Coakham Bloodhounds in Scotland
(Click on pictures, courtesy of Sue Wheeler, to enlarge)

The Hunting

On Wednesday 12th November, the Coakham Bloodhounds arrived at the crack of dawn to stay and hunt with the Borders Bloodhounds. Accommodation for the hounds was kindly provided by The Lord and Lady Palmer, whilst the humans stayed with various members of the BB.

Judging by the picture on the right, they must have made a detour on route to Duns and must have got a bit too close to Torness!

Unfortunately there was also a hole in the lorry floor and thebloodhound in the foreground (Dinky) wore down its legs because it fell through and had to run all 470 miles!

"Let us out, or shorty gets it!"

Does my bum look big in this?

Of course organizing a days hunting involves a lot of planning. Blobbie wants all the hunts to be downhill, Nic wants it all to be on clean grass with no stock in sight, Sue wants it to have jumps near the road so she can get plenty of photographs and Jeremy wants it to be well away from any potential problems that he might have to clear up afterwards. In the end a compromise is achieved. The quarries ignore all instructions and please themselves!

So the first day is from Nether Moneynut where John and Elsie Thompson provide generous hospitality to keep the wind and the rain out. The rain not as bad as last year, but it was threatening. However hounds hunted well despite the wind. So well in fact that on the first hunt the hounds caught the quarry within the first mile. Had Blobbie broken down again? No he had been watching the ground so carefully that he missed the first turn and had to retrace his steps. Unfortunately for him the hounds did not miss the turn.

"Ere Nic, I fink I got it wrong again"

"Now I want you to go up the road......."
The second meet of the Bonkyl was at Bonkyl, the home of our Joint Honorary Hunt Secretary Ann Shaw and her husband Neil. The weather was excellent and the drink was flowing freely, which promised to reduce the size of some of the jumps we would have to face. Of course we won't mention the fact that Nic sent Whipper-in Alex Wheeler in completely the wrong direction for the first hunt!
This photograph, as were all before, was taken by Sue Wheeler and would make a brilliant Christmas card. Sue certainly could give up the day job and become a professional photographer. Taken on Marygold by Bonkyl Church at the end of the last day.

"Thank god it's over, perhaps they'll piss off home now!"

The last day from Bonkyl was over some of the best of our country. Plenty of jumping including a substantial stone wall. Over the three days Coakham Quarry Captains Adrian Pace and Chris Wheeler were joined by BB Quarry Captain Les Turnbull and quarries John Pigg, Ron Hastings, David Affleck, Chris Tiffiny and Tim McCall, to give the mounted followers some excellent sport. We are most grateful to them all. I believe Chris and Les did all the hunts on all the days.

We could not have wished for better conditions, the weather was right, the hounds in top form and we enjoyed the hospitality of the best farmers and landowners in Britain. Shame about the miserable sod on the left!

The Entertainment

Despite appeals for photographic evidence of the various bad behavior of Coakham hunt members, none have been forthcoming as yet. That is probably because BB members are using them for blackmail purposes!

The weekend got off to an excellent start with dinner at Ayton Castle kindly put on by David Liddell Grainger and Christine, Lady de la Rue MBH.

The evening soon degenerated into a rough game of Freda in the Billiard Room. At last this year the BB cheated better than the Coakham.

Ugh! Fancy standing next to that great hairy, fat ugly bastard. You would think the bear would know better!

The Saturday was the night of the Ceilidh (Scottish word for tribal dancing) and the Coakies took to reeling like a stone takes to water. Nigel Dean MBH was a very generous contributor to the Auction of Promises and his partner had people tripping over their tongues as they waddled round the floor! Sam Field took on Jeremy Whaley MBH on the dance floor, but forgot the golden rule; don't let go when you are being spun round! Adrian Pace gave us his "Jethro" which may have been a bit of a culture shock for some of them! Mind you that was before Adrian opened his mouth!!

The final dinner was at The Craw Inn at Auchcrow. There were many moving speeches made at this event and a number of funny stories. Jeremy Whaley MBH thanked the Joint Masters of the Coakham for bringing their hounds to Scotland to entertain us, but in particular he thanked Nic and Sue Wheeler whose kindness in giving hounds and advice to him ensured a successful start to the Borders Bloodhounds. Jeremy also thanked the quarries and reminded everyone present that without them we would have no sport.

Nic Wheeler MBH, Roger Manning MBH, Nigel Dean MBH and Quarry Captain Adrian Pace also made kind speeches praising the Joint Masters of the Borders Bloodhounds for their success in getting this new hunt off the ground. They said they were aware of the difficulties facing the Borders Bloodhounds, but were all adamant that such a successful pack should not be permitted to fold following the retirement of the Senior Joint Master, Jeremy Whaley. They also reminded us just how lucky we are to have such a beautiful country to hunt in and such hospitable farmers and landowners.

There can be little doubt that a close bond has developed between these two hunts and I am sure everyone hopes that there will be many more weekends like this to come