The Blencathra is celebrating the arrival of its first puppies since the Hunting Act, dispelling fears that the ban would have a negative impact on the hunt.

The Lake District-based pack has restarted its breeding programme, having halted it as soon as the Act came into force in February 2005.

The Blencathra, which hunts on foot, relies heavily on puppy walkers out of season, and huntsman Barry Todhunter was concerned about burdening walkers by breeding puppies without a future. But he told H&H that growing confidence in the hunt’s future led to him breeding a litter of eight, born in February, to add to the 36 hounds currently in kennels.

Barry added: “I’m delighted with the puppies — they’re very fine, strong types. It’s very encouraging that we’ve been able to start breeding again and in the next few months I’ll be weighing up what bitches are suitable for breeding from next year.”

  • This news report was first published in Horse & Hound (5 October, 06)