An interesting day out in West Somerset on the Holnicote Estate to visit the Minehead Harriers, just to see if they were abiding by their code of conduct. The evidence suggests not quite, as we were heading towards the sound of the hounds in cry above Hawkcombe Ridge, a fox broke heading straight for us….worst nightmare scenario as the fox turned back but hopefully not too much of a detour from its escape route. The hounds were a couple of minutes behind, (well a few of them, the rest were scattered all over the area!) and with as much of the path then sprayed in the direction the fox had come from, the scent we believe was lost as the hounds didn’t know which way to go.
The whip and friend turned up a couple of minutes later trying to round up the strays, with George on the other side of the combe calling up the rest of the pack, and still one or two others heard in different directions, it didn’t really seem to matter that we lost the hunt a while later, as there wasn’t a hunt to follow. It is likely the hunt had been heading to one of their favourite areas at Nutscale Reservoir but didn’t get anywhere near today, the hounds had other ideas. We found one poor hound in the company of the Stick Lady (who you may remember screaming and hitting a sab with her stick last year) – it seems she has learned a little decorum this year. The two old boys, terriermen, were with the hunt ON National Trust land and were seen travelling across fields on Buckethole Farm (where deer skulls and skins were found previously – the farm being occupied by a National Trust-employed deer stalking ex-otterhunt member. Why they refer to this as countrylife we don’t know, country death more like).
We called it a day when the field disappeared – how long it took to round up the pack we can only guess. It was good to meet with walkers and other visitors on our travels today who were definitely not pleased to see or hear the hunt was around. We will be back and see what happens next time.