Opinion

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To update my last column, in which I described the circumstances around my arrest in connection with “illegal hunting”, the Crown Prosecution Service came to the predictable conclusion that there was no evidence of wrongdoing, having reviewed the allegations.

On the day of the alleged incident there were two lots of hunt saboteurs, three police cars, six policemen and the police crime commissioner, Lord Bach himself, present.

I have since been assured by the county constabulary that this was mere coincidence. Supposing that I accept that premise, I doubt very much whether things would have proceeded in the theatrical and ostentatious manner in which they did had the noble Lord Bach not been present that day and later professed his shock at seeing “bodies of foxes.” With the amount of foxes run over on the roads in Leicestershire, Lord Bach must spend a lot of time in a state of shock.

After all the hassle, expense and time wasted we still get three police cars out with the Belvoir most Saturdays. The only complaints received come from hunt saboteurs, who aren’t even from this area. Half a dozen idiots with records of many vexatious complaints to the police. They travel many miles to get here, dress like paramilitaries, commit criminal trespass, act like thugs, inconvenience and abuse people and then claim to “feel intimidated” by us. The Leicestershire constabulary are being, as my grandmother would have said, “stitched up like a giddy kipper”.

Spring has sprung

I won’t pretend that my arrest did not cast a bit of a shadow over the season, because it did, not only for me but my friends and the whole of the hunt. Hot on the heels of that, a dose of “sneezes” in the hounds lost us two weeks of hunting.

But that aside, the season has been enjoyable with some good days, despite the modest scenting conditions which prevailed during the first half.

After a satisfactory autumn, we had no days worthy of note until the end of November, when days from Fulbeck and Aswarby stood out; both included hunts upwards of 10 miles.

On the whole it has been dry with more than the usual amount of fog and, once again, few frosts. The rains came towards the end and have certainly provided the best sport of the season.

The usual hint of melancholy that accompanies the ultimate day of the season was dispelled this year by a visit from the South Shropshire hounds to the fixture at Belvoir. A number of their subscribers and visitors were welcomed by the Duke and a field of well over 100 made a majestic sight leaving the meet below the castle battlements.

Spring had well and truly arrived and the mercury hit 14°C. However, as the day progressed hounds settled into the job in hand and provided some nice hunting, working with persistence and determination.

The difference between a good pack and a moderate one is their ability to produce a hunt in difficult conditions; the South Shropshire hounds acquitted themselves admirably and were a credit to their huntsman.

Ref Horse & Hound; 23 March 2017