Sunday 6 June 2010
1066, arrows, gunpowder & scurry
It's not often you get the chance to link those four things in a headline, but today I drove to Battle in Sussex for a gundog scurry at the lovely Powdermills Hotel, practically on the site of the famous Battle of Hastings in 1066. The hotel was originally a gunpowder factory (they made cannons and cannonballs just up the road) - but it came too late to help Harold fend of the invading Normans.
Anyway, turns out the hotel management are keen country sports folk, and eager to encourage visiting parties of guns, stalkers etc - in fact they can even arrange stalking, pigeon shooting, etc locally, and there are plenty of local attractions for those who don't fancy a day in a pigeon hide (there's no accounting for taste).
And the arrows? No that wasn't a reference to Harold and the apocryphal arrow-in-the-eye.
Adrian Caddy was running a field archery course open to all comers - with a walk in the woods to shoot at some life-sized targets representing white-tail deer (not often you'll shoot one of those in Sussex), wild boar, and even a pheasant (is that sporting? With a bow, probably).
Sporting Shooter's vet Vicky Payne (above) was on the organising committee, who had done a fine job. That's her dog (Rebus, or Quincy? I can never get it right. Sorry Vicky!). Helpers had come from near and far - the first person I bumped into when I arrived was Stuart Ogden from NOBS - he seems to get everywhere.
Bracken did her best to look appealing (hasn't she grown!) and Skye did a respectable job of a water retrieve of a rubber duck dummy; in the heat, I was tempted to jump in too! And then they both sank gallons of water ready for the journey home. All in all a great day - thanks to the hotel, Vicky and all the organisers. More photos on Flickr if you're interested.