More than 100 people took part in the first every National Basset Hunting Day in Oxfordshire on 1 February. The event was organised by the Masters of Basset Hounds Association (MBHA) and kindly hosted by the Masters, and supporters, of the Fourshires Basset Hounds.
Visitors from all parts of Great Britain, including Scotland and Wales, ensured that each of the eight packs of Basset hounds registered with the MBHA was represented. Some of the other member packs turned the event into a ‘weekend away’ for their regular supporters, with a number staying locally and supporting a number of pubs, hotels and B&Bs.
Like all the best hunting days, things began with sit-down Breakfast near Chipping Norton providing a chance for the 60 or so people who had travelled the furthest to refresh themselves and for those who were new to the area and the sport to meet their hosts, including Fourshires Joint Masters Rosie Wilson, Will Tidy and Libby Cooke. Among the masters and hunt staff from other packs, the Chairman, President and Secretary of the MBHA were also present, as was the new director of the AMHB, Richard Tyack.
After breakfast it was off to the meet where Will welcomed the field and thanked their host for the day, as well as all the generous Oxfordshire farmers who make their land available to the Fourshires.
Will explained that a number of trails had been pre-laid across the country, with further trials being laid during the day. Fourshires huntsman Wayne Keeble and his enthusiastic team of hunt staff turned out twelve and a half couple of hounds in excellent condition, who picked up the first line shortly after moving off and spoke with the great deep voice that only Basset hounds can command.
Throughout the day Wayne and his team of whippers-in displayed great skill, keeping the large field entertained throughout the day with busy hounds. As often happens in the field, one of the best runs came at the end of the day, where the 40 or so members of the field who had stayed out witnessed superb hound work before darkness fell and Wayne blew for home.
After a chance to clean up and change, some 80 people sat down for an evening dinner including a main course of locally sourced venison. As guest of Honour, retired huntsman of the Duke of Beaufort’s hounds, Tony Holdsworth soon had the guests in fits of laughter with his stories from his career in the field, and well as subsequently as the producer of Silver Fox Gin. The day ended with MBHA Chairman thanking everyone involved, and in particularly Rosie Wilson and her team, for organising such a fantastic event.
Feedback from the day has proved what an overwhelming success the event was, and it is almost certainly that while it was the first, it will not be the last Nation Basset Hunting Day.
Rosie Wilson, Joint Master of the Fourshires Basset Hounds, said: “It has taken six months since the idea of a National Basset Hunting Day was suggested, and it has been great to see everyone from across the Basset hunting community pull together to make the event a success. In particular I’d like to thank my joint Masters and our hunt staff, as well as all of our hosts over the weekend, without whom it would have been impossible to put the event together. “Wayne has done a fantastic job since joining us as huntsman at the end of last season and it was great that we had the opportunity to show other people the great hound work that we have been enjoying all season.” (all images courtesy of Greg Knight Rural Shots)Tags: Basset