water Retrieve.


An opportunity  to hunt up in pairs  Great to see all four open dogs showing drive and hunting ability.    The water test proved more of a challenge with all the dogs pulling to come out of the water away from the handlers, but it was really good to see the dogs as happy in water as on the land.

Rocky with his Open Spaniel Retrieve.

Open Spaniel Water Retrieve
Once the spaniels had finished everyone headed back to the meeting point to wait for the "scores on the doors" and a chance to run in the scurry.

Events of this kind take a huge amount of organisation and huge thanks must go to those who give up their time to make them happen, from club secretaries to dummy chuckers, to scurry time keepers, everyone is important. 

Max taking times and keeping scores for the scurry.

Poppy ready for her run.

Willow the "Scurry Bandit" - one to watch for the future.

Whilst the competitive spirit is always going to be present in any event of this kind, what makes this meeting so special is the strong bond of friendship that is so very obvious- despite the miles.    Training and working together, sharing ideas,  training methods and training grounds, has such a positive effect on both dogs and handlers.  The pool of knowledge available to novice handlers is fantastic and no one is left floundering or feeling dejected and beaten,   and the support for one another during the very hard open retriever challenge needed to be witnessed.  The desire for others to succeed, where most had failed was a joy to hear .. and long may this continue.  

For those clubs that choose to stand alone, maybe it wouldn't be such a bad thing to be a little more open minded, to group together, share resources and advice, after all, we are all working towards the same end.  

So onward to the National Gundog Competition in June, and then to the rematch in Scotland next year !!!
All the award winners - congratulations to all.



Novice Spaniel
Sara Kinnon - Elsa

Open Spaniel 
 Rob Kinnon - Poppy

Novice Retriever
Michelle Cowan -Barley
Open Retriever 
Richard Kershaw - Sydney

 Rob Kinnon - Poppy 

Congratulations to all those in the awards .

If you would like us to cover your club event, working test or field trial please contact us via the website :

For more information on Kirkbourne Spaniels please visit their website : 

Friday, 24 February 2017


The Yorkshire Retriever Field Trial Society held it's final trial of the season, a 16 Dog AV Retriever Novice Stake,  at the beautiful Harewood Estate by Kind Permission of the Earl of Harewood / Land Agent Christopher Usher and Head Keeper, Tim Rothwell. 

The Judges were Mr Barry Cooper (A), Mr Wayne Mitchell (A), Mr Gary McCarthy (NP) and Mr Mike Nelson (NP).  The Chief Steward was Mr David Barrett and Steward of the Beat Mr Tim Rothwell. 

The day would be predominantly driven with a small element of walked-up through the woodland areas. 

After formal introductions, apologies and amendments, the  competitors, judges, gallery et al,  boarded the "beaters bus" and were driven through the  grounds to the first drive.

All Aboard ..

The Skylark !!!

The dogs and handlers were lined out in a light woodland area with ducks being driven of a nearby pond.  The ducks provided some difficult shooting but a steady start was made. 

Lining out for the First Drive

A short walk across the Parkland and a line was placed directly in front of Harewood House and another to the side of a the small plantation. A nice drive saw plenty of birds flushed and shot with one particularly runner nicely picked amongst lots of action.

With all the birds picked from the park, we headed back down to the woods for a spot of walked-up. 

Some nice shooting by the guns saw the dogs quickly into action.  One bird was shot and fell out of the wood and into the lake. 

Emerging from the woods to the waters edge we saw some of the dogs refusing to enter the water or entering but exiting straight away. 

Eventually said bird was picked and the field cut by 5 !!!!

We continued to work our way through the wood in a walked up fashion and birds were falling left and right of the line. 


A nice retrieve from the wood over a the fence and out into the open paddock by Eden Parish's dog really upped the tempo.


Lisa Coates' young dog Rolex completed a a nice clean retrieve and we were down to the final three.

Dogs and Handlers were lined out for a mini drive with only enough birds being shot to complete the trial.

First to be sent, Thomas Bushby's  "Buddy".  Nice "out and in" retrieve. 

Both Eden and Lisa sadly failed with their retrieves which left the last, Woodcock, for Thomas and Buddy. 

Straight down the track heading for the open gate, but before the gate, a left along the fence line.  With some very nice handling the woodcock was in the bag and the trial was over. 

I'm sure both Eden and Lisa felt deflated to have got so far and to have come away empty handed.  Lisa especially in only her second novice trial, but both should take so many positives from the day.  A very well turned out pair of dogs, who did exactly what was asked of them.  Sometimes on the day, it is just a half a step too far, but it gives us direction for our training over the summer and the taste to be back next season to finish what has been started.   I will watch with interest to see how both dogs progress. 

Thomas was a worthy winner.  Buddy is a dog that I have seen run a few times over the last 18 months and it was the right time for the pair to advance to Open.  

I wish them much success as they push forward



Sadly for us this was the last trial to be run at the beautiful Harewood Estate.  It has afforded many field trial societies and training clubs am amazing area to train and compete in over the years and will be much missed. 

Many thanks to the Tim Rothwell, the gamekeeper, and his team.

Another set of thanks must go to all those that help out during the course of the season.  Whether it be stewarding, carrying game, the field trial secretaries, the handlers and the dog, an army of people required to ensure each and every field trial is a success. 

Enjoy your spring and summer training and I look forward to seeing you in the Autumn as the trialling season begins.