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Hunts finally make a start in ‘glorious’ Indian summer

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Autumn hunting is getting under way around the country, after many packs reported a delayed start to the season because of the unusually late harvest.

Dozens of hunts have been affected by the wet summer, as farmers – waiting for a dry spell to start harvesting – had to leave crops standing.

Traditionally the North Shropshire start autumn hunting on the August bank holiday. This year, they eventually got going on 8 September.

“We are finally getting there [with the harvest],” said joint-secretary Mark Dibble, who farms locally. “Another fine week and it will be in.”

The Heythrop started a fortnight late, on 14 September.

“About 80% of the crops are in, so we are still having to be careful,” said joint-master Nessie Lambert.

“It’s lovely to get started; the horses are far too fresh and well.”

With the warm, sunny September promised by the Met Office materialising, hunts have enjoyed some glorious mornings.

The North Cotswold had their first day on 13 September.

Joint-master and H&H columnist Nigel Peel said: “Any more hound exercise and
I think the hounds would have gone crackers.

“We have had some lovely dew-drenched mornings – a real Indian summer.

The wet weather means the going is very good.”

Miss Lambert agreed the wet summer had some benefits.

“Normally, we don’t like to leave the ground at this time of year.But there’s quite a lot of give in it at the moment, which is good for the horses and helpful for young hounds,” she said.

This news story was first published in the current issue of H&H (20 September 2012)