Of the thousands of people who visited Lowther Show over the weekend, many of them came and saw the spectacle that is the Lowther Hound Show. Lowther is probably one of the best shop windows for hunting in the country for the general public and this year visitors were rewarded with a cracker!
With nearly six hundred entries and forty packs from around the country showing hounds, it promised to be a bumper weekend, but when you add hound displays and parades of Bassets, Otterhounds, Bloodhounds, Beagles, Harriers, Welsh, Fell, Hill & Studbook Foxhounds in a dedicated hunting area into the mix it really surpassed all expectations. And we’ve not mentioned the Junior Handler and Amateur Judging Competitions which were so successful this year that they have now become a permanent part of the show.
Lowther Saturday is Foxhound Day and 2016 saw the reintroduction of the Studbook Foxhound Show and we’re extremely grateful to the packs that came and supported this. Judged by Trevor Adams and Tim Easby, strong classes ended with Percy Spokesman being crowned Champion with Albrighton Woodland Springtime as Reserve. The Fellhounds on their home turf put on a tremendous show. Judged by former Fell Huntsman Chris Ogilvie, the Eskdale & Ennerdale swept the board to such an extent that Edmund & Linda Porter will have to purchase a new sideboard for the trophies. E & E Duchess being Fell Hound Champion with E & E Roamer the reserve.
We are continually grateful for the Welsh Packs continuing to support Lowther Hound Show. They travel many miles each year, albeit with plenty of stops for refreshments, and entertain us royally both in the ring and throughout the nights with singing from the hound camping area worthy of the best Eisteddfod (well maybe not). A great show judged by Maurice Hughes saw David Savage break the Gelligaer stranglehold on the Champion Salver with Teme Valley Dwryain taking the Champion Welsh Hound with Llanwrythwl Dalesman as Reserve.
Once again there was an excellent show of Hillhounds who travelled from afar afield as Wales and Scotland, ably judges by Walter Jeffrey. Class winners were fairly evenly spread with the Border, North Tyne and College Valley all picking up red rosettes, but it was the Dumfrieshire & Stewartry who came out on top. Their lovely bitch hound Bargain just pipping College Valley Gaffer for the Wybergh Trophy for Champion Hillhound, Gaffer getting the Reserve prize.
The quality of all the finalists was so high that the Judges struggled to choose the 2016 Supreme Champion Foxhound. Firmly deadlocked between two of the four finalists, the casting vote from Tim Easby went to Dumfrieshire & Stewartry Bargain who became the 2016 Lowther Hound Show Supreme Champion Foxhound and collected The Lowther Trophy.
The highlight of this year’s Foxhound Show has to be the Junior Handler competition which took place in the lunch interval. With a ring crammed with children with Foxhounds of all types, our photographers couldn’t get enough pictures and those images that were taken deserve to be published around the country because they show that the future of our sport is guaranteed by today’s youngsters who are tomorrow’s hunters. Many thanks to the Hunting Office for their support of this new venture, Ian Wear for being such an entertaining judge and Geoff Cox for buying all the kids an ice cream afterwards, a somewhat rash decision when he found out what a northern ice cream costs.
Lowther Sunday is Harehound Day and was no less exciting than Saturdays show. In the Harrier ring stiff competition saw Harrier Judges James Barclay and Gareth Watchman opting for the Holcombe Daystar as their Champion, beating Holcombe Diva to collect the Tom Bannister Memorial Trophy. A record number of Beagle entries saw a great show with the Ampleforth slightly dominant, although class winners also included the Black Combe, Newcastle and District and Hunsley Beacon. Judges Geoffrey Cox and Lizzie Hacking however opted for a local Champion in Black Combe & District Wonder who just pipped Ampleforth Beckford to receive the Metcalfe – Gibson Salver for Champion Beagle.
It was the Black Combe’s Day in the Championship with Wonder just edging Holcombe Daystar to allow Black Combe Joint Master and Huntsman Michael Cummings to collect the Wensleydale Harriers Salver for Supreme Champion Harehound.
With the Junior Harehound Handlers Competition and the Amateur Judging Competition of Fellhounds ably judged by Michael Bannister and a very nervous Tim Bonner, Lowther on a Sunday is no less a hunting jamboree than the previous day.
Lowther’s Hunting Arena and the Hound Show Marquee add greatly to the atmosphere of the show and we are ever grateful to Countryman Fairs who give huge support along with our Sponsors, advertisers and donors. Hunting displays and hound parades take place several times over the weekend and this year visitors had the opportunity of seeing the Burne Bloodhounds, The Westerby & the Barony Bassets and the wonderful Tecklegarth Otterhound Team who are working so hard to keep this endangered breed alive. With their hounds going back to Dumfrieshire & Kendal & District lines, they provided a great addition to the show. Grateful thanks to Michael Sagar for once again providing superb commentary on the parades. Lowther Hound Parades tend to be rather chaotic because hounds of every size and breed are in in the ring at the same time. A fell huntsman may find himself being interviewed whilst surrounded by Bassets & Beagles and a Beagle Huntsman by Fellhounds. A great challenge for Michael but amazing fun for everyone else.
Here’s to Lowther 2017, we can’t wait!