A couple of coffee and bacon butty pit stops along the way and I was the second person to arrive at just after 8 o'clock, giving me plenty of time to get ready and exercise the dogs.
Glorious sunshine with a bit of a breeze, we couldn't have asked for better conditions for early November. After a quick briefing from secretary Jess Burrows we were on our way. A 20 minute frog march to the first wood where we were due to begin the trial. I was in at number 15 so knew I had a long wait ahead.
The gallery was on the outside of the wood and although we couldn't see the dogs running we could hear frantic whistling and see people emerging from the wood once their run was over.
We came out of the wood and then into some cover crop. Finds started becoming more frequent now and it wasn't long before I was backing up number 13.
He completed his run and I was called over by Roy Ellershaw. My beat was a thin hedgerow. Not what me and Ellie are used to. I cast her off and I need not have worried. She worked it really well, not pulling too far on but making sure she covered every inch under the hedge.
It wasn't long before a shot rang out on the other side, Ellie promptly sat up with no whistle. We couldn't see through the hedge but we were called over as the dog had failed to pick it.
Roy and myself climbed through the hedge and out into the cover crop where Natalie Cannon gave us a mark. I needed to send Ellie out of the cover crop, across a field and onto the edge of the cover crop which ran along side the hedge in the corner of the field. I managed to get her out into the field but she pulled right to where two birds had flushed when the previous dog had been out on the retrieve. It took me a few handles to get her off this scent and onto the bird which she brought back. That was my first run done.
I didn't have too long of a wait before I was backing up again as a few dogs had unfortunately gone out. This time I was running under Natalie Cannon and was in a thin strip of white grass along side a ditch.
We had maybe hunted 30 yards when Ellie had a lovely contact flush on a partridge which was shot 20 yards away out in front. I sent her and she was straight to the bird and back with it to hand with no whistle.
What we didn't realise was that a bird had been shot on the other side at the same time. As we waited I cleaned Ellie's mouth before we got called over to try and pick the bird on the other side.
We were given a mark around 35 yards away under a Bush on the edge of a ditch. I cast Ellie back and she went a few yards short of the area before pulling out into the field. I let her go as I wasn't sure if the partridge had ran. Nothing came of it so I handled her back to the area and pushed her a little further back when her nose went down into a little dip and back came a partridge to hand. That was my run done. My 2nd eye wipe in as many trials.
There was a single dog left to run before the trial was declared over. I knew I'd not gone clean enough to win but was chuffed to have finished another trial with Ellie. That's 2/2.
I was awarded a Certificate of Merit on two A-'s. If the two blind eye wipes had been cleaner it would have been a different story. Onto the next one!!