Menu

Welcome to Burns and Becks Gundog Club

The Burns and Becks Gundog Club was formed in 1965 by a small group of retriever trainers who ran training days and tests against other local clubs.

Since Kennel Club affiliation in 2012 the club has re-affirmed its aims to help handlers improve the standard of their dogs through training classes, working tests and field trials. Members of all ages and levels of experience are welcome, including young handlers who are the future of the sport.


Burns and Becks Novice Field Trial – 3rd November 2018


The club held its third very successful walked up novice field trial at Roeburndale, in the windswept hills behind Lancaster and, as always there was a unique drama which unfolded as the day progressed. We had been threatened with storm force horizontal rain but, though the wind was very strong the rain held off until the trial was over.

Without any tree cover, the open reedy moorland presented the usual stiff challenge to novice dogs, especially when they were asked to face the wind. It was an equal challenge for the guns, as the birds were up and gone, or sometimes almost stationary into the wind. However they acquitted themselves well, contributing to the success of the trial.

With judges Steve Richardson and Peter Thompson on the right and Keith Barnes and Carol Clarke on the left, the first four dogs were lined out and the trial began, walking down the wind slightly uphill, into a wide valley with reed cover. Nick Mercer with Lanefoot Paddy made a good start with a marked retrieve collected promptly, though Joan Pavelyn’s Labbay Abbi was unable to cope with the pressure and was fairly quickly eliminated for heelwork. Penny Oates also made a good start with a clean retrieve of a mark in front by Lowtrey Dan, but Karen Parkinson’s Torrisdale River was lost running in to the next bird downed. Kevin Knowles, with Roman Oak Dale Head had a straightforward job to retrieve the bird some 30 yards in front.

As the line wheeled to the left a bird was shot off the left hand end and ran. Four dogs were eventually tried and although all more or less made the fall, none was able to find the line, and the judges were also unable to find. Nick Mercer was put out first dog down and Kevin Knowles was also lost for heelwork. In the next few yards a snipe was downed in front and Penny Oates made an excellent job of picking it although it flipped a couple of times. Sadly, and inexplicably her dog spat the bird at her feet and she was out. Trial pressure is a cruel thing at times.

As the line progressed into more open wet ground several snipe were shot at and missed, ramping up the pressure on the dogs in line. Finally one was downed close in front of the line on the left and Lauren Sykes with Lunefirefly Barolo was sent from the right. Her dog made a decent job of reaching the fall, picked but then continued to hunt, unbeknown to the handler. Another hard way to be eliminated.

As the line moved on, another dog was lost for heelwork before a bird was shot over a stone wall to the left . Mark Schiller’s Buffskin China Girl was sent but had not marked the bird and Mark struggled to make the area, the strengthening wind blowing his dog away from the line. Matt Rowlinson’ s Flagonhall Zeus was sent and ran a good line, with just one handle to pick the bird.

The line turned into the wind and split either side of a stone wall, the left hand side walking in a slightly sheltered valley. Tom Jardine, with Lunefirefly Red Rum, made short work of a straightforward mark in front but shortly afterwards ran in to the next bird shot in front.

Meanwhile Matt Rowlinson completed a marked retrieve in front without handling, and Dave Alker, did the same with Smithsteads Flame. Another bird was downed on top of the hill, thirty yards in front of the guns but Diana Orr-Ewing’s golden retriever Lymiecleugh Evergreen of Greenfoot marked another bird and struggled to make the fall, being eliminated despite eventually finding the bird.

There was a fair walk down a shallow valley into the wind before Dave Alker completed a convincing second marked retrieve, and David Sidwell had his first retrieve with Liverycroft Turbostar on a bird over a wall, working hard to overcome the wind in doing so.

Sonja Ludwig with her bitch Eshiels Tancredi was next in line and completed an efficient retrieve of a cock pheasant brilliantly shot in the wind. A further bird was downed behind the line and appeared to make it into cover by a wall. David Sidwell was sent but lost his dog away from the fall in the wind and was called up. The eyewipe was swiftly completed by Sonja Ludwig.

With the first round almost complete and second round dogs about to enter the line just five dogs remained from the sixteen starters. Mike Nelson had his first retrieve with Turpingreen Curry and picked a marked bird in front without fuss. Martin Wilson had his first with Contender Caisa, on a cock bird which moved, and he struggled to get his dog to the fall in thick reeds. Though the bird was picked on the way back he had already been called up.

As the line proceeded down a wide open valley with cover on a stream in the bottom being hunted by spaniels, further marked birds were downed for the dogs on either side. Mike Nelson’s dog overshot a fall but worked out where the bird was without help. Sonja Ludwig had another mark but was eliminated.

Matt Rowlinson re-entered the line for his second round retrieve and his fast dog also overshot a mark, one pip being enough to bring Zeus back to the fall for a rapid retrieve. Meanwhile Dave Alker was quietly and efficiently completing his second round with a good mark in front.

Just three dogs remained for the third round of two retrieves and Matt Rowlinson began with a long cross retrieve without a problem. Dave Alker matched this retrieve with a mark over a wall in front, while Mike Nelson was still catching up with a second round marked retrieve up the line as the guns approached a stone wall.

As the line turned uphill and split either side of the wall , Matt Rowlinson’s Zeus was sent over the wall from the right to a live partridge shot on the left. Despite both handler and dog failing to mark the bird, Zeus hunted hard and found the bird quickly about sixty yards away from the fall.

Dave Alker’s reply was also a bird over the wall in the other direction, but this time his dog struggled to get over, though the bird was eventually picked.

Mike Nelson, because of the usual vagaries of retrieves from the left and right, was now two retrieves behind and obliged with two excellent marked retrieves over the wall, though his dog struggled at the wall in a way that Zeus had not.

The runoff of one retrieve for each of the dogs was to prove decisive.

Matt Rowlinson was sent for a long bird shot in front of the line over a wall at the top of the hill. Taken over the wall to send, the bird was retrieved as a blind with speed.

While completing his marked retrieve in front, Dave Alker was sadly put out at the end for heelwork, the pressure of a very long time in line finally getting to his dog.

With just one retrieve needed to complete the trial, guns and dogs were climbing over a wall when a bird was shot in front, landing some distance up the hill and looking like it would run. Mike Nelson was taken forward and was not able to see his dog hunting away from the fall. When it eventually reached the fall he picked the live bird and the trial was over.

It was a close call but the judges eventually awarded first place to Matt Rowlinson’s Flagonhall Zeus, who was also awarded best runner, and second to Mike Nelson’s Turpingreen Curry, also awarded gun’s choice. Both dogs had performed impressively throughout the trial and were clearly of open standard.

With hot food provided by Leon from The Moon restaurant in Kendal, competitors, judges and helpers were revived after a cold and windy day and the many helpers thanked for their contributions to a very successful day. The excellent but hard ground, given by the Mashiter family, gamekeeper Ian Banks and shoot captain Andy Jardine was much appreciated as usual.

Special thanks were also given to Kirsty Howson, the club’s secretary, helped by her husband Richard, who had done so much to run the trial, and the committee of the Burns and Becks, almost all of whom were present in one capacity or another. The trial concluded another successful year for the club.

Contact us for details about membership and latest events.