LOWDOWN Winter 2011 page 32

WALK GILL’S LAP ASHDOWN FOREST

24th October 2011 by Tony Roberts

Jean, our walks’ co-ordinator, could not attend this walk as she was expecting friends visiting from London.

Jean, our walks’ co-ordinator, could not attend this walk as she was expecting friends visiting from London.

Frankie and I (with Pablo and Nico) eagerly headed towards this popular walk on a wonderful sunny, autumn morning. It was a little windy, but the chilly air seemed fresh and healthy to be in.

We arrived early at the car park, but were soon joined by the Wilsons - brand new members from Leatherhead together with their three Basset Hounds and a PBGV.

Bertie, one of the Basset trio, will play a major part as our report unfolds.

Twenty-five hounds finally arrived at the venue, including more members attending their first walk - the Mitchinsons with Major Tom. It was very good to see them all.

Brian rang Dusty’s Bell and our merry band set out across the Forest.

All the hounds seemed especially lively and excited at seeing each other.

We followed our normal route along the east pathway, yet in no time at all the group had become a little stretched out, forming front and rear clusters, with many hounds running back and forth between the two. They all behaved impeccably well when a lady on a very pretty horse rode by - evidently amused by the low hounds.

It seemed from my front position that each time we in the front party stopped for the rear to catch up, then so did they.

From the distant shouts, we suspected that an adventurous hound had broken away from the others. This was confirmed when we halted at a small copse at the bottom of the hill and were finally joined by some from the rear group.

In fact, when we checked for absentees, Mollie had also absconded.

Judy and Frankie decided to backtrack the way we had come, while the rest of us continued along the normal route - everyone keeping an eagle-eye out for rogue Bassets.

We discovered sheep grazing behind electric fencing in an area normally free from such distractions. All hounds were put on leads as we made our way, firstly along a fairly level pathway which allowed us to see some wonderful views of the high Weald; and secondly, climbing two steep inclines which eventually back to the car park.

It was a great relief to see that Mollie was united with Judy and Speckles. However, newcomer Bertie Wilson, was still worryingly absent.

He had been spotted going to another car park and then crossing the road into woods.

The Wilsons were following up reports of various sightings. The Branch committee swung into action, Brian and Frankie reported the lost hound to a Forest Ranger who had appeared at Gill’s Lap car park. Notes were written and left on parked cars. Mobile contact numbers were exchanged and Chris and Jayne Cooper set off on foot to help the search. Frankie and I drove around the locality for a while hoping for a sighting. But, all to no avail.

Bertie’s owner takes up the story.

Debs Wilson writes:

Clearly this is an experience that every owner dreads - and the trauma of it was awful especially as the afternoon wore on and fewer and fewer sightings of him by walkers. Adrenalin kept us going and a determination that we would find him kept us driving, walking and looking.

As it got later and the sun beginning to fade, a dreadful realisation set in that the area to search was enormous and that if he were to be lying injured in the forest no-one would know. I couldn’t imagine leaving the area without him and refused to contemplate going home, but knew the time would come.

Just as desperation was setting in, it was then that I took the best call ever - Bertie was safe!

Then just to find Pete who was out on foot and by then he was not exactly sure where he was - when I asked him for a landmark to find him by, he said “trees”!!!

Ten minutes later, with husband safely in the car, we headed off to collect Bertie.

Here is Bertie's version of events:

“I thought I would make the most of the moment when Pete took his eye off me and I could follow another family down a different track. Scrumpy came with me for a bit, but she heard him call and went back - she’s such a goodie-goodie. Well, I got the scent of deer just needing to be chased. This was the best fun - I am normally on the lead when there are animals around - Debs always says I might upset the animals - so this was pure heaven.

Lots of walkers said I looked like I was having a lot of fun - and I was for a while..... but then I got lost. I couldn’t find Scrumpy or Mini so I kept going, but then I got sore feet and I got more and more tired.

I’m not really sure what happened then, but after a long a while a very nice family and their dog found me in Hundred Acre Wood and took me home to their lovely warm house.

They rang Debs - I heard them tell her that I was very quiet and in shock. By then my feet were really hurting and I was so tired, so all I wanted to do was lie down and snooze. But, but it was so good to see them that I didn’t mind getting up to go home - slowly and limping and they said I looked as thought I had spent a few weeks on the street.

Drawing by Sheila Williams©2011

Drawing by Sheila Williams©2011

I was very tired when we got home, but they checked me over, and bathed my cut paws. That was yesterday, and today Pete took me to the vet for a check up.

Thankfully, I have no real injuries, just nasty cuts on three paws, and the vet says I will have to wear socks until they heal.

Time for another snooze........”


Debs writes, again:

What helped us was having phones with lots of charge and a reasonable map of the area - though an O/S Pathfinder would have been even better.

We always have several spare leads in the car, and although we didn’t need them in the end, it meant that we could all take a spare in case we were them one to find him.

Speaking to as many people as possible gave us the best chance of getting an update of a ‘sighting’ and these were consistent with the direction in which Bertie was found.

We are very grateful to everyone for their help and good wishes.

Bertie says he is very sorry for all the trouble he caused.


(Ed. We can all learn something from this episode. Pete and Debs had been wise enough to have their mobile numbers engraved on the Bertie’s collar tag. Many of us only have our home contact. This demonstrates just how useful mobile phone contacts are when we are on walks or on holidays with our hounds, and experience problems away from home.

Also, what good foresight it was that the Wilsons had their mobile phone battery chargers with them. The search lasted several fraught hours and one can image easily exhausting the phones’ batteries making calls over this time.

Anyhow, it is wonderful that the story had a happy end. Well done, to everyone who helped.)

Lowdown Winter 2011/12 Contents
Gill’s Lap walk ☞



Jean, our walks’ co-ordinator, could not attend this walk as she was expecting friends visiting from London.

Jean, our walks’ co-ordinator, could not attend this walk as she was expecting friends visiting from London.

Frankie and I (with Pablo and Nico) eagerly headed towards this popular walk on a wonderful sunny, autumn morning. It was a little windy, but the chilly air seemed fresh and healthy to be in.

We arrived early at the car park, but were soon joined by the Wilsons - brand new members from Leatherhead together with their three Basset Hounds and a PBGV.

Bertie, one of the Basset trio, will play a major part as our report unfolds.

Twenty-five hounds finally arrived at the venue, including more members attending their first walk - the Mitchinsons with Major Tom. It was very good to see them all.

Brian rang Dusty’s Bell and our merry band set out across the Forest.

All the hounds seemed especially lively and excited at seeing each other.

We followed our normal route along the east pathway, yet in no time at all the group had become a little stretched out, forming front and rear clusters, with many hounds running back and forth between the two. They all behaved impeccably well when a lady on a very pretty horse rode by - evidently amused by the low hounds.

It seemed from my front position that each time we in the front party stopped for the rear to catch up, then so did they.

From the distant shouts, we suspected that an adventurous hound had broken away from the others. This was confirmed when we halted at a small copse at the bottom of the hill and were finally joined by some from the rear group.

In fact, when we checked for absentees, Mollie had also absconded.

Judy and Frankie decided to backtrack the way we had come, while the rest of us continued along the normal route - everyone keeping an eagle-eye out for rogue Bassets.

We discovered sheep grazing behind electric fencing in an area normally free from such distractions. All hounds were put on leads as we made our way, firstly along a fairly level pathway which allowed us to see some wonderful views of the high Weald; and secondly, climbing two steep inclines which eventually back to the car park.

It was a great relief to see that Mollie was united with Judy and Speckles. However, newcomer Bertie Wilson, was still worryingly absent.

He had been spotted going to another car park and then crossing the road into woods.

The Wilsons were following up reports of various sightings. The Branch committee swung into action, Brian and Frankie reported the lost hound to a Forest Ranger who had appeared at Gill’s Lap car park. Notes were written and left on parked cars. Mobile contact numbers were exchanged and Chris and Jayne Cooper set off on foot to help the search. Frankie and I drove around the locality for a while hoping for a sighting. But, all to no avail.

Bertie’s owner takes up the story.

Debs Wilson writes:

Clearly this is an experience that every owner dreads - and the trauma of it was awful especially as the afternoon wore on and fewer and fewer sightings of him by walkers. Adrenalin kept us going and a determination that we would find him kept us driving, walking and looking.

As it got later and the sun beginning to fade, a dreadful realisation set in that the area to search was enormous and that if he were to be lying injured in the forest no-one would know. I couldn’t imagine leaving the area without him and refused to contemplate going home, but knew the time would come.

Just as desperation was setting in, it was then that I took the best call ever - Bertie was safe!

Then just to find Pete who was out on foot and by then he was not exactly sure where he was - when I asked him for a landmark to find him by, he said “trees”!!!

Ten minutes later, with husband safely in the car, we headed off to collect Bertie.

Here is Bertie's version of events:

“I thought I would make the most of the moment when Pete took his eye off me and I could follow another family down a different track. Scrumpy came with me for a bit, but she heard him call and went back - she’s such a goodie-goodie. Well, I got the scent of deer just needing to be chased. This was the best fun - I am normally on the lead when there are animals around - Debs always says I might upset the animals - so this was pure heaven.

Lots of walkers said I looked like I was having a lot of fun - and I was for a while..... but then I got lost. I couldn’t find Scrumpy or Mini so I kept going, but then I got sore feet and I got more and more tired.

I’m not really sure what happened then, but after a long a while a very nice family and their dog found me in Hundred Acre Wood and took me home to their lovely warm house.

They rang Debs - I heard them tell her that I was very quiet and in shock. By then my feet were really hurting and I was so tired, so all I wanted to do was lie down and snooze. But, but it was so good to see them that I didn’t mind getting up to go home - slowly and limping and they said I looked as thought I had spent a few weeks on the street.

Drawing by Sheila Williams©2011

I was very tired when we got home, but they checked me over, and bathed my cut paws. That was yesterday, and today Pete took me to the vet for a check up.

Thankfully, I have no real injuries, just nasty cuts on three paws, and the vet says I will have to wear socks until they heal.

Time for another snooze........”


Debs writes, again:

What helped us was having phones with lots of charge and a reasonable map of the area - though an O/S Pathfinder would have been even better.

We always have several spare leads in the car, and although we didn’t need them in the end, it meant that we could all take a spare in case we were them one to find him.

Speaking to as many people as possible gave us the best chance of getting an update of a ‘sighting’ and these were consistent with the direction in which Bertie was found.

We are very grateful to everyone for their help and good wishes.

Bertie says he is very sorry for all the trouble he caused.


(Ed. We can all learn something from this episode. Pete and Debs had been wise enough to have their mobile numbers engraved on the Bertie’s collar tag. Many of us only have our home contact. This demonstrates just how useful mobile phone contacts are when we are on walks or on holidays with our hounds, and experience problems away from home.

Also, what good foresight it was that the Wilsons had their mobile phone battery chargers with them. The search lasted several fraught hours and one can image easily exhausting the phones’ batteries making calls over this time.

Anyhow, it is wonderful that the story had a happy end. Well done, to everyone who helped.)

Lowdown Winter 2011/12 Contents
Gill’s Lap walk ☞

first published in LOWDOWN

editor Tony Roberts