On the Scent of a Unique Canine Sport

January 29th, 2024

On the Scent of a Unique Canine Sport

Jane Hunt gets on the scent of a historic and traditional canine sport that is largely these days confined to the beautiful countryside of Cumbria, or as some people may better know this  part of the UK – the Lake District.

This is a part of northern England in which Catapult PR, handles PR and content briefs for a number of travel and tourism clients who recognise that being a travel PR company is one of Catapult PR’s strengths.

 In fact, it was through working on the promotion of the traditional Cumbrian event, Grasmere Lakeland Sports and Show, that award-winning Catapult PR itself first became aware of – and absorbed by – hound trailing.

Jane discovers all there is to know about this dog-focused sport, which involves trail hounds following their noses, to race to the finish line, having expertly followed a trail of aniseed and paraffin.  This can be across what can be very tough Cumbria fellside terrain, with many an obstacle enroute to the prize money and trophy.

It is certainly a spectacle to behold, whether that’s to see the energy of the hounds or the enthusiasm of the owners and is a far cry from chasing fox hounds.  In this sport, no animals are chased and it’s simply a canine version of orienteering – or something akin to that in the doggy world.

However, it is a sport that needs the glorious fellsides of the Lake District – fairly significant hills, if you are not aware of the term of ‘fell’.  It is also a sport that is traditional and so subject to all the dangers of extinction that come from youngsters growing up in a high-tech world full of gadgets and computer games.

By talking to various members of the Hound Trailing Association, some of whom are also trail hound owners, Jane learns all about the sport, its origins, the thrill of taking part in it as a hound owner and breeder, or just watching it as a spectator amidst some of the most spectacular scenery in the UK.

She then, however, also learns just what a challenge it is to keep this very unique and traditional, historic sport alive today and why it is so important to do so, to ensure this element of Cumbrian culture is not lost.

By exploring the story, she finds something that could enrich social life and add a new interest to life, even perhaps if you don’t live locally and just follow your dog’s fortunes from afar.

With so many options to get involved and a welcoming group of current hound owners keen to bring in new blood and ensure the sport’s future, listening to what goes on may just lead to a brand-new hobby and the acquisition of a new social circle.

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