So landed in London at eight, into the car and away west. I had no traffic, and so I thought why not?
I found out where my favourite English pack was meeting (Thank you, Acorn Saddlery!) and headed that way.
And sure enough, after a refreshing stop with the charming and helpful staff at the Exeter Inn...
It was that same misty valley! Only not quite so misty.
Ant ten minutes later, that mob of black assassins came swirling over the hill, spilling along a line of scent like a swarm of bees. Their cry was marvellous, ripping up the clammy afternoon like lightning.
And a clammy afternoon it was!
But the star of a good long hunt. After a few circles, she came down eventually to a deep, fast river- and crossed! Most of the field were beaten, but this valiant critter went on, up and down heavily forested combes. Hounds were right on her, it was a true test for everyone involved.
At one point she made what I thought was a fatal error, when she stopped and doubled back for a couple of rods, heading right toward onrushing doom. But no, she had just missed her turning, and scrambled up a little gap in the hedge and into the woods. Hounds blew right past, and she put an extra fifty yards between them.
Finally just as dark came on, she ran into a good sized field of (You knew it was coming) gorse- and didn't come out.
And it was decided not to go in and find her.
Well done, Miss- you earned it.
And you earned your ride home!
And so I managed to make myself useful, carrying two subscribers (and then two staff) miles back to the meet to get trailers.
And the lovely and charming one of the subscribers drives farther than I do to hunt!
Here, in the land where "The journey of a hundred miles begins with a plan to stop and spend the night half way."