Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Willy Poole Column

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Willy Poole Column

Article excerpt

Byline: By Willy Poole

To Alwinton Show ( to judge the Hound Trail. I last had this honour in 1982 and I am ashamed to say that I had not been to the show since.

The reason for this was that in the 80s the show had just got too big and crowded. The reason for this was that the show had been the subject of a TV programme.

As a result of this a large section of Tyne and Wear had realised that Alwinton Show, which had been a quiet little agricultural show for the Coquet herds, was a place with a pub and a large bar in a marquee where conspicuous consumption of alcoholic beverages was possible throughout the day.

The result of this was an invasion of coach borne hordes of heavily tattooed men clad in heavily studded leather who filled both the bar and the pub and themselves to bursting point.

I am a man who enjoys a quiet dram amongst friends. I may on these occasions get "gey fu" but seldom to bursting point.

However, on this occasion the committee had decided that as this was likely to be Willy Poole's last Alwinton Show, it might as well get the old bugger down and whilst he was there he might as well judge the Hound Trail. This is a great honour, but, it has to be said not without a modicum of personal risk, which I will explain as not all readers may be familiar with the business of Hound Trailing.

It is a phenomenon that is peculiar to the North-West of England and most especially to the Lake District where it was born. In the Lakes it is the custom for the working hounds of the foxhound packs to "go out to walk" during the summer. They usually go back to the farms where they were raised as puppies.

This cuts down the expenses of the kennels during the summer and the custom used to be that the professional huntsman was assured work as a herd during the summer. With a hound at their disposal during the summer, some farmers used to make a scent trail and let their hounds run it in competition with a neighbour or two. Human nature being what it is, a bet or two might be taken on the result. From this beginning, Hound Trailing evolved into a separate sport. …

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