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The hunt: one of those traditional sights you didn’t think they did any more

Saturday 20 December 2008

I’m not going to get into the rights and wrongs of it; unlike almost anyone, i’m exactly on the fence about hunting. But the sight of them is thrilling anyway. (Stirring, as military music is even though i’m a pacifist by instinct.)

The hunt meet across the road from us

The hunt meet across the road from us

I took these from our front garden last week. About once a year the local hunt meets at the pub across the road, and this is the second time i’ve happened to be in when they were there. (We’ve lived here several years but i used to be out almost all the time.) They looked grander when they wore red and other colour coats, but still it’s an impressive turnout.

I’ve been struggling to embed two fragments of film in this post, and if anyone can tell me why the copied-n-pasted code is vanishing when i save (cos it’s a blogpost rather than just a webpage?) i’ll be grateful, but i’ve had to put them up as two separate posts. Ridiculous, especially as they add up to less than a minute of film, just to give you a taste.

The first shows the huntsmen and -women milling around, looking as if it’s all very ordinary, while the hounds socialise in puppy-like anticipation.

The second is a bit of a zoom-in onto the hounds, with at the end a snatch of the famous hunting horn.

I did film them setting off an instant after that, but it’s nothing exciting, just a load of animals sedately trotting up the lane, and our conversation is too audible on that part. Most of our neighbours have lived in this village all their lives, their families for generations. They always stand and watch the meet.

We didn’t see them at full gallop this time, though once the whole hunt came flying down the main street of the village (which is so main, it has no road sign and, as far as i know, no name) right past the house. But the day’s dog-walk was more exciting than usual – every inch of verge had to be thoroughly sniffed and checked out. Even could have told by smell if i didn’t know a lot of horses n hounds had been around.

The hounds make an eerie sound from a distance, baying in the hills…

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