Gundog Breeds Association Scotland 11 November 2017

In the late 1970's a group of Scottish Gundog enthusiasts had a vision to set up a Gundog Society in Scotland, serving the people of Scotland and fellow enthusiasts in pursuit of their dog show hobby.  Working trials were also given consideration but as there was not so much passion for this, the collected folk decided to go ahead, making shows for gundogs their priority.  Great Labrador breeder, Marjie Cairns of the famous Blaircourt Labradors was the driving force behind this vision.  Blaircourt Labradors had enjoyed much success, including winning Reserve Best In Show at Crufts in 1959 with the black dog, Ch Ruler of Blairscourt (pictured below). We really have little to complain about nowadays travelling to shows around the UK, in comparison to how the dog show fraternity had to do things in those days.  In 1979 Marjie's vision became a reality when the Gundog Breeds Association of Scotland was formed.  Marjie and her husband were founder members, along with George and Florence McIlroy of Ochiltree Irish Setters. Marjie was actually the only Gundog Group judge in the whole of Scotland for many years and was a great source of knowledge and help to current Chairman of the GBAS, Gordon Haran, himself a CC judge of Irish Setters. Marjie mentored Gordon over many years and their friendship was a very strong, long lasting one, built on respect and great fondness.  She would have been thrilled to see how her young protege has developed as a judge and breeder as well as how he has guided the Club and its Committee to the great levels of success and professionalism we see each time we attend. Just one year after its inception 'Gundog Breeds' as we all fondly refer to, held its first Open Show (1980). Only one year after that, the Association hosted their first Championship show! now that's what you call knowing people in high places! Our very own Irish Setter lover Geoge McIlroy, held his position within Committee for over 25 years.  Today we have representation through Sandra Sturrock (Forfarian)who is the Associations Treasurer and her daughter Nicola, Assistant Show Manager and Irish Setter Rep.

gbas 2017 lab
Ch Ruler of Blairscourt


The Associations ethos  is to promote Gundogs within the Scottish Community. To achieve this includes holding the traditional Championship show once a year, holding Open Shows, Gundog, Gundog Puppy & Veteran of the Year, Seminars, and other events as the Committee see fit, in an attempt to assist the growth and education of their dog community. Traditionally, the Association hold one Open show per year, however the Committee have now included a second.  This second one, held for the first time last year was built around a Hawaiian theme - sounds like great fun.  Thankfully I live in Northern Ireland! I can't see me wearing a grass skirt, showing a dog in bonnie Scotland with the wind whistling up my legs.  I'm glad I'm not a Scotsman having to wear a kilt!

Another nice touch I feel the Association have embraced, which is perhaps worth other Societies considering, is the Associations Youth Membership Scheme. This allows junior members with Associate membership to become involved, helping them get an understanding of the workings of the Committee.  They are allowed to attend meetings and are often given the opportunity to shadow the person designated to the post.  Full committee membership then comes, with the addition of the growth and development of the next generation of young enthusiasts.

The GBAS Committee are 26 strong, including Office bearers.  There is a wealth of knowledge to tap into between them all - everything from the printing for a show, running a show, gundog group judges, CC judges, as well as the personal and individual experience each committee person has to offer. Quite an expert little group, who really try their best to bring enthusiasm, professionalism, efficiency and fun to all the events they administer.

In order to attract a good entry for their show, held so late in the show calendar year, the Committee like to try out  new ideas, new judges, foreign judges and generally anything at all which will help get the exhibitor through the door so to speak, especially as folk are losing the desire in the long, cold late evenings and so far north in Edinburgh.  Ingleston has been the home of the GBAS Championship show since the very first show in 1981.  At that first show, the Irish Setters were judged by Jimmy Cudworth (Hackhill). The first Open show had been held the year before with Mrs June Aspinall (Emmafield) officiating.  She had an entry of 102 in Irish Setters - not far off this years champ show,  of 114. The first Champ show attracted 172.  How, indeed, times have changed numbers wise.  Costs have definitely changed of course - in fact I'm sure many of you will be shocked to hear that the cost of the venue alone is £20,000. This price does not include, cleaning, benching, judges expenses, or any of the other ancillary show running  costs like printing, rosettes, lunches, etc. The price is valid for the time scale from 7 am the day before the show , Friday, until 10 pm on the night of the show, Saturday.  Just to clean the hall and deal with the waste is around £900!  I found these figures quite alarming but also very interesting too, which is why I have chosen to share them with you all.  Perhaps we now realise why our entry fees are the price they are and perhaps we can now appreciate how much is needed to run and fund just one show in this Societies year.  The Show maintains the same theme each year having found the 'early Christmas' idea to be a fruitful one for attracting exhibitors to the show, which often has good trade stands promoting that little 'something different' for a gift or to just purchase the general essentials for our doggies if not going south to LKA a few weeks later.  It's the last opportunity really to get one's show purchases if you hail from the north.

This year the show happened to fall on Armistice day, the 11th day of the 11th month.  The Best In Show ring this year, was also decked with Poppy bunting and regalia to commemorate the loss of the lives of our forebearers who had given the ultimate sacrifice so that we and other generations might enjoy and continue our lives in the correct and democratic societies we all now take for granted.  It was truly fitting and right that at the 11th hour of the morning, regardless of what point judging was at, whatever exhibitors were involved in or even whatever dogs were doing, each and everyone stopped upon the bugle trumpeting, to observe a two minutes silence by way of showing respect for our fallen soldiers. I personally, found this a very moving time.  Two minutes to think about, pay respect to and feel humbled by, those great men and women whose sacrifice we will never match. I thank you Gundog Breeds for this fine gesture, as I'm sure many reading this do too.

Returning to the results for Irish, of the Associations first Championship show, in 1981.  Jimmy Cudworth was a Springer man.  He held great respect as a judge and was appointed as the Irish Setter judge.  Amongst others entered in that first catalogue was Astley Portia of Rua, Glendronagh Girl, Sowerhill Satyr and brother Sahib. The final result faired as follows: DCC Sh Ch Moorshedge Javelin, RDCC Sh Ch Sowerhill Satyr of Fearnely, BCC & BOB Sh Ch Wickenberry Baroness (2 pictures below) and RBCC Sh Ch Glendronagh Girl. Some very famous dogs around in those days too and they all travelled to be seek the judges opinion and try for the CC's, all the way to Edinburgh.
wickenberry baronesswickenberry baroness2

Sh Ch Wickenberry Baroness

The Gundog Breeds Association of Scotland Championship shows have had six Best in Show winners within our lovely breed.  The first such dog to do so was Sh Ch Bardonhill Supergrass. He was owned by Marita Bott and handled to this great win by Jeremy Bott.  The year was 1983 and he was winning his 9th CC of his eventual  11. He also amassed a staggering 20 Reserve CC's.

supergrass 1983 Bis GBAS
Sh Ch Bardonhill Supergrass - Best In Show winner 1983. Judge Valerie Foss

 Those who achieved at this level after Supergrass, are listed below.
1992   Sh Ch Danaway Debonair                owned by Jackie Lorrimer
1997   Sh Ch Caspians Intrepid                owned by Jackie Lorrimer
2002   Cataluna Gee Wizz (now ShCh)            owned by Liz Rose Hay
2010   Sh Ch Northamber Just Cause For Glenavna     owned by Christine McLarnon
2014   Sh Ch Gwendariff Whippersnapper        owned by Alec Stewart & Danielle Ritchie-Smith

This years hopeful to add his name to the list was Sh Ch Coppers War Of Roses (Imp Swe), selected for the Dog CC and BOB by Mrs Myra Thomas Rhodes from Australia. The Reserve CC to him, was honoured to the Limit winner, Staratlanta Elliott ShCM. War of Roses (Arthur), was winning his 24th CC, for the partnership of Blake Crocker and Amelia Siddle. Elliotts owners Sarah Tupper and Nikola Rosie, have now collected two such awards for their 3 year old boy, pet name Finnegan. Turned out they won the Good Citizen Stakes as well on the day too!

It was quite a family affair for Blake and Amelia as they also claimed the top spot in bitches too.  Riverbrue Gloriana, won her first CC from  the graduate class to add to the RCC she has already. Breeders /owners must be delighted with this result, as this litter has now produced two different CC winners and two Reserve CC winners, yet still all only 18 months old. Quite an achievement! The Reserve CC in bitches was a first such award for Bob Nicholson.  His young girl Gwendariff Rainbow Goddess At Lochindorb was recalled to challenge as she had won 2nd in Graduate behind Gloriana. I know Bob was thrilled.  He started his showing life with Irish Setters,  got more involved with English Springer Spaniels, making up Champions along the way and then decided to return to Irish as his grand finale - great idea it seems Bob!

Best Puppy In Breed went to Judy Framptons homebred girl Strathmead Noella. This young lady has been having a super start to her show career which I'm sure Judy is most delighted with.  The star of the day for our breed was owned by Laura Kolbac.  Neita, Ch Coppers Wine'N Roses (Imp Swe) , went all the way to Best Veteran In Show under renowned judge Henric Fryckstrand from Sweden. Many Congratulations!  Having looked through the shows results it was a family 'Coppers' day to remember for all concerned.  Best of Breed, Best Opposite Sex and Best Veteran in Breed turned out to be three generations of Coppers breeding. Wine'N Roses  BVIB, is the mother of War of Roses BOB, who is the father of Gloria, R Gloriana BOS.  Best Puppy has also a Coppers father, Sh Ch Coppers Champagne on Ice at Aoibheanne JW (Imp Swe). 'Coppers'  breeder Camilla Ostman must have been cock a hoop. Her camera was I'm sure red hot by clicking for many fabulous photos to treasure from this memorable day. Very well done indeed!

GBAS 2017 best veteran
Ch Coppers Wine'N Roses

Judge, Myra Thomas-Rhodes really embraced the whole Scottish occasion, wearing dark tartan checked trousers to officiate in.  A very nice idea. Myra has been involved in Irish Setters for over 45 years. Her Amhurst kennel has had a number of Australian Champions some of which have been Best In Show winners.  The kennel imported Wendover Crofter ( a Gentleman son ) in 1974. One year later Wendover Jaquetta joined him and together they became the foundation of the kennel. Myra has judged 11 times in Sweden and on these trips she had admired a number of dogs from the Coppers kennel.  Once again, Myra decided to import some stock to further improve and bring new blood to her own lines.  Her Coppers based dogs once again proved successful , winning at good level at Championship shows and often under British judges. Read more about Myra and her Amhurst winners here at   This is Myra's second occasion awarding Challenge Certificates to the breed.  Bath Championship show 2004 offered the first opportunity to judge at this level.  Judging bitches that day Myra found her winners  to be Aniara (Imp Swe)winning her 2nd CC on the day for owners David and Gillian Bell. Reserve to her was Jane and Roger Mugfords Lynwood Promises Promises to Gimaroch. Interesting to note that Aniaras mother was a favourite of mine Coppers Honeysuckle Rose. Honeysuckle Rose was a great winner for Camilla, winning multiple groups during her career.  She is behind all of the present day Coppers, and is 4th generation in direct decent of Coppers Wine N Roses, who is herself then behind all the days CC winners. I have acquired an old picture for you of Gundog Breeds BIS and BVIS judge, Mr Henrick Fryckstrand.  Here he is with Honeysuckle Rose in Sweden, and now he finds her great-great grand daughter in Scotland quite a few years later! He's certainly judging to a type he likes.

Coppers Honeysuckle Rose (Left and Below)

A very big well done to all the winners, of the main awards, of the class wins and even if you got a prize card.   To represent ones breed in the Group is a privilege, to achieve the BIG green and white card is also very special, the little green and white ones highly pleasing too. To win a class with a new puppy, or even get a great placing in a strong class is a great feeling of pride and pleasure.  If you didn't win this time, keep on trying.  Remember we all take the best dog home, win or lose.  Your lovely, happy, smiley, wagging red one will love you all the same, dog shows or not!

Diane Stewart-Ritchie


Copyright Bardonhill

Copyright Bardonhill. All Rights Reserved.