In the Autumn of 2001 we started to look for mate for Pip (Canouan Absoloodle Doodle).. We were trying to consolidate the Cliffhill and Wardhill lines in our pedigree, and this was not really possible in the UK. Several days of surfing the internet later we came across Ch Streamsides Kingfisher (Kinko).
Kinko was bred by Wenche Farstad (Streamsides Kennel Norway) and is now owned by Irene Jauhonen (Kennel Fariinin Finland). We had no knowledge of Kinko, but remembered his father - ShCh, NuCh DkuCh Chaigmarsh Orchid. We asked our friend, and the source of encouragement behind this project, Peter Olsson - (Qvarnhill Kennel Sweden), and were told, in his words, that Kinko was "a really smart dog". The idea was born.

Show Awards:
2 x BOB Puppy
BIS-2 Puppy
BOS Puppy
4 x Reserve-C.C.
3 x C.C.
Best Of Breed

Working Test Awards:
2 x Open Class 1
Won 2 x Northern Finland's Spaniel Club Challenge Trophy
(Best Spaniel and Springer Spaniel of the test)
Passed working test for Champion Title

So to arrange Pip's Passport was the next step. Kinko was already hip, eye and fucosidosis tested, as was Pip Six months later we had the Pet Passport in our possession, and began to plan the trip.
Pip was due in season in July/August 2003 and this was the date that we concentrated on. The next problem was how to get the two dogs together. It was not possible at the time to fly dogs to Finland from the UK. We asked Wenche about the possibility of using AI, but would of course prefer to take Pip to Kinko. We investigated the possibility of driving to Finland from Dover. As luck would have it in the following few months DEFRA accepted Helsinki as an approved port for the Pet Passport Scheme. Kinko and Irene live in the North of Finland, a long way from Helsinki, and the travelling aspect seemed to be becoming more and more difficult.

We had not banked on Finnish helpfulness and hospitality however, and with Mervi Nousiainen (Kennel Hightides) and Maarit and Ilkka Nurmia's (Kennel Marmade) invaluable help, Finnair's 100% co-operation, a great many telephone calls, and emails, and a near nervous breakdown, it was on a summer's day in July 2003 that Pip and I found ourselves at London Heathrow Airport. Tickets and Passports in hand we were ready for our adventure almost two years since we first discovered Kinko.
Pip was a big hit with the guys at Finnair Cargo, apart from the fact they put her on the luggage carousel, and in Helsinki Airport Arrivals we were met by Maarit and Ilkka, and found Pip who had recovered from her "round Trip" exceedingly well!

The following day we met with Mervi, Irene, and of course Kinko at the Marmade Kennel, took advice from a Finnish Guru, had a summer barbecue and mated Pip. We were also introduced to Maarit's two gorgeous bitches, Liinu (Int & Fin & Est & Lv Ch, LvW-01, BaltW-01 Marmade Déjà Vu) and Demi (Marmade Extremely Kind). We trimmed the girls the "English" way which must have been acceptable as Demi went out and won a ticket the following weekend.
A really enjoyable weekend had to come to an end, and our return home was not uneventful! I have a total horror of paperwork and when Maarit and I arrived at Finnair Cargo for the return home there seemed to be a problem. Fortunately I do not understand a word of Finnish, for as Maarit explained to me afterwards Finnair were expecting Pip's flight to be confirmed, when I had been to led to believe that this was confirmed from London. They allowed us on the flight however and Kevan and I were relieved to find that on arrival in London Pip was safely at the Pet Reception Centre, processed and ready for her short drive home.
The result of this trip is "The Vikings". Whose Father is a Norwegian living in Finland, and whose Mother is one of the sweetest English Springer's it has ever been my privilege to know.
"Paula" (left) and "Pomo" (right) at three days old
"Pomo" (left) and "Paula" (right) at three weeks
There are a number of people to whom they owe their existence and we would like to thank them publicly:
Wenche Farstad - who bred Kinko and was truly helpful in the first instance.
Peter Olsson - without who's encouragement and by line (we sort it out) we would never have had the courage to make the trip.
Irene Jauhonen -Kinko's owner who made the long drive from Lappland to Helsinki, and despite the language difficulty did everything she could to ensure a successful mating.
Mervi Nousiainen - who co-ordinated the whole trip from her end, and is one of the most helpful and positive people I have ever met.
Maarit and Ilkka Nurmia- who welcomed us at their lovely home, met us at the airport, and made our stay such a happy one.
And finally Jean and the late Doug Shepherd for letting us have "Winsie" all those years ago, and for breeding such exceptional dogs that we set out to consolidate in our breeding program no matter what the hurdles we might face along the way.
A final note about the journey. It took less time to travel from Dorset to Helsinki than it does to travel from Dorset to Edinburgh! You don't have to go around Birmingham!
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© Canouan English Springer Spaniels 2000/2004