Fox hunting continues to thrive as one of the oldest forms of bloodsports still actively pursued in Britain -- despite the rising costs of feedstuffs, bloodstock and kennels.
WINSLOW, BUCKINGHAMSHIRE, U. K. 26 DECEMBER, 1974 REUTERS - LEO WALLER
GV Spcetators watch as hunt assembles (AUDIO OF BAND PLAYING CHRISTMAS CAROLS / HUNTING SONG JOHN PEEL)
SV Huntsmen and hounds
SV Hunsman given stirrup cup
SV Child feeding hounds from bag (2 shots)
SV ZOOM IN Onlookers watch from pub balcony
Background: Fox hunting continues to thrive as one of the oldest forms of bloodsports still actively pursued in Britain -- despite the rising costs of feedstuffs, bloodstock and kennels.
In Winslow, Buckinghamshire, the Hunt met as usual on Boxing Day (26 December). The Hunt has met here for centuries and has hunted through the beautiful Chiltern Hills that form a natural barrier to the western approaches to London. The pack met in the ancient market town,, with riders and followers from all parts of the county congregating for the traditional gathering and for a warming stirrup cup -- the pre-hunt drink served at all such meets.
Fox hunting has navigated a period of intense protest by the anti-bloodsport lobby. Now hunting has adjusted itself to the new period of national austerity. In many cases the usual hunt-following vehicles -- landrovers carrying terrier dogs, Hunt servants and non-riding enthusiasts -- has been reduced. A number of hunts are trying to beat inflation by merging ... cutting down the cost of maintaining two packs of hounds.
But several of the leading hunt manes have retained their individual identity. The Quorn, the Braham Moor and the Pytchley are names that have been carried through hundreds of years of British hunting.
And the Whaddon Chase, which meets regularly at Winslow -- 45 miles (72.3 kilometres) from London -- is another one of these.
The Whaddon Chase enjoys the additional benefit of having Dorian Williams -- one of Britain's top show jumping commentators -- as its joint master.
Moving over the nearby countryside on Boxing day the Whaddon Chase drew several converts (possible hiding places for foxes) and made at least one 'view' (a fox sighting). But the day ended without a 'kill' ... So, even the fox enjoyed his christmas holiday.