W3C Memorable Hunts   HUNTS

...and Other Sic [such] Like Doings

From time to time you come across interesting or unusual hunt reports in the archive. Here are some which caught my attention.

CONISTON FOXHOUNDS, GOOD HUNT OVER ROUGH GROUND.

Meeting at White Moss name, Rydal on Friday, the Coniston foxhounds enjoyed a tip–top days sport. Hounds have come in the best of condition, indeed they have seldom looked better, and with ordinary luck and favourable conditions should give a very good account of themselves this season. As is so often the case, October provided one of the finest hunting days of the year. The fine air, rare sunshine, and the autumn beauty of the landscape, all combined to attract a nice number of followers, who had plenty of exercise to keep in touch with hounds, owing to the character of the country covered.

Hounds searched the fell breast through the Hollins to above Beck Ghyll in Grasmere, where a line was struck which took through Stone Cove, Great Rigg, and Nettle Cove, then leading through Fairfield to Deepdale Head, where a fine burst of music proclaimed the unkennel.

Reynard took through the high ground towards Greenhow End into Deepdale Valley, over Lowwood, Hartsop, through Blake Brow to Dove Crag. Avoiding Dove crag borran he climbed the crag, over the top for the Cove. Hart Crag, and Fairfield and went to ground at Black Crag. On hunters arriving with Terriers, Crab and Tiny entered the borran to drive out their game or do battle. Out came a fresh fox which took through the breast and over Fairfield, holing at Cofa Pike. A bolt was effected and reynard made a fine hunt over St Sunday Crag to Greenbank in Deepdale, eventually going to ground in the head of the valley. The fox which proved to be a nice dog was drawn alive and dispatched. In the meantime the two terriers that had been left at Black Crag had worried their fox in as he refused to bolt. When drawn this one also proved to be a fine dog. The day provided a really good hunt over some of the roughest country in the Lake District.

Ullswater Foxhounds

The record day on Thursday was in two distinct phases, with three of the foxes killed in the open in Boredale and the other three in a series of rock holes above Birkfell earth. The hunt started when two were roused in Birkfell and ran back and forth in the thick juniper cover before heading over into Boredale. One lot ran round Boredale Head before turning their fox down the dale and killing near the vicarage, while another section covered much the same ground, crossed the dale near Common Side and turned in by Housty Brow to kill on the open. It was a combination of the two sections that eventually overtook a third fox in the beck. Meanwhile, in Birkfell, Huntsman Joe Wear had seen his hounds run a fox into a borran, which was unknown to him throughout his 33 years with the pack - a series of rock ginnels higher up than the usual sanctuary of Birkfell earth. A lot of work had to be done to get to the terriers, and by the time followers had returned to the place next day and finished the job, it was found that no fewer than three foxes had been accounted for underground.

8th November 1957

There was an equally spectacular hunt on Kirkstone on Saturday, with the fox crossing the roads on Kirkstone, Troutbeck or the Struggle seven or eight times before they killed him almost on the doorstep of Kirkstone Inn. The meet was at Brotherswater, and after taking a drag from Rough Sides across the road to High Dod End. Needless put off a fox which went through Red Screes by Petts Quarry, over into Scandale, back into Red Screes, across the top of the pass into Woundle, down by Broad How, Troutbeck Park. Climbed across the road at Hillstep, over Wansfell, back across the road into Woundale and then into a borran at Broad End above Kirkstone top. After some time he was bolted and there was another flying hunt across the Kirkstone road at Red Pit and through Red Screes before reynard crossed the road once again for Woundle, but they turned him down to the inn and overhauled him.

A greyhound fox type run.

3rd January 1958

Airedale Beagles

This noted pack paid its 14th annual visit to the Ullswater district at the weekend. The huntsman Mr. Robin Teasdale is the second son of Mr. and Mrs. John Teasdale, Home Farm, Glenridding, and who before being appointed huntsman to this pack was the whip under the veteran huntsman Joe Bowman, of Ullswater fame. On Saturday, they met at Dockray, in stormy weather, but in spite of this there was the usual large gathering. A strong hare was found at Hollows, and lost no time crossing the allotment for the Knotts. Out on the open fell, she led the beagles a merry dance over to Cockley Moor and left handed to the Matterdale Common road. Speeding on to Wolf Crag, with hounds in full cry the field was left far in the rear, but when Teasdale arrived at Threlkeld Pastures hounds had lost. In view of the wretched conditions the hunt was called off.

Ideal conditions favoured the second meet at Brotherswater Hotel on Monday and there was a big field. Low Wood was tried, but nothing was found until Deepdale Hall Park was reached. Here a fine fell hare was put up, and went away by Muddy Planting and How End for Low Wood. Once in the wood she cut out some baffling work for her followers, but hounds worked splendidly, and finally emerged from the wood and undergrowth at Old Wall Head. The hare proved to be one of the stoutest of her kind, for she followed the wall right out to the high fell as far as Black Crag on Deepdale Hall Fell – savouring of a fox hunt rather than a hare hunt. Hounds turned her down the Deepdale bottoms to Wall End meadows, and for some distance up the Park, before coming down again to Muddy Planting. It was here that hounds received their first check, but they went on to Deepdale Bridge, where she gained the main road and held it as far as Greenbank meadows. The hare was put up afresh in Menateen meadows, and with a renewed burst of speed crossed the main road back to Low Wood. Hounds were pressing her as she climbed over to the Park once more, but she put in a circle before they finally pulled her down near muddy how. So ended one of the finest hunts so far experienced in this district by the Beagles. The beagles were kennelled at Home Farm, through the kindness of the huntsman’s father, Mr. John Teasdale. LEVERET

18th March 1939

Fox Hunt with Guns

An unusual form of hunting was indulged in at Swindale on Friday. Foxes have lately been doing much damage among the poultry in Sleddale, Mardale and the district, and on Friday two hounds belonging to the Ullswater pack, along with several terriers and about half a dozen men armed with guns, went to Swindale. The result of the hunt was that two fine dog foxes were bagged near Bowder Crag both falling to gunshots.

Westmorland Gazette 1907

The memorable Saturday started with the meet at Chapel Stile and hounds struck a hunt as soon as they left the road at Walthwaite. They went straight over the top of Silver Howe and Grasmere and the fox crossed the bottom of Easedale Tarn as though for Deer Bields, but was turned in by Sour Milk Ghyll and put a round in by Blindtarn Moss before going into a drain near Brimmer Head to be bolted and overtaken. Meanwhile six or seven hounds were running a second fox in the Langdale side and after covering most of Raw Fell Breast, turned it in and killed above Robinson Place. Hounds were taken out at the top and at Blindtarn Moss put off fox No 3, which went through Silver Howe as far as Huntingstile, turned back for Langdale and into a drain at Walthwaite. This is a bad place from which no fox has been bolted for years, but on a day when everything was going right for the pack, out he came, crossed the road for Chapel Stile quarries, turned back by the road through the Langdale Estate, crossed the common, on by the police station and out by High Close to be overtaken there. As it was still only 12 30 hounds were taken on to Little Loughrigg and quickly had No 4 on the move, to drive him through above Skelwith Bridge where he went in to a drain and was also bolted and overtaken

25th October 1957

The Coniston have again had a quiet week among the foxes due to snow and poor scenting, but they had an unusual experience on Tuesday when hounds took a drag on Banniside in the Torver district, marked at an earth, and terriers bolted a big dog otter. He got into a stream and after hounds got over their early doubts as to what was afoot they joined in with a will and half an hour of water hunting ended in them killing. The otter weighed 28lbs, and as it was fully three miles from any water of consequence, must have been making an overland journey.

Three foxes in a day put the Lunesdale hounds in the news. They were at Carlingill last Thursday and on running a fox into a drain bolted and killed No 1. Terriers did not emerge and to cut a long story short two more foxes bolted and both were killed after sharp runs. A less pleasing incident occurred last Tuesday when hounds ran a fox from Greyrigg Coombs and were drawing near to Mabbin Crag when two shots rang out and the hound music ceased – someone with a peculiar idea of sport had shot the fox in front of the pack. No-one was seen but I am told the Lunesdale people have certain ideas on the matter.

31st January 1948

The weekend gales and rain made conditions intolerable for hunting and some meets had to be abandoned. The Ullswater Saturday fixture at Dockray was one of these. Monday provided the first hunt at Martindale since the area was cleared of explosives and two foxes roused at Allen Crag were both accounted for.

14th February 1948

One Friday in November, 1896, the Coniston hounds met near Stock Ghyll Force, Ambleside, to try for a fox that had been doing mischief near Strawberry Bank. A drag was soon found, which led into Skelgill Wood, from whence hounds went away on a strong line. The course taken was over the shoulder of Wansfell, down past the Old Grove, and away up the valley towards the ‘Highest House’; but before reaching this point the fox swung to the left, crossed the Kirkstone road, and went over the highest point of the Red Screes. Thence he made down to Cayston, where he ran completely round the head of Scandale on the wall, a manoeuvre by which he got rid of his pursuers for some time. But the huntsman and others, coming up, hounds were cast forward to High Pike, where he was again unkennelled among the crags. Making at once for the highest point, he crossed close to the ‘stone man’ on the top, and then sinking the hill went down into the Vale of Rydal.

The day was now growing cold and stormy, and scent was not good, but hounds persevered at a fair pace, driving him through Hart Crag on to the top of Fairfield. Here a bitter gale was blowing, and bringing up a thick mist. There was neither seeing nor hearing, and all the followers of the hunt could do was to collect all the stragglers they could, and set their faces towards home. Meanwhile some eight or nine hounds drove their fox away on to Helvellyn, and late in the afternoon they were heard coming down into Wythburn. Here they crossed the road close to their game, and in a short time recrossed it, climbing again a little way up Helvellyn. After a somewhat long check they were heard, for it was now too dark to see, running very hard; and then all was still. A search, with the aid of lanterns, for the fox proved fruitless, but hounds were got together, and kindly put up by the ‘landlord’ of the Nag's Head at Wythburn, the well-known hostelry close to the foot of Helvellyn. There have no doubt been longer runs than this, but few higher, as hounds went over the very tops of Red Screes, High Pike, and Fairfield, and were not very far from the summit of the mighty Helvellyn.

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