Training Weekend December 2015

This weekend marked the SARDA Scotland Christmas Meal Weekend and, unlike previous years, we decided to change location to the Isle of Skye – Carbost and the hospitality of the Old Inn.

On Friday night Storm Desmond arrived in the North West of Scotland with promises of 70 plus miles per hour wind and heavy rain. We were assured that, as the wind was coming from the South West, that the Skye bridge would remain open, despite the wind warning.

Various handlers who had managed to get the day off on Friday, managed most of the journey in daylight. In true tradition of a staff night out, there were ‘Secret Santa’ fun and games planned for Saturday night.  Our usual Santa was otherwise engaged, although I am not sure if he would be getting to wear his orange flying suit at work with all that wind about.


moody skies

Moody skies

With a very suitable replacement ‘Santa’ found – everything was in place. However, Desmond decided otherwise and those making it up on the Friday evening reported waterfalls running up hill, cars being pushed backwards by the wind and reduction in speed to twenty miles per hour. Others  were simply  unable to make it past floods, bridge closures and landslides.  Thankfully, the West coast of Scotland is well equipped to cope with such dilemmas,  and diversions (albeit lengthy ones), were in place for some, including depute Santa on Saturday. Others decided that the huge effort outweighed the risk and stayed at home. These were later put on standby for the Borders and Cumbria floods.

The Old Inn was a very  enjoyable place to be on Friday evening, as local people were playing music, and after a comfortable night’s sleep in the bunkhouse, Saturday arrived. There was no rush for handlers, assessors and ‘bodies’ to go out to the areas in the inclement conditions, but the dogs were keen and needs must.

After a few hard hours on the hill we all piled back to the bunkhouse – it was  great to get back to the warmth and the dogs were mega happy  as they had good fun in the cool wet conditions which meant really good conditions for scenting and long ‘strikes’ on the ‘bodies’. The last few training weekends have been remarkably windless.

Just when everyone had warmed up again, Depute Santa arrived and wanted to go out for some training with his young dog, and so a few hardy souls volunteered to go back out into the cold again.  Santa was very grateful, but managed to wiggle his way out of his Santa duties that evening, as so many presents were missing, he decided to defer the present giving until January!

The Old Inn Carbost,  came up trumps with a lovely meal followed by a raffle and great music from the Banana Session.  Various donations were also received from local businesses.  A big thank you to you all for your efforts.

The Old Inn is dog friendly and as such, we were asked if we would bring all the dogs inside for a photograph.  This was arranged for Sunday morning and the dogs did well to stay still for long enough.

Old Inn Carbost

Old Inn Carbost

This year SARDA Scotland celebrated 50 years, and Talisker Distillery made a generous contribution towards the event.  What better way to say thank you than to visit for another photo opportunity. The dogs were well behaved and happy to pose with the Distillery Manager.

Talisker Distillery

Talisker Distillery

Another good session ensued up the hill with some wind, some snow and some rainbows, before the journey home.

Stay safe out there and have a Very Happy Christmas.

By the way Dear Santa for Christmas I would like……   but I may get it in January!














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