Day 1 – the arrival
As I drove up the long track, up the hill to the farm at Bwlch Isaf Denbighshire on Friday 21st September 2018, the sky cleared and I had my first glimpse across the Clwydian hills of the challenging A Way with Dogs semi-finals course.
After a night of rain, sleet and hail, the day was dry and bright. No banners could be put up as the wind had knocked down branches and the portaloo in the night!
I parked up in the adjoining field and entered the kitchen, home of Ceri (founder of CSJ) and Phil Rundle and Ceri’s late father H.Glyn Jones. I joined the throng of handlers, presenters, judges and crew who were gathering from far and wide for a welcome cup of tea, a slice of pizza and some plums from the garden (thank you Sue Main).
The first of the cakes arrived, kindly donated by Kerstin Schwartze. This one was chocolate and marzipan and didn’t last long
Next, we made our way down to the Bodfari field to start shooting the intros with presenters Bryony Billson and Mike Northwood. As soon as we stood in the field, a rainbow appeared. We took it as a good sign and sure enough the sun came out. This was the course, where the qualifying runs would be held.
Derek Fisher had travelled all the way from Idaho, USA. He made his way to North Wales via Ireland to survey the course for the next day.
Peter Melling and crew set up the camera and sound equipment. We borrowed Ceri’s dog, Glan y Gors Jen for the shoot and Bryony and Mike leapt into action.
Glan y Gors Jen seemed pretty happy with Bryony, her new career on screen and with the blue sky above.
Mike and Bryony soon got into the swing of presenting together once again and the banter began!
That evening, we were invited to attend a welcome buffet at stunning 5 star Pentre Mawr Country House
Set in over 200 acres of parkland, woods and meadows, we dined like lords inside a beautifully decorated marquee and were warmly welcomed by hosts Bre and Graham.
After a delicious home-cooked supper, the handlers picked a sheep and turned it upside down to reveal a number and find out which group they were in the next day. As Mike said “you get one chance – no replays!”
Each handler was presented with a matching baseball cap and a Keela gilet, embroidered with the eye-catching ‘A Way with Dogs’ branding.
It’s fair to say everyone liked them a lot! Here’s Sergio Perello. Ricky Hutchinson & Meg Jenkins showing appreciation!
The trophies created by Logan Whistles were set out for all to admire. One for the winner to keep and one for the presentation by the two judges – Sue Main and Andy Jackman. Who will win..?
Day 2, Qualifying Rounds blog post is coming soon…