LOWDOWN Summer 2008 page 29

AIRMAN’S GRAVE ☆ Ashdown Forest:
THE HOLLIES CAR PARK - 13th April 2008 ☆ Tony Roberts

(Ed. Jean and Dusty could not attend this walk because of a conflicting engagement. Also, Rosemary and Frankie were absent as they attended the BHC AGM in the Midlands with Michael - so here is my report).

‘Three fine days and a thunder storm’ - the old joke definition of a British summer, would not be an inappropriate way to describe the morning of this spring walk.

Seven couple (sorry, fourteen hounds - please see footnote) turned up with their appropriate handlers and set off in an exuberant manner down the hillside towards the Airman’s Grave. Though chilly in the wind, the sun was shinning and the hounds were excited at getting together again.

At the bottom of the hill, a place which whatever the season seems forever wet, they made full benefit of the chance to have a mud bath. It was a lovely sight to witness. When fully sodden, they climbed up the hill to the right. Halfway up, all hell broke out, as both man and dog were subjected to a very heavy hail storm. This part of the high Weald is very exposed and in no time owners matched their hounds in looking bedraggled. Pam, resembling a Sherpa herself in a fetching hat with earflaps, remarked about it being like a walk in the Himalayas. She’s very imaginative - the views to Nutley not really looking very similar to those of Hindu Kush. But even so, this did instil in us a feeling of adventure.

Just when we thought it could get no worse, we were all startled by a massive flash of forked-lightning accompanied by a loud crash of thunder. This unsettled some of the hounds. Equally, some of us on two legs were unsettled when Chris mentioned the metal plate in his head, and we decided it wise to give him a wide berth. Apparently, this was only his little joke - though it could explain a few things.

At the top of the rise the storm abated and walkers and hounds looped back to the car park in full sun, slowly drying-out and with much merriment - a great and memorable walk. Well done everyone!

Several members found locating this walk difficult and afterwards I was contacted by a member who drove around the forest but was completely unable to find ‘The Hollies’ car park. Our apologies to him for not making the directions to this venue easier. In the winter issue of LOWDOWN we hope to include new and clearer maps for all our walks. Also, in this issue, for ‘Sat Nav’ owners we have included postcodes for most of the venues.

Footnote: Traditionally, hounds were always counted in ‘couple’, that is, two dogs. So our 14 hounds are 7 couple (always singular). 15 hounds would be 7½ couple etc. This numbering system was borrowed from the hunting community by the branch in the early days to give the number of hounds on the walks. I would love to see us revive this practice - this is a part of the heritage that comes with our breed.

A small point, I know, but what do you think? Please let LOWDOWN know your opinion.

I hope these issues are resolved by information provided here on the EVENTS page and on the pages dedicated to each event on the website. Any problems please email me and I will do my best to sort the problem out.

(Ed. Jean and Dusty could not attend this walk because of a conflicting engagement. Also, Rosemary and Frankie were absent as they attended the BHC AGM in the Midlands with Michael - so here is my report).

‘Three fine days and a thunder storm’ - the old joke definition of a British summer, would not be an inappropriate way to describe the morning of this spring walk.

Seven couple (sorry, fourteen hounds - please see footnote) turned up with their appropriate handlers and set off in an exuberant manner down the hillside towards the Airman’s Grave. Though chilly in the wind, the sun was shinning and the hounds were excited at getting together again.

At the bottom of the hill, a place which whatever the season seems forever wet, they made full benefit of the chance to have a mud bath. It was a lovely sight to witness. When fully sodden, they climbed up the hill to the right. Halfway up, all hell broke out, as both man and dog were subjected to a very heavy hail storm. This part of the high Weald is very exposed and in no time owners matched their hounds in looking bedraggled. Pam, resembling a Sherpa herself in a fetching hat with earflaps, remarked about it being like a walk in the Himalayas. She’s very imaginative - the views to Nutley not really looking very similar to those of Hindu Kush. But even so, this did instil in us a feeling of adventure.

Just when we thought it could get no worse, we were all startled by a massive flash of forked-lightning accompanied by a loud crash of thunder. This unsettled some of the hounds. Equally, some of us on two legs were unsettled when Chris mentioned the metal plate in his head, and we decided it wise to give him a wide berth. Apparently, this was only his little joke - though it could explain a few things.

At the top of the rise the storm abated and walkers and hounds looped back to the car park in full sun, slowly drying-out and with much merriment - a great and memorable walk. Well done everyone!

Several members found locating this walk difficult and afterwards I was contacted by a member who drove around the forest but was completely unable to find ‘The Hollies’ car park. Our apologies to him for not making the directions to this venue easier. In the winter issue of LOWDOWN we hope to include new and clearer maps for all our walks. Also, in this issue, for ‘Sat Nav’ owners we have included postcodes for most of the venues.

Footnote: Traditionally, hounds were always counted in ‘couple’, that is, two dogs. So our 14 hounds are 7 couple (always singular). 15 hounds would be 7½ couple etc. This numbering system was borrowed from the hunting community by the branch in the early days to give the number of hounds on the walks. I would love to see us revive this practice - this is a part of the heritage that comes with our breed.

A small point, I know, but what do you think? Please let LOWDOWN know your opinion.

I hope these issues are resolved by information provided here on the EVENTS page and on the pages dedicated to each event on the website. Any problems please email me and I will do my best to sort the problem out.

Cover of the Basset Hound Owners Club newsletter Lowdown

first published in LOWDOWN

editor Tony Roberts

 Airman’s Grave