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New pack planned to hunt in west Scotland

Plans to create a new hunt to cover the whole of the West of Scotland have been revealed by the Masters of Foxhounds Association (MFHA).

The Eglinton hunt, which covers Ayrshire, was suspended at the end of the 2007-08 season, the committee disbanded and hounds and horses sold.

But now their neighbouring hunt, the Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire (L&R), proposes to hunt the Eglinton county in tandem with their own for the coming season.

And both hunts hope a new pack can be created to hunt the entire country the following season.

Neville Washington, chairman of the Eglinton, told H&H: “We are being taken to employment tribunal by our former huntsman [Mark Vincent] and the legal fees will be expensive for us whether we win or lose.

“The burden of legal bills meant the hunt committee was not prepared to go on and we have not hunted for the past season.

“But we have known for some time that west of Scotland was not big enough to support two hunts. We now have the opportunity to create a superb slice of hunting for subscribers to both hunts.”

He said the plan to create a new hunt would be put to Eglinton members this autumn.

The expansion into Eglinton territory will benefit the L&R as their sport has diminished in recent years.

Chairman Mark Crichton Maitland said: “Over the past 20 years our country has shrunk as Glasgow has expanded and we have staggered from crisis to crisis.

“For the past few seasons we have had an increase in subscribers [to 15] and more cash in the bank, but we don’t have enough country or supporters to keep going in the long run.

“I am very keen to keep hunts and hunting going and the Eglinton has some fabulous grass country.”

The working name for the new hunt is the Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire and Eglinton Hunt.

MFHA director Alastair Jackson said: “We encourage amalgamation of hunts because it’s important that they are viable. This plan for west Scotland is definitely good news for hunting.”

This article was first published in Horse & Hound (9 July, ’09)

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