Tricky conditions with the Beaufort Hunt as the snow drew in, but a delightful day!
It remains to be said, driving up kennel drive is probably one of the most exciting things I have ever done. To be invited into the Duke of Beaufort's Hunt Kennels is something that I will remember for many years to come. The day itself was remarkable. We had sun (if you could call it that), rain and snow, so the mood was set several times.
Having arrived a few hours early, it meant I could get to know the hunt staff. The Beaufort hunt is a huge operation, and there were various people dashing around from one place to another. I was mainly in the Kennels alongside Poppy and Orlo Clark. Poppy and Orlo, are keen members of the Beaufort community. They regularly come and help out Nick (Kennel-Huntsman) in the kennels when they are on their school holidays. They were my saviour that day, always pointing me in the right direction. It was lovely to get to know the Hunt Staff, everyone was very welcoming and excited for the day to follow. After a cup of tea and a tour of the kennels and yard, I too was ready for the days hunting. Hounds were out, and before long the field followed. I wasn't ready for them to disappear into the park, which led to me frantically racing after them to take a few photos. I soon caught up with them and managed to snap some photographs before they disappeared again!
Throughout the day, I noticed it was getting colder and colder. Before I knew it, it was raining, and then snowing. When I speak of snow, I do not mean little snowdrops, but tangible piles of snow falling from the sky. As beautiful as it was, it made my job slightly harder. After playing around with my camera settings, I once again managed to capture a couple more shots.
I had a fantastic day with the Beaufort. There was a fantastic community in the hunt which I loved being a part from for the day. I cannot thank Matt enough for allowing me to follow for the day. He, alongside his team, showed such compassion for one another, their hounds, and their horses - it was a sincere joy to be a part of.
Fingers crossed, I can relive it again soon!