W3C "Whoo git away, git away, git away" MEMORIES


...cried the huntsman, that cold, Boxing Day morning with a rag frost on the ground, as the hounds struck the line of a fox, their excited cry carrying to the group of hunt followers standing on the top of the crag, a good mile away. Specks of white against the brown background of dead bracken the hounds were easily visible and coming towards us at a fast pace. I took my binoculars and began to scan the fellside ahead of the oncoming hounds; it didn't take long to find the fox dodging and weaving across the fell side. He came to an old wall running across his path and, with a bound, jumped onto the top and ran along it.

Some considerable distance later he sprang sideways, landing quite some distance out from the wall in a small piece of marshy ground and continued his journey through the bracken beds away from the hounds. By now the hounds had arrived at the wall and for a moment their music ceased as they lost the scent. With no one present to offer guidance, what to do next was up to them and they split up questing the area around the wall. An occasional bark carried across the fell side. The huntsman appeared on a small distant crag and added some vocal encouragement to the proceedings; finally a hound jumped on the wall top and picked up the scent, the remainder of the pack alerted by his bark divided to cover both sides of the wall and set off in the opposite direction to that taken by the fox. The huntsman became more animated and joined several followers who cried, "Heel way".

After what seemed an age, the hounds turned and resumed the chase in the right direction but the delay had allowed the fox to put quite some distance between him and the pursuing pack. We raced along the track in a futile effort to keep up with the hunt moving quickly along the fell side beneath. Finally common sense prevailed and our pace slowed, beads of sweat on several brows were mopped and the air was filled with the sounds of gasping for breath.

Pausing, on top of a small crag to the side of the track, we looked down into the valley beneath, the line of stationary traffic on the road, beside the lake, indicated that the hunt had just passed, hound music carried back to where we stood and the binoculars revealed the pack climbing the steep slopes of the fell opposite in a strung out line.

"It's crossed," somebody said, stating the obvious. The fox was tiring now, a big first season's cub, although it had been chased before. Time spent hanging round the local hen houses had seen to that and on more than one occasion it had returned to the fell pursued by a motley collection of local mongrels and curs. The fox was on unfamiliar terrain now and tiring rapidly, suddenly it turned and began to descend the fellside. Afterwards a line of walkers on the ridge high above would be blamed, for "baulking it" but the truth is probably that a local farmer's sheep dog engaged in rounding up sheep nearby was the cause, but you can't blame one of your own, can you?

Whoever was responsible for this unexpected turn of events mattered not as the fox descended the steep, rock covered fellside with the hounds by now in close pursuit. The road caused not the slightest reduction in pace but a car full of followers got a closer view than they expected as the fox and hounds crossed the road directly ahead of them.

The fox, by now well pumped out, tried to make for a borran under a line of small crags high above the road but as it tried to leap a wall the hounds caught it and in seconds it was all over.

WSAWebsite manager

Unless stated otherwise all images and text on this site are copyright of the owner and may not be reproduced without permission.
Site created: 20.04.08 © Cumbrian Lad 2008-2017. All rights reserved. Email me