A slow start does nothing to dampen the spirits as the promise of a second lockdown brings out a record number of followers for a midweek meet before the restrictions bite, writes Rebecca Jordan
Mid Devon, Creaber Gate, Devon, 4 November
It felt chaotic and perturbing as we filtered out in groups of six on to Dartmoor at Creaber Gate. The horses were obviously enjoying the sunshine on their backs; a sharp drop in temperature also lifted their spirits. At last we were free from weeks of debilitating wind and rain.
It was the last day’s hunting before a month’s lockdown. Ever since Boris Johnson’s announcement, texts had winged their way through the Mid Devon ether to find out who could take a day off work; was there a spare horse anywhere? Our new secretary, Hayley Jansz, had her hands full as she checked off everyone from her list and tried to recognise a handful of foot followers through their masks.
Up on the moor, a snipe darted up and away and, as my horse cantered up the track, skylarks lifted out of the gorse bushes. Soon their song filled the sky and, as I looked back, their chatter was matched by the excited greetings emanating from the field.