by Martin Shepherd


I suppose my Kelso weekend starts with a feeling of relief with the knowledge that before too long my journey northwards, having passed the Preston area is a joy in itself, driving in light traffic and passing through some glorious Cumbrian countryside. The journey continues on the A7 scenic route, through the market towns of Longtown, Langholm (ideal for a doggy stop) and on through Hawick, Denholm, by-passing Jedburgh, and then completing the last ten miles or so into Kelso.

The venue, Springwood Park, provides unsurpassed facilities for the forthcoming event, having acres of grassland crossed by numerous hard tracks and possessing well serviced shower and toilet blocks and a large function hall, all within a secure cartilage.

On arrival you are given a welcome pack, usually containing items to remind you that this is Scotland and often some essentials you forgot.
Once directed to your spot, I would advise that you get your pitch organised then you can enjoy an evening of quiet socialising and catching up with friends old and new.

The following day, be prepared to be awakened by the dogs vocalising with each other and if you manage to doze through this I can guarantee that the skirl of Murray on his bagpipes will bring you to life; again a reminder that you’ve crossed the border.


Saturday brings on the show itself and like the entire weekend organised with aplomb by a committee who I sometimes wish were running for parliament, they would certainly get my vote anyway. The dog show itself opens with the carters being piped into the ring, a wonderful and moving spectacle. I’ll not dwell on the format of the dog show itself, we are all familiar with this, but must make mention of the thought that goes into the token prizes for all class placements and need it be said, the gorgeous tartan rosettes, (well, what else would you expect?)

What certainly deserves a mention is the well stocked breed stand full of Bernese goodies and some obscure items that won’t be seen elsewhere. The show itself ends with a parade of the winners and George Wilson, after asking for a show of appreciation for the judges and stewards announce the start time of ‘THE NIGHT DO’.





Be late at your peril. Whilst there is an ample and varied food choice available from the excellent buffet, arriving late can put you at the back of a queue of about 200 or so, leaving you unable for the moment to satisfy the appetite that has built up during the events of the day. (If you didn’t grab a butty at the burger grille earlier).


Plates empty, the evening moves swiftly on to the fancy dress, children first, followed by the adults, most acting like children anyway, most if not all acting what I can only describe as daft as daft can possibly be.



Following this, sides sore with laughter, we now have the spectacle of George unashamedly imploring us to part with our hard earned brass, by inviting bids for auction items, in what I can only describe as the George Wilson floorshow. As he warms to his cause, watch the colour come to his face, the veins swell in his neck, his voice rising at every bid until reaching fever pitch when accepting the final bid.


The evening continues with a lively disco before ending with a joining of hands by all, partaking in a boisterous and energetic rendition of ‘Auld Lang Syne’.




Sunday, although this year wisely cancelled due to the adverse weather conditions, has in the past and will no doubt offer again, an opportunity for the ‘also ran’s` of the previous day and their ‘not for competition’ contemporaries, together with a host of other breeds, to show their prowess in the skills of tail wagging, biscuit catching, and amongst a variety of other ‘skills’ enticing the judge to vote them the dog they would want to take home.

Again, prizes and
trophies are offered, before the weekend’s events are brought to a close by George and Agnes offering their thanks on behalf of themselves and their committee colleagues, for the support of all attendees and an invitation to come again next year.


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