Gordon Setter Gathering
Updated: Jun 11, 2019
Its been a bit hectic and I have only just found myself some time to play catch up and post some news of what we and our Gordons have been up to in the past few weeks.
Quite a while ago we saw a post on Facebook from Gordon Castle, they had heard about the low numbers and decline in registrations of Gordon Setter puppies over the past years and as the breed originated and was developed at Gordon Castle by the Duke of Gordon, the current owners of Gordon Castle Angus and Zara Gordon Lennox decided to have a Gordon Setter Gathering at their castle grounds in conjunction with their popular Highland Games held on May 19th 2020 to highlight the decline and bring awareness of our wonderful breed to the attention of all.
We had booked and entered Summer, Autumn & Jago into the Scottish Kennel Club Champ show for the 17th May and decided that we should make a long weekend of it and take all the dogs to attend the gathering also, plus I for one had never been to a Highland Games event so this ticked a box for me. We originally looked at booking a cottage for the weekend but as we would be travelling up to Edinburgh for the champ show and then moving off to Fochabers we decided that this accommodation wouldn't work especially as we needed to find somewhere that would allow a larger number of dogs to stay, Hotels were going to be a similar problem, out of the blue Cari said to me Why don’t we hire a Motorhome. As it turned out this was the best solution for this trip and before we took the plunge in a major purchase we hired one to see how this would go with us and the girls. I booked the biggest motorhome I could, we used to have a caravan and are well used to dealing with dogs in a confined space but the most dogs we had in the caravan was three and that was too much so having four was going to be a challenge. For those that are not aware Jago lives with Cari's Mum & Dad and is co-owned by us, this meant we could keep a boy from our last litter to show without actually keeping him, a perfect solution for us with a home filled with entire girls.
Jago with Mum & Dad set off on the Tuesday prior to the show in their motorhome and we were due to meet up with them on the Thursday evening, it was going to be a bit of a mad dash as we picked up the hired motorhome at 10 am, I had to take it home, load it with what we needed and the dogs and set off for the 8 hour drive. We must be mad I thought.
I arrived home with and Cari had sorted everything we needed and was ready to go as soon as I arrived, armed with as many covers as we could lay our hands on as the van was almost brand new with just 1200 miles on it. I set too covering everything in the van with said cover while Cari loaded food and essentials. The layout of this motorhome was perfect as it had two bunks at the rear, and a large double bed above the cab so we could sleep without the girls joining us. I double covered the lower bunk and this became a large dog bed. I think we loaded the van in the quickest time ever including all our girls and we were on the road by 11:45. The sat nag was telling us we should arrive at our first stop at 19:50 this didn't include pit stops for us and the girls.
As you can see in the pictures that all the girls decided to sleep anywhere other than the bunk bed I so carefully laid out for them.
Skye was especially good at getting comfy on all the seats including the Drivers.
We were making good time until we got caught up in the tail back caused by an accident on the M6 in the middle of the ongoing roadworks.
The Sat Nag was now telling us that we were behind by 90 minutes and the girls were getting restless and asking for a comfort break and their dinner too a service stop was required or what I now call a Splash & Dash.
Cari fed the girls and I then took them out and we were back on the road in no time,
and before we knew it we had cleared the lakes and were on the border crossing into Scotland.
I have to say that the journey wasn't too bad until we left the motorway and were directed to take the scenic tourist route to Edinburgh. Where we had not packed things correctly in the van everything was crashing and banging so much we couldn't even have a conversation, this wasn't helped by me driving perhaps a bit faster than I should have to make up some time. We had to call the campsite and let them know we were running a bit late and they were fine with this and we finally touched down on the site at about 21:10, we were all shattered and after a brief chat with Mum & Dad and some exercise for the girls we were beat and settled down for the night.
The girls decided that 05:30 was a great time to wake and they also thought that I should be up and about to take them out for a walk. The camp site was right next door the Roslin Chapel and the grounds were free of any livestock which meant the girls could have free running exercise, it was easier to take them out in pairs as the fields were very hilly and it was difficult to keep an eye on them all together.
After the girls had been walked, fed and watered I prepped myself, Summer, Autumn and Jago for the SKC show. the Royal Highland Show ground was our venue for the day and we were only about 20 mins away so we set off about 08:00 to give us plenty of time to get us and the dogs set up. Cari had the chance to relax as she stayed with Storm & Skye in the motorhome watching the planes take off and land at Edinburgh airport.
Entries for Gordons were quite low and this meant that Jago was the only dog in his class, so first place for him and Autumn only had one other in her class and was placed second. Summer had 9 entries in the Post Graduate class and she was placed with a Reserve and went on to be placed first in the special beginners class, following this she went on to be placed as best special beginners and was presented with a fabulous hand made rosette. We had a good day and it was nice to chat with fellow Gordoners. Thanks go to our Judge Lynne Jameson and the steward for our class. after the special beginners group we headed back to the motorhome and Cari brewed up some tea before we made our way back to the campsite.
We stayed at Slatebarns Caravan site in Roslin, its a lovely site that is tucked away from the roads. The facilities on site are first rate and the owners very accommodating. We managed to get a pitch for the motorhome next to Cari's Mum & Dad, this way we could let the dogs play in the area between the two vans. There were a few people that were attending SKC that were camping also and we made time to have a chat and wish them good luck and then settled down to a relaxing evening and enjoying the scenery and fresh air, we had a look at the maps and planned the journey onto our next stop over site at the Caravan and Camping site Speyside. we all set down for the night fairly early and I was awoken again bright and early by Gordon Setters who decided it was Rabbit chasing time, I set off two at a time and let them have their fun chasing about in the surrounding grounds of the Roslin Chapel I then headed back pegged the dogs outside and brewed up a cuppa for Cari, she was still in bed!!!!
Time runs away so quickly and we packed up and headed off on the 3 1/2 hour journey towards Arberlour (the home of one of my favourite whiskeys) that took us over the amazing Queens Ferry Crossing Bridge
and through some beautiful scenic areas, we went through a town with my name on and then up towards the whiskey trail,
unfortunately we didn't have enough time to visit any of the distilleries on this journey but if the Gordon event is held next year then we will make a proper break of it and I certainly will be making time to sample.
We made good time and arrived at the Speyside site late afternoon,
we were greeted by two very friendly and helpful wardens who directed us to our
Summer, Skye, Autumn and Jago at Speyside Campsite
pitches and showed us the most important part of the site, the dog exercise area. with dogs legs stretched and them settled it was time for a couple of drinks.
The Highland games 19th May 2019
We set off early and we arrived at Gordon Castle about 9:30 parked up and got the dogs ready for the day out. We could see a good number of Gordons and their owners already on their way into the venue so we knew it was going to be a good day. We were all greeted by the sound of bagpipes upon entry although Skye was not so keen on the tones they produced and at one point I thought she was going to nab the instrument from the piper.
We made our way to the registration area, though we had completed this online. Registration was being handled by committee members and volunteers of the Gordon Setter Club of Scotland
and as you can see above, within an hour or so a good gathering of Gordons was certainly forming, Cari and her Mum & Dad had set up our chairs by the main event ring and I wandered off to have a chat and take pictures of all these fantastic dogs in one place. The Gordon Castle Marketing Manager was out and about informing people what was to take place and asking questions about the dogs and where they had travelled from, Im sure that we had travelled the furthest although we did come across a lady who had travelled from Wales and we then found out that she owns a Locksheath girl Coco, that was bred by Frances Bastable of whom we share the affix with.
The time had come and all the Gordons and their owners were called into the ring ready for the 2019 Gordon gathering Parade,
over 140 Gordons were on site with one owner who had brought eight Gordons with her and her family. The parade was lead off and I have to say it was fantastic to see so many Gordon Setters parading around the ring a truly beautiful sight indeed, we were interviewed by one of the marketing team from Gordon Castle about where we travelled from and who we had with us and a bit about the breed generally, all very exciting, we all gathered together for a group photograph, that was a challenge for the photographer indeed. then a few words from Angus Lennox Gordon to thank us all for making such a great effort to attend, we headed out of the ring and were given a certificate of attendance along with a goody bag from the event sponsor. Jago caught the eye of one of the journalist photographers
and took some additional pictures of him to feature in the Press & Journal paper., the photographer gave us his details so we could contact him later so he could send the originals over to us (see below).
We could all relax and enjoy the rest of the day talking to all the people that came over to ask about our girls and boy including a large number of people from the USA and Canada, obviously we like nothing more than to talk about Gordons.
This as I may have said was my first attendance to a Highland games event and I made sure to take in all I could this included a visit to the heavy events ring to watch Caber tossing, Tug of war and weight throwing and enjoyed every bit of it, but the highlight for me was to see and hear the marching bands, they were all amazing although Autumn was very puzzled by the sound of the drums as the band turned to face away from us.
we wandered over to the area of the traditional dancing competitions, all the boys and girls taking part were amazing and it would have been difficult for the judges to decide the winners from them all, Cari enjoyed looking at all the craft stands and purchased a lovely handmade corsage to wear at the dog shows we attend. all in all we had a fantastic day and what was best was we could take all the dogs with us and they were fussed continuously throughout the day too. we headed away from the event quite tired but very pleased that we had made the decision to attend.
On the way back to the campsite the heavens opened and the rain came lashing down and was till hard by the time we arrived back at the site, Now I could really see how the Motorhome came into its own, we parked up and put the kettle on, fed the dogs and us and settled down with our feet up, whilst relaxing we made the decision that we would make our way back home and leave the site about 11pm, this was not ideal but unfortunately the motorhome had to be taken back to the depot before 3pm on the following day, I was not looking forward to the return journey as we estimated it would take us 11 hours continuous driving, infect we did it in 14 hours with a sleep stop half way through. in preparation I took a an 1 1/2 sleep prior to setting off while Cari sorted out the girls and packed up the motorhome ready for the trip home.
We set off at about 10:45 and headed back down south, I have to admit that I'm not a big fan of night time driving but at least when it got past 1am the roads were very quiet with less headlight glare, We could not believe just how many deer we saw having a snack along side the road, I had to be alert just in case one decided to jump out infant of us. by about 2;30 am I was beginning to feel tired so we pulled into a service area and we both had a sleep for an hour followed by a coffee, this did the job and I was set for the rest of the journey. After a few more stops for snacks and fluids for us and the girls we finally arrived home 12:30 and after a cup of tea we set to unpacking and cleaning the motorhome ready to return it to the hire depot.
Even though the whole trip was rushed with not much time to relax I have to say that we all had a great time. all the dogs were superbly behaved and travelled really well in the motorhome and after Cari had packed it properly it was more pleasurable to drive too, but the question is would we hire one again to do such a long trip? Well the answer to that question is a definite yes. Cari is already making plans to look at motorhomes with a view to buy, the only thing I will say is that next time we will go for a longer period so we can have time to sight see and relax a bit more.
This post has taken longer than I expected to publish but I hope you have enjoyed reading about our mini adventure to Scotland.
If anyone would like any details of where we hired the motorhome and the campsites we stayed at please contact me by email firstname.lastname@example.org or sign up and leave a note.