W3C The Ullswater Thread   SONGS



The Ullswater Pack

Did you ever hear how the Ullswater Pack
Once hunted a fox on Helvellyn.
They ran him to Mardale and all the way back
The route Reynard took is past telling.
Bob Grisedale first viewed him on Blaeberry Crag
Bob’s hoaller re-echoed to Rydal
On hearing the summons the fox did not lag
He thought it best not to be idle.

Young Countess and Careless were first in the chase
Going nearly a mile a minute
For Matchem and Music too hot was the pace,
But Trixie and comrade were in it.
By Deepdale and Dovedale to Riggindale Straits
(Perhaps you will say I’m a liar)
Up Welter and Kidsty that fox never waits
A stayer and also a flier!

Through Martindale Forrest by Patterdale Kirk,
To Catsy and Swirrel and Striding,
Where Bowman was waiting with Fury and Turk
The fox could not creep into hiding
They killed in the open, and oh what a din
From valley and mountain resounded!
Then home with out prize to the White Lion Inn
Where beer and good vittles abounded.:

No need for romancing when all of us know
That Melody, Countess and Cracker,
Will follow wherever bold Reynard will go
While Mariners all but a slacker
Whatever the weather come wind, hail or snow
Our beauties so fleet and true hearted,
Will stick to their game at the call of old Joe
Nor falter when once they have started.:

Pass the jug round toasting each hound
They merit a bumper so pass the jug round
Ready are they fit for the fray
Hoo git away, git away, git away

W.H. Marshall, MFH. Ullswater

* * * * * * *

The White Fox of Placefell

The meet was at Side farm one day with Joe Weir and his pack
No fox was found although we went to Boardalehead and back.
We were standing on the lakeside trod and wondering what to do
When high above on Birkfellside the White Fox came into view.

So raise your foaming glasses now all you who hunters are -
There’s bitter, mild and bottled beer, and whisky at the bar
And here’d to Joe and Maldwyn, and the gallant hounds as well
We’ll ne’er forget the day we caught the White Fox of Placefell.

So Maldwyn quickly took the hounds and set off up the fell,
The fox looked down and saw them and began to run like hell.
She thought that she’d escape them, as she dropped below the brow,
Then ran along the Sandwick trod as far as Kilbert How.

From there she crossed that rough ground and to Lang Crag next she went
And up till then hounds were running on her scent.
The fox climbed up the sheer crag face as fast as ever she could
Then quickly dropped in further til she came to Scale How wood.

On Lang Crag face the hounds were checked and couldn’t find the trail,
The scent was weak and soon it looked as if the hunt would fail.
They lost the line completely when to Scale How wood they came.
So Maldwyn went to Pearson Fold and cast them off again.

And there they started running on the same fox as before,
She led them up Hay Bennet and to Grey Crag End once more.
Right handed down to Blowick Moss, to where the hunt began,
To Birkfell, Silver Bay and round the point that vixen ran.

To Blowick Woods she tried to throw hounds off in the trees.
Then ran across the meadows til she made side Farm with ease
But she was getting tired now, and she hoped to save her brush,
So she jumped into a garden there and hid inside a bush.

A rabbit there was startled from his little leafy den;
The fox was forced to follow and the hunt began again,
And in and out of gardens now she led the hounds a race,
Until the whole of Patterdale was joining in the chase.

There was shouting left and shouting right and shouting high and low
The hounds were so confused they couldn’t tell which way to go
They crossed the fields to Goldrill Bridge and up through the hostel garth,
Then back again to Cook-a-beck they chased her up the path.

She hurried through the farmyard there and Placefell tried to climb
But now her strength was gone and hounds were gaining all the time.
She dropped back down to Greywalls, underneath the garden gate.
She made the nearby meadows lads, and there she met her fate.
For many years we’d seen her, but she always ran to well,
A bonnie lass and all she was, the white Fox of Placefell.

Christopher Ogilvie, 1970

~ ~ ~

Brimmer Head

It was on one May morn, we went to Brimmer Head
To hunt that fox for Jos, that went with his black red,
A noted game cock he’d bred to put in’t main,
But Reynard came and put a stop to Jos’ fighting game
We’d dragged him from that hen house door
Up thro’ that moslak breast
The drag it was an old one and we saw hounds at their best
A drag of nigh two hours, before that fox was found,
That they managed to stick to it was a credit to those hounds.

And the Dalesmen love to hear those merry hounds draw near.
And everyone knows Wear’s rousing cry,
He’ll send that startled fox, to shelter in the rocks
And his Tally–Ho it makes the distant hills reply.
They dragged him round by I-Yew Craggs,
Up thro’ Intack Carrs.
When all at once the music sweet, it pealed both near and far,
For up there jumped as game a fox as hunters ever saw
And through that fell breast set his mask as hard as he could go,
They turned him in by Brimmer, but he had no time to stay,
For Jos was standing in the yard and halloaed him away
so he made by Blintra, to Silver Howe did go,
Twas here this gallant little pack sustained a bit throw.

There was Modesty, Mariner, Rally these hounds they led the field
When back they came by Blake Rigg and thro’ for’t Deer Bield,
Here Reynard thought he’d take a turn before his life would yield,
He picked his feet up quickly and turned in for the fields.
Then down to Easedale Valley and thr’o that Sawmill Ghyll.
The hounds now all together and running like to kill
So away he made for Helm, with music like a bell
He just had time to call on Jos;
To bid’t old man farewell.

Still down that Easedale Bottom
Where Reynard crossed the beck,
Twas here these little beauties, sustained a bit check.
But Billy Hall he harked them on and Isaac Fleming too,
And thr’o those Laugcrick pastures these hounds they simply flew.
Now Reynard found that this pace was getting much too warm
Hr knew he had to cheat them soon or they might do him harm,
So thro that Greenburn Valley and into t’Helmside,
Twas in the mansion gardens that gallant fox did die.

We bore him down to the Travellers Rest
As merry hunters do.
We drank success to Wear and his Ullswater Hounds too.
And may Joe long remember, and oft think of that day
When he killed that hen thief, on the first of May.
Here’s long life to Joe Wear, a better huntsman never lived,
Here’s luck to his gallant hounds which make our valleys ring
Here’s a health to each hound walker,
and each supporter too
for a better class of sportsman
The whole world never knew.

~ ~ ~

Not strictly a fell hunting song this one from the Colne Valley hounds is included for its reference to the Ullswater Foxhounds and besides it’s a bloody good song!

Come Gather Round the Fire Lads

Come gather round the fire lads, I’ll tell you all a tale,
It’s of four jolly hunting men who went to Patterdale,
Which lies beside Ullswater in case you did not hear,
They have a pack of foxhounds there and the huntsman is Joe Wear.

Now Joe he is a canny man, he likes a drop of ale,
He loves to hear a hunting song and likes a well told tale,
He dearly loves his hunting, he loves his hounds also
And when he goes to t’ kennels, th’ hounds all chorus, “Morning Joe.”

Now there four jolly men one Easter morning went,
To have a day foxhunting with that “fore mentioned gent”,
They caught a fox on Prison Crag and brought him back to t’ pub,
And Master Peck was standing there a passing round the jug.

Now it’s custom down at Howtown to have an Easter sing,
When Joe heard how these Colne Valley lads could make the fell sides ring,
He said there ought to be a contest inside t’ White Lion Inn,
To see who could last longest, Colne Valley lot or him.

Joe came with all his pals that night determine they should win,
He brought a damned great mallet to quieten all the din,
And when he got some order and we’d all tanked up with ale,
We started singing hunting songs that night in Patterdale.

Bobby Porter from Glenridding was first to take the stand,
He sang us all ‘La’alMelbreak’ and it sounded simply grand,
Anthony Barker next came forward sang ‘Pass The Jug Around’
Bob Lockwood stood up with Ernest Yates and toasted every hound.

Neil Pogson from Colne Valley appeared behind the bar,
He was drinking pints of bitter and smoking a cigar,
We made him sing Old Towler; Joe said “Tha’s sung that very fine,
I’ll have another Guinness then I’ll sing thi’ one of mine."

The huntsman from Colne Valley stood up beside his whip,
Ken Green and Malcolm Hawkswell to sing a song of wit,
It was all about a fox hunt and how we lost a fox,
If we ever catch another one we’ll shove it in a box.

Some friends of ours from Airedale sat there a suppin gin,
Their faces getting very flushed inside that little Inn,
They were calling loud for Guinness, for whisky, rum and beer,
And a foxes’ mask upon the wall was winking at Joe Wear.

Joe rose amidst some loud applause, the champion of his side,
He had to bang the mallet very hard before he got them to subside,
‘A fine hunting day’ was his choice he sang it loud and clear,
And every man in’t White Lion got up and gave a cheer.

The midnight hour was on us when Joe Wear got up and said,
“I think we’ll call this contest drawn, it time we were in bed.”
So we drank success to hunting and long may it abound,
We drank success to th’ Ullswater and to t’ Colne Valley Hounds.

Malcolm Hawkswell

WAFWebsite manager

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