Teams from Four Nations will be competing in one of the gundog competitions at the first GWCT Welsh Game Fair to be held at the historic Vaynol Estate, Bangor from September 9-11.

National pride will be at stake when teams from Wales, England, Scotland and Ireland compete over two days – September 10 and 11. Each team member will have eight retrieves, with the dogs tested over the lake, island and fences at Vaynol.

The competition is restricted to Labrador gundogs only this year but there are plans to expand the competitions to other breeds in the future.

Friday, the opening day of the GWCT Welsh Game Fair, will also see an individual open test for up to 30 Labradors with their handlers each paying £20 to enter, which will cover entry to the event for three days. They will be competing for a first prize of £100.

The gundog section is being organised by Vikki Stanley from Deganwy, an experienced B-Panel retriever judge and former member of the Wales International Gundog Team. She has recruited two A-Panel judges for the competitions.

A retired Lancashire police officer, Vikki has been competing since 1988 and won the Chudleys Gundog Championship at the Midland Game Fair in 2019.

She owns five black Labradors and was inspired to start competing after watching her gamekeeper brother-in-law working his dogs. She now competes in around 40 competitions a year across the UK.

She has made up three field trial champions, competed regularly for Wales in international team events and judged across Europe.

A highlight of her competing career to date was wining the Chudleys Gundog Championship with her dog Pip at the fifth attempt, having been runner-up for the four previous years

“You never know what is going to happen on the day,” she said. “As always, Pip was fast. He went out in a straight line and picked every dummy cleanly. It all just came together for us.

“Winning is often down to chance, and the stars aligned for us that day. It was a very special day.”

Other highlights were coming fourth in the IGL Championships with her dog Bob in 2017 and representing Wales in 12 team events.

Her advice to all gundog competition newcomers, is: “Watch and learn. Attend as a helper. The rules and regulations are always changing so it is important to keep up to speed with what’s going on.

“If you remember basic etiquette like thanking judges and the host you cannot go wrong. Always ask questions – we do not bite. And enjoy your day.”

The GWCT Welsh Game Fair – – is set to be a celebration of the Welsh countryside country pursuits and conservation. Fishing, clay shooting, gundogs, game cookery, falconry, horses and hounds, as well as rural crafts, food and drink, will feature at the event.

In partnership with The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT), the three-day event is being organised by Stable Events Ltd, which also organises The Game Fair in Warwickshire and The GWCT Scottish Game Fair in Perthshire.

Money raised at the Welsh event will support the GWCT’s conservation based charitable work and give a welcome boost to the region, with tourism and visitors contributing to the local economy.

Leading Welsh celebrity chef and author Bryn Williams, originally from Denbigh, will be creating a bespoke menu for guests in a VIP Enclosure Restaurant – aptly named The White Park Restaurant after the famous Vaynol Cattle – and taking part in live, open-air cooking demonstrations throughout the weekend. The VIP Enclosure and restaurant are sponsored by Clogau, the iconic Welsh gold jewellery brand.

The GWCT Welsh Game Fair will bring together representatives from a range of conservation, farming, field sports and fishing bodies for debates on Welsh rural issues.

The aim is to foster greater communication and co-operation between sectors and promote the benefits of country pursuits and conservation to a wider audience.

Picture caption:

Vikki Stanley with her black Labradors.