WITH THE HOUNDS ON A MOTOR CYCLE.
By ARNOLD RADCLYFFE.
MUCH has been written lately concerning the relations between motorists and huntsmen, every motoring sportsman, by his very title as such, should be in a position to see fair play where hounds are involved. No one would like a pack of hounds, or even one hound,
to make a sudden appearance on the track in front of him during a race ; it would spoil all sport and perhaps end in disaster.
In the same manner, when a car, motor-cycle, or worse still a line of such evil-smelling machines, crosses the trail of a fox or heads it off, a whole day’s sport may be spoiled for the field in some counties, where foxes do not abound in every covert.
Nevertheless by the use of a little common sense and in some cases a half minute’s conversation with a local keeper, it is easy to see nearly everything of the run almost without the field being aware of one’s existence.
I remember one day a friend and I both crocked our horses in the same manner, namely they over-reached and cut their pasterns and we were without a mount for the meet on the morrow.
I proposed following on foot, but as this was in Lincolnshire and very open country we would soon have been lost, so eventually we decided to take out our iron steeds, a Douglas and an Indian. At the last minute the Douglas developed symptoms of magneto trouble so we both turned up at the meet on my Indian. Two coverts were drawn before a fox was found and
by the time we were back to the machine, hounds and horsemen had screamed away across country towards Wellingore. We knew pretty well the line the fox ought to take and getting astride the Indian, off we went, taking care to keep on the high ground and on the side into which the fox would be least likely to turn owing to the wind.
After making a detour we found that the road was no longer any use as it was taking us too far away from the likely run of the hunt, so finding a muddy turning to the right we proceeded up it only to find a cul-de-sac and a ploughed field. On stopping the engine we were, however,, overjoyed to hear a horn in the far distance.
That field had to be crossed, so slipping in bottom gear we tackled the dark Lincolnshire loam and had covered about a hundred and fifty yards of this when we reached a broad deep ditch through which we went only to find more ploughed land.
It was uphill all the time, but after negotiating one more field and a hedge, we came out on top to some pasture land, and on the other side of the valley below we saw the whole field in full cry streaming out across the hillside, brown and white, red and black, a gorgeous sight.
We knew we would have to make for the road as they would more likely follow the line of the valley for some time.
It was a delightful descent over grass, but on reaching the foot of the hill we noticed that hounds had veered round to the north again and then they disappeared over the rise and we contemplated the return journey over the hill. At that moment, however, hounds again appeared on the crest and then seemed to be at a loss for some minutes.
We were both standing on a gate when my friend let off a strident “View Holloa,” and turning round I just caught sight of Reynard crossing the road some two hundred yards back. I joined in the cry and in a few seconds huntsmen and hounds were tearing back down the hill and passing us went galloping down the road. The dogs soon got the scent again and were off to the south.
We, quite forgetting the machine, dashed after the huntsmen and had a few minutes breathless run well in front of the rest of the hunt.
It was not to last long, however, for the fox went to earth near a small stream and just before the railway lines.
A few minutes wait and men appeared as they always do on these occasions, armed with spades. Blocking all leads except two, the terrier was sent down and in a very short time—the earth was a small shallow one— the fox was away again and after the requisite time had expired, the pack was after him. We followed and were thankful tint he was doubling on his previous course.