Joe Wear

In the section Hunt Songs, there is a song  The Six Fell Packs. I was lucky enough to know or meet three of the huntsmen named. Anthony Chapman and Johnny Richardson are mentioned elsewhere on the site, so that leaves Joe Wear.

Joe Wear hunted the Ullswater Foxhounds for a good number of years, retiring at the end of the 1970/71 season; in fact he was only the 4th huntsman the pack had had since the amalgamation of the Patterdale and Matterdale hounds in 1873. Perhaps I have not mentioned the fact previously but a fell pack was there to kill foxes, 'sport' being a secondary consideration, unlike some mounted packs where the huntsman was expected to show 'sport'.

At killing foxes Joe was one of the best as the records show. We went "ower t' top" (over the Kirkstone Pass) to hunt with the "Ullswatter" a few times but I'd never been introduced to the great man, only watched him in action so to speak .

It was at Rydal Hound Show where I was introduced to him, a few years before his retirement. A squat, incredibly powerful man.

"This is my lad, Joe," said my father.

He shook my hand. "Dusta like hunting?" he said.

"Aye, Mr Wear."

"Good lad," he replied patting my head. I still have the dent in my skull to this day, such was the power of his hand. Goodness only knows what he did to one of his prize winning hounds later in the day!

A short story perhaps, but to me it was the equivalent of a child of today meeting Beckham.

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