Here are Chapters 5 and 6 of The Mardale Hunt by Ron Black. Through the courtesy of the author, Foxhunting Life is bringing you the entire book in installments every two weeks. You are free to download the book to your computer. We hope you have enjoyed the previous installments.
Chapter 5 deals with the construction of the dam that holds back the reservoir which submerged Mardale forever. Chapter 6 returns to the memorable days of Joe Bowman and the Ullswater Foxhounds and the songs that were such a huge part of the after-hunt entertainment at the Dun Bull.
Excerpt from Chapter 6
After a good days sport, huntsmen, shepherds, visitors, sheep dogs and terriers (hounds were not admitted) all turn towards the Dun Bull for a meal.
In the evening, a smoking contest took place. Skelton records, “The main portion of the pack, cast off in the large dining room and every room in the house filled with overflow meetings, or rather concerts”
The big room was the focal point, a tray was sent round and money subscribed for the evening’s refreshment. Each individual orders his choice of drink and the chairman pays out of the general pool. Toasts and song follow in quick succession. The chairman selects the singer and everyone is supposed to sing at least one song and there was an element of pride in singing one that had not already been sung that evening. If the song had a good swing or chorus the men got particularly enthusiastic, the shepherds beating the tables with their sticks in time to the tune and the sheep-dogs and terriers howling either in enthusiasm or execration, no man knows which.
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Posted January 16, 2012