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All in a day’s work: The school beagle pack master *H&H Plus*

Tom Gurney on swapping rugby for beagling, skipping lessons to get to the kennels and what he’s learnt from being immersed in the rural community

On my first morning at Stowe, aged 13, I woke up and missed my first lesson because I went straight down to see the beagles at the kennels. When I’d arrived with my father the night before, I saw the hounds being exercised in the Grecian Valley in the school’s grounds, with the sun going down on them, and I wanted to find out what it was all about.

My father Richard Gurney has been the master of the Old Surrey Burstow and West Kent for 12 seasons, and he was field master for two years before that, and so I’ve hunted my whole life.