The 2010 2011 Season
End of Season Review and Thank You: As the season draws to a close, its time to reflect on what an excellent year it has been, despite the weather. The hunt finances held up, with good subscriptions and caps, so thank you all for your continued support. Thanks to Nic's pre season efforts to get the hounds fit, the hounds hunted extremely well and the Masters worked hard to reschedule meets that had been cancelled due to the rain and snow, all of which contributed to a full and enjoyable season.
Master Sally organised yet another superb ball, which goes from strength to strength (put the date for this year's ball in your diary - 19th November 2011). Master Clare successfully organised another excellent Sponsored Ride last September (watch the web site for the date for this year) and the Quarry Supper. Master Alex's sponsored ride last Monday was a big success, and her annual Under 12 pony show has become a key part of the summer calendar (June 26th this year). Master Roger, despite his horrible leg injury, ensured that all his meets stayed in the calendar, which was much appreciated.
Katrina Arnold, aka Miss Jorrocks, contributed some very enjoyable write ups of different meets, as well as successfully launching the hound sponsorship scheme, which we hope to grow and enhance next season. There is also a new range of clothing, which will be launched at the Quarry Supper on Saturday, and hopefully will be modelled for the web site soon.
This season the Coakham Bloodhounds went global, with an article in the Washington Post which was then syndicated worldwide, from Australia to Japan. As a direct result, the YouTube videos were broadcast on ESPN to millions of US viewers, and a US film crew came to film our day at Bookers Farm, which was great fun.
Due to the wonderful work of our photographers - Craig, Nigel and Jacquie - photographing most of the meets, we have an excellent record of the season. Nigel's photos also greatly enhanced the Washington Post article, and features in Sussex Life and Local Rider.
We also welcomed some new quarry to our ranks, and they have definitely enhanced our running power, so thank you Adrian, Mel, Garth, Andy, Chris, Richard, George, Phil, James and Keith for your enthusiasm and dedication - and if anyone would like to join the quarry team please contact Master Jo Carr - firstname.lastname@example.org
And finally, congratulations to Master Sally, our new Fallers Club Champion!!
PS: All the albums:
Nigels photos from Larkins Brewery - Scroll down for highlights and CLICK HERE for the album!
Craig's Photos from Larkins - CLICK HERE
NIGEL'S PICTURES of the JOINT MEET WITH THE SOUTHDOWNS BLOODHOUNDS
CLICK HERE FOR CRAIG's BALL PICTURES!!
Opening Meet Photos. Yes, Craig was out - Hurrahhhh!!!
Nigel and Jacquie's Wateringbury Photos
And Miss Jorrocks - after enjoying a tipple (above!) writes:
On Sunday 17th April hounds met at Manor Farm, Wateringbury, the guests of Mr and Mrs English. A regular fixture on our card this is one of Miss Jorrocks favorite meets, combining as it does the English countryside in Spring with a straightforward and easy hunting day.
As always our hosts treated us to an elegant meet in front of their farmhouse and Miss Jorrocks was very grateful that our hostess, on seeing Miss Jorrocks' look of dismay at the fine and delicate glassware, was quick to furnish her with a plastic beaker containing a very generous measure of a port and cherry brandy stirrup cup. Having dispatched such a large measure Miss Jorrocks found herself in very jolly humour indeed!
Lady Master Sally Mack's "parish notices" having being issued we sent off for the first hunt of the day. The country around Wateringbury is undulating, and a mixture of arable, orchard and pasture. Mindful of the ground Master Sally had ensured all jumping was optional, which was greatly appreciated by the field of around 20, several of whom were visitors.
The weather being very warm scenting conditions were difficult. We are fortunate to have a pack not given to "babbling" and one which hunts in cry only when certain of its quarry. As a result some of the hunt was conducted with little hound music and hounds had to apply themselves fully to their work. We swept down the hill at the end of the first hunt towards St Michael's House where a sizeable contingent of spectators awaited us, and where Mrs Maxine Magan, as is her tradition, treated us to another stirrup cup and plates of delicate savouries circulated by friends and family of the house. St Michael's dates back to 1850 and provided such a lovely backdrop that Miss Jorrocks was sure she was travelling back in time as she pondered how many such mounted gatherings the house had witnessed in its time.
The second hunt took us on to the Mereworth Castle estate where the Palladian castle presided over proceedings with an aristocratic hauteur. In glorious sunshine hounds and horses swept through the park finishing by a newly created miniature lake where Miss Jorrocks was allowed to try her hand at a little light whipping in, a diversion she enjoyed very much.
The third hunt took us back through arable and pasture, and the fourth through orchard and arable, where the scent of apple blossom fought a hard battle for supremacy with the scent of oil seed rape in full bloom. Hounds seemed to find these two hunts easier, and the clamourous noise they gave out as they tore along behind their quarry was magnificent. Truly there can be no finer place than the Garden of England on a warm and sunny Spring day.
Before the Huntsman blew for home Master Sally was quick to offer our unanimous thanks to our quarry who had provided excellent sport on such a warm day.
And so to Tea at the boxes where all sorts of treats awaited. Miss Jorrocks could not sample them all but enjoyed most particularly the egg sandwiches, the cheese and onion sandwiches and the peanut, caramelly sort of confection, which was incredibly moreish and no doubt horribly calorific!
Miss Jorrocks has now completed her season and has achieved, for her, a first in having not fallen off. Not once! She looks forward very much to the Pleasure Ride on 2nd May and the Quarry Supper on 7th May where she hopes to be out and about notebook in hand.
Vital statistics: Hounds 10 couple. Quarry - 2. Staff 4. Field about 20. Miles as quarry, hounds and field ran - about 8. Going - hard. Scenting conditions - difficult. Best hound - Lulu (sponsored by Christina and Sofia Foster), because Miss Jorrocks whipped her in!
Thank you to everyone who supported the quiz night and made it such a fun and successful evening.
Congratulations to The Odds And Sods team Sally and Tony Mack, Adrian Paice, April and Robbie Miles, for winning. Commiserations to The Local Loonies who came last and wish to remain anonymous!
On Friday she attended the Hunt Quiz, where she appeared as a member of "The Invicibles", who were not quite as invincible as claimed, and came a close second to "The Odds and Sods".
The quality of the questions was challenging, leading Miss Jorrocks to conclude that the question setters do not get out much. The fact that Miss Jorrocks could answer some of the more obscure questions is probably also a sad reflection on her own social calendar! However, where else could one learn that buzzards collaborate to catch moles, that a firkin is 9 gallons, and that Colombia and Paraguay are land locked, whilst at the same time enjoying convivial company and an excellent Tea? Miss Jorrocks left the evening considerably better informed than when she arrived, and all that for just £5.00.
On Sunday 13th March hounds met at Torry Hill, the guests of Lord Kingsdown and the Leigh-Pemberton Family. A modest field gathered in sunshine that augured gently of Spring, and spent the day entirely on the Torry Hill estate. The estate is managed to be as closely harmonised with nature and the environment as possible and brims with the evidence of much love and attention. The estate encompasses arable, pasture and woodland and is well fenced with hunt timber.
Viewing was excellent, and hounds on top form setting a fast pace that saw stronger hounds way out in front resulting in a strung out pack as they tore along in full cry. Miss Jorrocks is always fascinated that each hound speaks with a different note, contributing to the overall music that is hounds on song. As they pursued their quarry with verve and vigour hounds put up several hares, which they dutifully ignored, but added extra pleasure for the field as they watched these beautiful animals crossing open country at speed.
Towards the end of the second hunt the quarry were "killed in the open". They claimed it was because they had stopped for the photographer and not because hounds were so fast. We gave them a pause before hunting them across the remaining few fields at the end of which waited the foot followers and trays of port and chocolates.
The third hunt took us on to arable, where a bevy of innovative crow scarers kept the birds at bay. Miss Jorrocks was very grateful that Master Roger Manning had quad biked round switching them all off before we started and waited until we had gone before switching them on again. We left the arable with the outraged cries of the West Street Tickham's hounds ringing in our ears. We had held up just by their kennels and the hounds were clearly affronted not to be invited to join in the fun.
The hunt home took us through the woods of the estate and challenged hounds as scenting appeared difficult. Great care was taken by the field not to damage the narrow gauge, miniature, railway track for the miniature train that serves the estate. The day finished over a small set of rails back in to the park where tired horses and riders looked forward to their respective teas.
Horses sorted we gathered round the horseboxes for Tea, where delights too numerous to mention graced the table. Miss Jorocks enjoyed her Tea very much and went home happily replete.
Vital statistics: Hounds - 11 1/2 couple. Quarry - 3. Staff - 5. Field - 20. Miles as hounds, quarry and field ran - 12. Scenting conditions - good. Going - excellent. Best hound - Richmond (sponsored by Founder Member Miss Caroline Richardson).
Click here for Nigel's photo's from Cornish Farm
Another brilliant Brookers Farm - our bid for International recognition!
Click here for Nigel and Jacquie's photos from Brooker Farm. And thank you to Sally for another excellent day, and to Sophie for riding with the hat cam (especially now looking at the picture of you jumping with it round your chin!), and the quarry for showing Dale the camera man just how much hard work is involved in running for the Coakham!
The American film crew have said they will send us the edited film and the off cuts so we can make our own film - so watch this space!
MISS JORROCKS WRITES: On Sunday 13th February hounds met at Hole Park, Rolvenden, the guests of the Barham family.
Hole Park has beautiful gardens and a substantial park, over which the Barhams' allowed us to hunt, despite the recent wet weather. They also hosted us to a most enjoyable lawn meet, although we were all very careful to keep off the lawns!
The day is typically laid on by Master Roger Manning but, as many of you know, he has been laid up due to injury acquired not in the hunting field but by an unfortunate stumble. It was a welcome sight to see him out, off crutches, and tanned and fit from a break in the Seychelles, although he still sported a walking stick. With Master Roger being "off games", the physical arrangements of the day fell to Kieran and Senior Master Nic Wheeler. How hard they must have worked, in difficult conditions, to lay on a day with lots of galloping and jumping and "best bits".
There were four hunts in total, over a variety of arable and pasture and with hedges and timber. Much of the day was challenging. However, Kieran proved an able field master and Miss Jorrocks saw only happy faces at the end of the day. But on to the "best bits". Some of the hunts brought a real cross country scramble and included - a wobbly wooden bridge with no sides, a narrow stile, a jump in to a wood with a sharp turn after which one had to stop and wait to avoid taking the next person off at an angle, and a mad scramble down a bank, across a boggy stream, and then up the steep opposite bank and out over a rail. The day finished over a set of rails, off the road, and down a drop. The whole adventure brought out the finest tradition of the Coakham hunting fraternity. Miss Jorrocks saw only considerate riding with everyone prepared to wait their turn, or give way to those on less patient mounts. And, true to our ethos, although requiring some diversion, Kieran and Masters Roger and Nic had made sure it was possible to wiggle round if desired. As the Huntsman blew for home the field was buzzing with the excitement of the final hunt and full of praise for Quarry, hounds and Huntsman.
Back at the boxes the weather hit home. Whilst we had hunted in the rain for much of the day few us had realised just quite how muddy we were. Miss Jorrocks spent a great deal of time scrubbing her mare and stuffing muddy tack into black plastics sacks for attention at home.
And so to Tea in the Coach House, which crammed with convivial company all drinking tea, eating excellent cake, and reliving the excitement of the day. What better way to spend a wet Sunday? Miss Jorrocks can think of none.
Vital statistics: Hounds - 12 1/2 couple. Quarry - 4. Staff - 4. Field - 30+ Miles as Quarry, hounds and field ran - 10. Going - wet. Scenting conditions - excellent. Best hound - Subtle (who would love a sponsor).
Oh Dear. Another Master joins the Fallers Club at Colbrans Farm -
I particularly like the one below - perhaps worthy of another Caption Competition!!
Larkins Brewery - A Most Excellent Day!
Nigels photos - Scroll down for highlights and CLICK HERE for the album!
Craig's Photos - CLICK HERE
On Sunday 30th January Miss Jorrocks loaded her car and trailer with all manner of provisions and set off to visit the Southdown Bloodhounds. Not being the proud owner of satnav Miss Jorrocks was reliant on a paper map on which X marked the spot, just north of the warning "here be dragons". She made it with just one error of course despite the very narrow lanes that characterise the environs of the Southdown country.
What beautiful country they have, and how welcome they made us! The day began with a lawn meet contrived in the middle of nowhere with warm sausage rolls and glasses of port set against a backdrop of rolling hills. A big field was in evidence. Whether this was normal, or driven by curiosity to view foreigners, Miss Jorrocks cannot be sure but all were very friendly and we were soon at home. The Coakham contingent was made up of two Masters, a whipper in and six regular followers all intent in showing the Coakham at its best.
The day was made up of three hunts taking in hedges, hunt timber, and some fun hurdles set on the headlands. Mindful of the enjoyment of his followers the Field Master, Mr Cowper Giles (who once hunted with the Coakham under the late Nigel Budd), gave clear directions for jumpers and non jumpers so that a good day's sport could be enjoyed by all. The country is hilly and a mix of pasture, arable and woodland. The nature of the hills put some big drops on the landing side of seemingly innocuous fences such that Miss Jorrocks streamed herself, in the most part, with the non jumpers.
Mr Whaley's hounds, of which 11 1/2 couple were out, are a mix of draft hounds (many from the Coakham), and his own breeding programme. A very fine pack they are indeed - a very, very close second to our own! And Mr Whaley hunts them with love and attention, clearly intent on getting their very best whatever the conditions. Hounds hunted with accuracy and speed across a variety of going and were challenged by the bitter wind, which undoubtedly shifted the scent around. Because of the temperature, which was sufficiently cold to leave the sheltered tracks frozen, the field had to be cautious on the turns and were hard pushed to keep up whilst at the same time remaining upright. However, the open nature of the country gave all, particularly the visitors, excellent viewing of hounds at work. In all we calculated we ran 10 miles.
Three excellent hunts completed we hacked back to the boxes where, yet again, our hosts contrived to produce an excellent tea in the middle of nowhere. As an "away day" it was second to none and well worth the distance. Miss Jorrocks is extremely grateful for the welcome she received and hopes very much a Southdowns day may become a regular appointment on our card.
Or scroll down for the Highlights!
Miss Jorrocks writes: On Sunday 23rd January hounds met at Little Horsted,
The world tour continues (this time Canada!)
And Sue's photos from Iden - which also made the Post!
And now Australia - The Sydney Morning Herald has picked up the story
and now the Brisbane Times where it's even wetter than it is in Britain right now - CLICK HERE.
Thank you, Jane Hollis, for the pictures of the Jevington meet - and to husband Paul for relinquishing his ride to his daughter so he could be the quarry for the day! It was good day on the downs, just beating the weather home - and thanks to Katie and James for also volunteering as Quarry - running the hills is not for the faint hearted!
On Sunday 2nd January the Bloodhounds met at Iden Park, the guests of Glenn Wassall and Neven Znaor. This was a particularly festive occasion not least because we have been frosted off for weeks.
Iden Park is a grand Victorian house dating from 1866 and in the park at its front we were entertained to a most delightful lawn meet by our hosts. The occasion had a most timeless quality to it as friends and family from the house circulated with glasses of stirrup cup and all manner of savoury dainties on silver salvers. As Miss Jorrocks enjoyed her port whilst observing the Master and his hounds gathered on the drive in front of the house she pondered how many other such occasions the house had witnessed. No doubt very many, but probably few enjoyed quite as much as by the company assembled on Sunday.
Our hosts properly thanked for their hospitality and pertinent housekeeping notes issued about rabbit holes and headlands by Master Alex Wheeler the field assembled itself behind our President James Ramus and set off for a glorious afternoon in the Sussex countryside.
The country around Iden is a mixture of arable, pasture and orchard bisected by the River Rother. Mindful of hunters slightly off their fitness and hounds in exuberant mood Alex had set us a day with lots of steady cantering and excellent viewing. Hounds have not lost an ounce of form despite the weather and gave the field an excellent display of their skills on the arable either side of the Rother, where they hunted with both alacrity and accuracy.
The end of the second hunt brought port and chocolates, lest we find ourselves peckish between the savouries of the meet and the cakes awaiting us at Tea!
Having had one hunt over arable and two hunts along the banks of the Rother we had the final hunt home through the Ramuses' orchards, which are always beautiful but where the branches are hazardous. The air was rich with the sound of hounds in full cry, the thundering hooves of the horses, and the occasional yelps of pain from horsemen yet to master the art of ducking the Bramleys' whip like branches. As the Huntsman blew for home and we thanked the Quarry for our sport more than one of us was dabbing at a scratched and bloodstained cheek.
And so to Tea, which as always at Baron's Grange brought hot sausages and home made meringues. The weather had smiled on us and the new year had started in very fine style indeed.
Vital statistics: hounds - 14 couple, quarry - 5, staff 3, mounted field - 28, miles as quarry and hounds ran - 10, miles as field ran - 8, best hound - Smuggler (sponsored by Mr Gavin Barker).
Master Roger and hunting
After almost a month of being house bound I was hoping to see every one at Montague tomorrow, but alas no hunting and no chatting. As some of you know almost 4 weeks ago on a dark night carrying some steel brackets and totally sober, I stepped of a friends garden path and ruptured the quad muscle and a tendon in my left leg and also displaced the knee cap . It actually sounded like a gun shot and I lay on the ground waiting to be dispatched. Three days in the cancer ward of Maidstone hospital (the only available emergency bed), made me realise how fortunate and healthy I was and if they had then not lost the operation and follow up notes I would now have been singing their praises. The recovery path for me is too long. In a full leg cast until end of Jan. and then 8 weeks of physio! Thank you for the good wishes that you have sent me.
The pain has now moved from my leg to my head and I am totally pissed off. However, my aim is to be mounted at my Ewe and Lamb Meet on April 10th.2011. In the mean time as I am now mobile, I will be organising my days from across the back seat of the Disco. plus asking a few favours from some of you and some delegation. As you know in conjuction with the Pickney Bush land owner I had to cancel at the last minute and I have to advise that the Bedgebury Meet looks in doubt particularly if we get more snow, as currently forecast for Boxing Day. Whereas the main tracks have thawed, between the trees there is at the moment enough of a snow carpet to hide what lies beneath, but a big thank you to James R. for collecting the hurdles from PB. this morning.
Finally may I wish you all A MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HEALTHY 2011
Sue's Photos of Hounds in the Snow!!
Two lots of Photos from FABULOUS FRANKHAM FARM!!
A huge thanks to Master Sally for a cracking meet - and to Craig and Nigel for their excellent photos!
CLICK HERE FOR CRAIG's BALL PICTURES!!
Miss Jorrocks had a very busy weekend. On Saturday she attended the Hunt Ball, a very glamorous event organised by one of our Masters, Sally Mack, and a band of helpers too numerous to mention. The evening brought not only a three course dinner and dancing, but also an auction of promises and fun casino. Miss Jorrocks enjoyed her dinner, offered bids for some lots, danced a bit, gambled a bit, and went home way, way past her bedtime. She had a lovely time, caught up with lots of people, and enjoyed the excellent company of Sue and Kieron and their farming friends. Over dinner we put the world to rights before dancing the light fandango. Who could have wished for better?
On Sunday 21st November hounds met at Iden, the guests of the Ramus and Wheeler families. The day is well established in the Coakham calendar and follows a time honoured tradition of an excellent meet and delicious Tea. An early arrival, Miss Jorrocks was billeted in the yard in order to be close to Tea. Miss Jorrocks looks forward always to her Tea as her mare, Dolly, would doubtless testify. Still somewhat jaded from her late night, Miss Jorrocks unloaded, tied up her mare, and set about housewifely duties tidying up her trailer. A few minutes later she paused to cast a proud and proprietorial eye over her mare only to find her nowhere to be seen. Miss Jorrocks then suffered the ignominy of asking nearby lorries if they had seen a bay mare pass this way at all? Fortunately, the mare was retrieved before she trampled any lawns.
Suitably fuelled on hot sausage rolls and copious glasses of port, the field set off to enjoy the beautiful countryside around Iden, which is a pretty mix of pasture, arable and orchards and well fenced with timber and the occasional hedge. The day took us through the Ramuses' Bramley orchards and across the Reeves brothers' pastures, where Kent sheep (the local name for Romneys) graze in idyllic surroundings with Rye town perched on its hilltop in the distance.
The first hunt was fast and furious with hounds in both excellent form and voice. They flew over the ground as if on wings, and we were hard pressed to keep up. Additional excitement was added to the hunt as it took us through an orchard of "standard Bramleys", these are the more established and old fashioned orchards, where the trees are large with wide branches. These statuesque trees require mounted followers to duck and guess when to return to upright. Few of us got it right and several had scratches from mistimed position changes.
The second hunt took us through deciduous woodland set on a hillside. The clamour hounds made ringing out from the woodland set many a spine tingling, as it really is a most primeval noise. Going here was sticky and narrow, and required single file. By the time we had all made it through hounds had found their quarry and were resting on the grass. Two enjoyments awaited us at the end of this hunt. The first was the sight of Jane Baker on a bridleless horse, its bridle having been removed by a companion during a mutual scratch. Much hilarity ensued as the rest of the field offered helpful hints on how to get the bridle back on, her horse having decided it was rather content with this new arrangement. Fortunately by the time we moved off Jane's horse was properly dressed once more. The second excitement was port and chocolates, a thank you gift from Pat who was unfortunate to fall, with her mare, in the River Knelle when we met at Beckley. Miss Jorrocks was delighted to see them out again and in good form. At this point, having acquitted themselves honourably, they bade us good night and left us to our chocolates.
The third hunt had Rye town as its backdrop and offered excellent timber. The field was quick, but the hounds were quicker still - scenting conditions on the beautiful turf being excellent.
The fourth hunt took us home across arable and in to the orchards once more. Although this time the orchards were more modern with smaller trees, which were all together less hazardous. The hunt was paused when Lulu found a dead rabbit from which she declined to be parted despite the best efforts of whipper in Robbie Miles. By this time we were all glad of a breather. The hunt finished over a well railed drop hedge, which was not for the faint hearted but provided a splendid spectacle as the brave and the bold flew over in fine style.
And so to Tea, which at Baron's Grange always brings hot sausages in bread rolls and home made meringues with cream. It was a lovely day and much appreciated by one and all.
Vital statistics: hounds - 13 1/2 couple; field - 30ish; staff - 4; miles as quarry, hounds and field ran - about 10 miles; scenting conditions - excellent; going good on the grass, deep in the woodland; best hound - Smuggler (who would love a sponsor).
SPONSOR A HOUND UPDATE
Remember is is not too late to sponsor a hound. It is just £20.00 and is a bit of extra fun for all types of follower and a boost for hunt funds. The list is below and further details may be obtained from Katrina Arnold (Miss Jorrocks) at email@example.com"
Thank you to everyone who helped to make the ball another huge success!
Nigel Goddard was out at Jevington yesterday and his excellent photos can be seen at
Thank you to every one who braved yesterdays weather at Attwood!
Thought you would like to know that you raised £81.50 for the poppy appeal.
Hope you all dry out soon. Master Clare Miles
And thank you to Janine Lamy for the photos!
Miss Jorrocks begins her report with an apology to our senior Master and Huntsman who has had cause to reprimand Miss Jorrocks for the use of the word "lines" instead of "hunts" in her reports. "Lines", Miss Jorrocks has been given to understand, are for addicts of cocaine and "hunts" are for the lovers of hounds. Miss Jorrocks has given this matter careful consideration and has concluded that a cocaine habit is probably a good deal cheaper than equestrianism, and with a lot less tidying up. But it is a lesson properly learned and hunts it shall be going forward.
On Remembrance Sunday hounds met at Bodle Street, the guests of long standing supporters the Godwins and Petrides. The day was wet and miserable and Miss Jorrocks, an early arrival at the meet to secure good parking, was met by a very wet and gloomy Nic Godwin. Mr Godwin is usually the epitome of bonhomie but on Sunday as he stood, bundled up in his stockman's coat and with rain dripping unrelentingly from the brim of his hat, he cut a very gloomy figure indeed. As she cowered in her trailer Miss Jorrocks was full of admiration for Mr Godwin's tenacity in ensuring we were all neatly parked, when retreating to the comfort of his farmhouse must have been a very enticing prospect indeed.
The meet had an air of solemnity befitting Remembrance Sunday and our Field Master, Clare Miles, spoke movingly of our fallen heroes and, in the First World War, the many, many horses who also served on foreign battlefields.
Proper remembrance observed we set off to hunt. The country around Bodle Street is mainly down to pasture and well fenced with timber and established hedges. The weather having been foul for the week, and on the day, our hunts were curtailed to meet the demands of the ground.
Despite the torrential rain hounds hunted at a cracking pace and in good voice. They required little help from their Huntsman and at times were so up together it was hard to tell which hound headed the pack. They tackled the timber with gusto and seemed unhindered by the wet conditions.
In all hounds hunted three short to medium hunts, totalling about 9 miles in all. The field kept in touch under careful guidance from our Field Master and doing our best not to damage the ground. At times it was wet and gloomy, at other times very wet and very gloomy, and sometimes just plain wet. However, despite the weather, a good time was had by all, no doubt buoyed up by the prospect of Tea.
Tea at Attwood Farm always brings a delicious Chilli con Carne and a roaring log fire. With the fellowship of like minded hunting folk, and in the company of such gracious hosts, one could scarcely imagine a better way to spend a wet Sunday.
Vital statistics: Hounds - 15 couple (Miss Jorrocks thinks). Quarry - 3 (or was it 4? It was very wet!). Staff - 3. Field - 26. Miles as hounds, quarry and field ran - 9. Going - wet and very wet. Best hound - Richmond (sponsored by one of our found members Miss Caroline Richardson).
FROM SOPHIE (who joined the Fallers Club at Montague!): I just wanted to say thank you for a fantastic days hunting on St.Huberts day, Kate and Simon did a great job on the new jumps round her farm! I also wanted to thank Sally and my friend Jenny for retrieving my pony after my tumble and Thank you to Alex for staying with me and escorting me back to the rest of the field! I am glad I gave you all a good demo of the air jacket! Quite funny that I manage to clear all those jumps and our first hedge only to fall off on the flat! (i do have a lovely purple hoof print on my leg!) but it was such a great day I don't mind, Thanks again and see you all again soon!
Miss Jorrocks Writes (for past contributions CLICK HERE)
On St Hubert's Day hounds met at Montague, Hankham.
St Hubert's Day has particular resonance in the Coakham Bloodhounds' calendar and hounds have met at Montague for this occasion for close on two decades.
Montague is a family run farm situated on edge of the Pevensey Levels with spectacular views across the grazing marshes. The backdrop includes the ruins of Pevensey Castle and the observatory at Herstmonceux.
Miss Jorrocks understands that Montague itself dates back to the 11th century and the Norman Conquest, and provides a most wonderful setting for our annual celebration of St Hubert, the patron saint of hunting, who gave his name to the St Hubert Hound - more readily recognised today as the Bloodhound.
The day followed its time honoured pattern. Father James of St Luke's Church in Stone Cross attended to conduct a short service. Miss Jorrocks was somewhat alarmed to see him resplendent in clerical vestments containing a large proportion of white. In the agricultural setting she worried about the wisdom of such colours. However, Father James contrived to stay spotless and seemed largely unconcerned about the possibility of mud spatters.
Despite the extended length of the meet, hounds sat politely and listened attentively as Father James gave them a blessing and led the field in prayer. Whatever one's spiritual convictions one would be stone hearted indeed not to be moved by the proceedings, particularly on such a beautiful sunny day.
Duly blessed, we clattered out of the yard and set about the business of the day. Hounds were in exceptional form, hunting at terrific speed all day with only the lightest of touches from their Huntsman.
Sitting as it does at the top of a hill Montague provides excellent viewing for foot followers. Given the special occasion a sizeable contingent had turned out to watch, and assembled just a little way back from the first line. It was thrilling to watch hounds speed past just a few feet from what, with all due respect, to them must have been a particularly odoriferous crowd without once lifting their heads. The cry as they came close by must have been equally thrilling for the crowd.
The second line took us off Montague and on to other properties where we enjoyed a jolly jumping line made up of a mix of natural and eventing fences.
The third line took us back on to Montague and down amongst the Romney Marsh sheep. Affronted by the presence of horses and hounds disturbing the their peaceful autumn grazing, the ewes gathered their skirts about them and set off as one to move elsewhere. To avoid causing them distress our Field Master held us up until all the ewes had passed. This probably took less than a minute, but even so hounds were by now just dots in the distance. As a field we were grateful for our Quarry's sharp right angled check over a set of rails. For hounds running at speed such checks are particularly trying as they run on and the scent simply disappears. The lead hounds ran on barely a few yards before they turned back and cast themselves back over the failing scent. This gave the field time to catch up, but not for long! Hounds swarmed over the rails, a seething mass of black and tan, and were gone again. Despite the best efforts of our Field Master and orderly and efficient jumping by the field we were barely in touch for the rest of the line. By the time we caught up hounds had located their Quarry and were mooching about waiting for the next excitement.
The fourth line took us home and to a very fine Tea of bread, ham, hard boiled eggs and home made cake with lots of hot tea. A fitting end to a truly memorable day.
Vital statistics: Hounds - 15 couple. Quarry - 5. Staff - 4. Mounted field - 30. Miles as Quarry ran - 10. Miles as hounds ran - 10 as they were very accurate throughout. Miles as field ran - 12. Scenting conditions - excellent. Going - good. Best hound: Dabchick (who would love to be sponsored)
The Opening Meet!
Opening Meet Photos. Yes, Craig was out - Hurrahhhh!!!