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Here you will find reviews of, selections from, and commentaries concerning books, many of which don't even appear on Amazon's radar. But what goldmines for the literate foxhunter!

The Mardale Hunt: Installment I

black.ron.portraitAuthor Ron BlackOnce upon a time there was a village—now submerged under a man-made lake—in the Mardale valley in the English Lake District. The occupants of the village were shepherds who tended their sheep high on the rugged fells surrounding the valley. Each year they would meet to exchange strayed sheep, and from these humble beginnings The Mardale Shepherds Meet—best-known of all the meets of the Lakeland Fell foxhound packs—began.

Foxhunting Life, through the courtesy of author Ron Black, is pleased to bring you Installment I of The Mardale Hunt, the first book ever written about this famous meet. It is being published here in a series of instalments which you are free to download as PDF files.

“I am a native Lakelander,” writes Black, “the fourth generation to follow hounds, with ancestors who stood on the cold tops at dawn, moved the heavy Lakeland stone to free trapped terriers, and also carried the horn on occasions....Hunting will not come back in the foreseeable future, perhaps not at all, but for three hundred years hunting and the church were the central thread to many communities. This is a part of the story."

We think you will be moved by this touching account of life, loss, and hunting in the Lakeland fells.

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Posted November 21, 2011

Special Offer: The Songs of Foxhunting

mackay-smith.alex.tony_leeBrand New, First Edition (1974), signed by the author

“Foxhunting and music are as inseparable as bread and butter, whether it be the music of hounds, of the horn, or of ‘John Peel,’” wrote the late Alexander Mackay-Smith in the preface to his book The Songs of Foxhunting.

Mackay-Smith spent ten years collecting the music, the lyrics, seventy-seven illustrations, and the background and color behind twenty songs that foxhunters have loved to sing for over two centuries. The book was published in 1974 by the American Foxhound Club.

Through the courtesy of Mrs. Mackay-Smith, Foxhunting Life is proud to offer a limited number of brand new, first edition, signed-by-the-author copies directly from our Bookstore.

The Mardale Hunt: Chapter 2

mardale.ch2Picking out the straysHere’s Chapter 2 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 enjoyed the first installment.

“As long as there are sheep on the fells, there’ll be a Mardale Meet. I’m good for a few more yet....” (Isaac Cookson on the occasion of his sixty-first attendance in 1952)

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 (To access downloads of previous installments, click here.)

Posted December 1, 2011

The Mardale Hunt: Chapter 3

bowman.joe.ullswaterUllswater huntsman Joe BowmanHere’s Chapter 3 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 enjoyed the previous installments.

Excerpt from Chapter 3:
As I was sitting at tea in the Dun Bull the dogs barked and ran furiously into the road. “Dogs is likely coomin’,” said the servant lass, and in another moment Joe Bowman the well-known huntsman of the Ullswater pack and a couple of hounds entered the kitchen. “Git oot wilt tha,” he cried, and the dogs disappeared like a flash of lightning, then taking his huntsman's cap off, the stout-built man with the sturdy determined look and close-cut moustache, a man whose face had been weathered into mahogany with a touch of colour in the stain, bowed to the company and was soon at home with us all.

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(To access downloads of previous installments, click here.)

Posted December 14, 2011