HUNTS defied the continuing poor conditions to meet across Northumberland and England yesterday.
The traditional Boxing Day hunt was observed a day late across the country, due to meets not taking place on Sundays.
Northumberland saw several of the county’s established hunts meet, although normal activities were restricted by snow.
The Tynedale Hunt met as ever at Corbridge Market Place, with riders and hounds taking to the village’s streets – but going no further because of the conditions. Hundreds of people braved the poor conditions to show their support.
The Morpeth Hunt went out on foot from Dyke Neuk while the Haydon Hunt was also out.
The Border Hunt was unable to go out due to the bad weather. Around 50 members instead gathered at the intended starting point, the Percy Arms in Otterburn, for drinks.
Frank Houghton-Brown, joint master of the Tynedale Hunt, said as supporters gathered: “It’s very treacherous underfoot; it’s been snowing and we’re expecting quite a bit more too. But we’ll ride down into the village and meet like we have done for a couple of hundred years. There should be a lot of people watching who have all come down to see us, so that will be great, and depending on how much snow we get we’ll try to go trail hunting afterwards but it may not be fit to do that. People turn out and love it so we keep going.”
The coalition Government has promised to allow MPs a free vote on whether to bring forward legislation to repeal the Hunting Act, but no date has been given for the vote.
George Morrison, honorary secretary of the Border Hunt, said members meeting yesterday remain keen to see the ban on hunting lifted, but that they recognise the Government has other priorities at present. He said: “I think the Government have got better things to involve themselves with and yes we do want repeal but there is a lot more important things in life than the Hunting Act.”
Any repeal is opposed by the League Against Cruel Sports.