What a wonderful day we had. Thanks to the Western Gazette and other papers some 27 hounds (I lost count) and about 40 walkers enjoyed a fabulous day out around this beautiful village and hills. We made a lot of new friends who came from all over Dorset – and even from Maidstone – which is almost in France . . . Half the village came out, it was like being pop stars: I've never seen so many cameras. And lots came from all over the county : " We used to have a Basset: we just had to come." If anyone had brought along a litter they'd have been sold out in five minutes.
Tearing ourselves away we ambled out of the village to admire, or envy, the Giant in all his glory. One of our group admitted to having sat on his anatomy (is that the right word?) to gain increased fertility. (These witches spells don't work, Sue).
The grass (and mud) was covered in frost but sparkling clear with not a breath of wind all day. Crossing the road the hounds were let off and tore round making friends. Despite a gateway deep with mud and some with rather light footwear, we all walked along and up to the Wessex Ridgway, with only Matilda doing her best to follow a lone deer into the woods and beyond.
Catching a breather at the top we then spread out across unploughed fields to drop gently down to the tiny hamlet of Up Cerne where we cast covetous eyes on the gorgeous 16th century manor, which together with the church (now private) is owned by an Austrian diplomat. (As someone said: do the Austrian taxpayers know?)
Some of the group took the lane back to Cerne from here while the rest of us enjoyed our lunch spread along a stream bank. From here there was a steepish climb up to the ridge and along with glorious views across the valley. We then dropped down the hill, past the Giant, to enjoy a welcome Dorset Cream Tea (some of us succumbed to eat a Giant Cream Tea).
The pack behaved themselves very well. Dr Watson must have been a little off-colour but he had eaten a Morrison's chicken (cooked) this week to revive him (mine have to make do with Chappie). Guest dogs: a couple of Labs, a beagle and not forgetting Alfred the Great, a wee terrier, also joined in the fun.
So what else did we learn?
Bassets can be trained. One of our new members claimed that her hound had gained two certificates for obedience and agility. Well, now that is something. Mind you I'd like to see a photo, signed by two sober magistrates.
(Photo Richard Hartley-Sharpe above and below)
Lunch at Up Cerne
Barney, or is this Clyde? Unusual feathered throwback. (Some say the breeders put these down at birth . . . I certainly wouldn't)
Stuart . . . and he never offered to wash my Matilda.
See you next time