I

Shooting Times & Country Magazine - - CONTENTS - Email: dhtom­lin­son@bt­in­ter­net.com

was de­lighted that the Na­tional Trust mem­bers’ res­o­lu­tion, de­mand­ing a ban on trail hunt­ing on Trust land, was de­feated at the AGM 1 Novem­ber). The mar­gin of the de­feat was just a few hun­dred votes — 30,985 to 30,686 — prompt­ing the Guardian to re­port that the Trust “was ac­cused of suc­cumb­ing to pres­sure from the hunt­ing lobby af­ter a mo­tion to ban trail hunt­ing on the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s land was nar­rowly de­feated at its an­nual con­fer­ence on Satur­day, spark­ing warn­ings that some mem­bers would can­cel their sub­scrip­tions in dis­gust”.

I’m an ex-mem­ber of the Trust be­cause I re­signed (in dis­gust) when it banned stag hunt­ing on the 12,000-acre Hol­ni­cote es­tate on Ex­moor 20 years ago. My wife re­mains a mem­ber, so she was one of the one per cent who both­ered to vote on this lat­est res­o­lu­tion. The fact that 99 per cent of mem­bers didn’t vote sug­gests that it can­not have been an is­sue of great con­cern to most of them.

Un­der Na­tional Trust rules, a sim­i­lar res­o­lu­tion can­not be raised again for four years. How­ever, I won’t be sur­prised if the an­tis, en­cour­aged by the close­ness of this re­cent vote, come up with sim­i­lar pro­pos­als to stop game shoot­ing on Trust land. Don’t for­get that the Na­tional Trust is a huge landowner, with more than 600,000 acres in England and Wales.

I don’t think that I have ever shot or worked a dog on Na­tional Trust land, but I have hunted with the Devon and Som­er­set Staghounds on Hol­ni­cote be­fore the ban came in. I re­call be­ing asked by the owner of the horse that

I had hired how I was do­ing. It was about 2pm, so I’d been rid­ing for three hours.

I replied that I thought the horse was get­ting tired. “Rub­bish,” came the ro­bust re­ply. “That horse hunts six days a week: you’re the one that’s get­ting tired.” I’m sure he was right.

The first meet of fox­hounds that I went to on a horse was at Win­ston Churchill’s former home of Chartwell, owned by the Na­tional Trust since 1946. There is a won­der­ful old black-and-white pho­to­graph of him mounted at a meet of the Old Sur­rey and Burstow at Chartwell in Novem­ber 1948. grand­son of Ed­ward Ce­cil) has kindly in­vited the Ken­nel Club to hold the HPR Cham­pi­onship on his es­tate. Elve­den is now more renowned for its in­no­va­tive arable agri­cul­ture than it is for shoot­ing. The em­pha­sis is on wild rather than reared game, so han­dlers run­ning their dogs next week won’t en­counter a con­fu­sion of birds. HPRS work best where game is sparse rather than over­abun­dant, mak­ing this ground very suit­able for a com­pe­ti­tion of this kind.

Depth of tal­ent

For a long time the HPR Cham­pi­onship was a GSP mo­nop­oly but re­cent years have shown the depth of tal­ent in HPRS and the abil­ity of less fa­mil­iar breeds. Last year the win­ner was Adrian Black­ledge with a Hun­gar­ian wire­haired vizsla, FTCH Ker­ride Henry; in 2014 it was Howard Kirby and his German long­haired pointer Wami­lang­haar Tash. Though more GSPS have qual­i­fied than any other breed, don’t be sur­prised if it is not a GSP that takes the ti­tle this year.

Spec­ta­tors are wel­come at Elve­den and there is no need to reg­is­ter. For more de­tails check on the Ken­nel Club web­site (po.st/hpr17).

SHOOT­ING TIMES & COUN­TRY MAG­A­ZINE • 37

win­ston Churchill hunt­ing in novem­ber 1948

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