The early mornings have started in Dorset – we can’t wait for this season’s British foxhunting holidays to begin!

Sunrise as enjoyed by Blackmore & Sparkford Vale subscribers in South-West England.  The B&SV is Blackthorn & Brook's home hunt - great horses, lovely people and country to suit everyone!

Sunrise as enjoyed by Blackmore & Sparkford Vale subscribers in South-West England. The B&SV is Blackthorn & Brook’s home hunt – great horses, lovely people and country to suit everyone!

The long wait

Summer has shifted into her luxuriant dotage. The oaks on the road towards Firtree Farm bear leaves of a dusty, dark green leather, so far from the transparent, near edible crepe of late May.

The heavy exuberance of the summer countryside – Megan and I had to turn back the horses on a bridal path thick with brambles and dog roses today – speaks of imminent autumn hunting.

Despite a schedule of autumn hunting meets issued in mid August (over optimistically perhaps) atrocious weather this summer has set back the agricultural calendar and as of a yet no word. Fields still stand with corn and even uncut silage. Farmers have more to think about than hounds, horses and hellos of ‘summered well?’ amongst long lost sporting friends.

But cut grass and the boom and buzz of tractors on the fields late into the night encourage us. Our new 4-year old from Ireland, Wilf, has had his mane attended to by Megan, and I set about the yard. Perhaps with pots of creosote and plenty of grooming we will bring new season closer.

Until then, I will plagiarise unabashedly from our hunt supporters’ club magazine The Follower. Here is a lovely song of our ‘Blackmore Vale’ which was sung with great gusto at the end of season supper this year. It even makes mention of the Blackthorn of our ilk.

THE SONG OF THE BLACKMORE VALE
1.
There be doughty men in Dorset,
There be boys of bone and brawn,
Who work and smile and sing all day
In the land where they were born.
 

CHORUS:

‘Tis the old, old song of the Huntsman’s horn,
As away down the vale they run;
There’s a splash and a thud, and a roll in the mud,
And fine old Dorset fun,
Then there comes a crash! of the old Blackthorn,
The rend of the rasping rail,
Oh! the sound of the hound and the huntsman’s horn,
The Song of the Blackmore Vale.
2.
When a man goes out from Dorset,
Out to the far, far west,
He longs for his lanes and pasture land,
And the songs that he loves the best.
There’s the song of the kine in the cow-yard,
And the song of the nightingale,
But the song that dwells with a Dorset lad,
Be the Song of the Blackmore Vale.
3.
A man comes back to Dorset,
Back from the lands afar.
No need to yearn for the old milk churn
And the song of the swingle bar
Now shall he bide in Dorset,
Or once again set sail?
When there comes the sound of the huntsman’s horn
Away in the Blackmore Vale