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HUNTING SONGS VOL 2 A REVIEW BY NEIL SALISBURY

 

Ron Black is a Cumbrian whose ancestors can be traced back several hundred years and have been immersed in the local hunting culture for as long. Over the last few years he has been extremely prolific in producing a superb series of small books tracing the history of hunting in his native Cumbria. These books have been well researched, and whilst not especially grand tomes have been extremely popular by being succinct, extremely well focused on their individual topics, reasonably priced and have secured an important place in many a hunting bookcase.

Ron has recently followed up his successful book produced last year of Lakeland Hunting Songs with Hunting Songs Volume 2 – Lakeland Songs which gives us more of the same. It has always been a great tradition up here in the fells for supporters of the Fell Packs to pen vocal tributes to memorable hunts, famous huntsmen and even hounds from both past & present. Some years ago I myself compiled a History of the Coniston Foxhounds, based on contemporary hunting reports in the local and national press of the time and realised just how important a sing song has been to the Dalesmen of the Lakes for hundreds of years. I found many amazingly descriptive reports of hunt suppers, Merry Neets, Harvels of the past.

I personally remember standing up to sing a song at a Supper for the first time, many years ago, and still recall the nerves of performing amongst well-seasoned singers at the tender age of 12. Once the hunting community learned that someone could sing, then they were always in great demand and pressured to attend any supper where there was to be a sing song. My Dad was a good singer as well, and in those days, as there were Hunt Supper’s almost every week of the season around the Coniston Hunt country we were regularly expected to attend and perform together, thankfully Mum was usually the taxi driver! Dad was also a closet poet and used to compose his own hunting songs whilst sitting at the lathe in the local engineering works where he was employed.

Times have changed and the evenings which have been a regular part of fell hunting for centuries have greatly diminished and the numbers of hunters prepared to perform has also waned. As such, many of the traditional songs and ditties are in danger of being lost forever. As these are such a vital part of our heritage, this would be disastrous and for the sake of our history it is so important that as many of them as possible are saved for posterity.

The Melbreak Foxhounds produced a lovely little book back in the early 70’s, simply entitled Songs of the Fell Packs, and this rapidly became the bible for many a singer at hunting sing songs. In producing his two volumes of Hunting Songs, Ron has added greatly to the number of historical songs which will be preserved. Whilst some of them were already recorded in the Melbreak book, it is very refreshing to find many others which he has traced through a plethora of other published material. I know from my own experience, how time consuming this can be, spending day after day ploughing through the archives and it is to Ron’s great credit that he has persevered, not only with the Song books, but with his other works as well. Whilst the efforts can be very frustrating, it is always well worth it when you see the final result printed and on the Bookshop shelves.

One of the things I like with Volume 2, is the way that Ron has interspersed a number of lovely little hunting stories and anecdotes. Some are historical whilst others are the result of Ron’s own experiences and are written in such a way as any reader, especially those of us who have grown up with the fell packs, can recognise as fairly typical of our own experiences from our youth.

This is a super little book, well researched, nicely presented and very worthy of joining it’s stable mates on your hunting bookshelf.

Neil Salisbury, Hon Secretary Central Committee of Fell Packs.

Available from cumbrian-lad@hotmail.co.uk price £9.99 inc p and p

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Lakeland Hunting Songs Vol 2 Review by J. Mallett

 

All those years ago when Ron and I were at school together, never did I think I would be a huntsman for a fell pack for 29 seasons and Ron would be writing books on fell hunting in Lakeland? Once again Ron has written an excellent book about Lakeland hunting capturing songs and anecdotes. Without Ron's dedicated research into Lakeland hunting as it was in years gone by a lot of these stories and songs would be lost for ever. This book is very reasonable priced and makes wonderful and interesting reading. I can only speak highly of his book "Hunting songs volume two" and look forward to volume three.

 

Available from Gone2Ground books price £9.99 inc p and p

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Just finished reading "It Was Not An Ideal Hunting Morning" The history of the Ullswater Foxhounds Part 2.

What an excellent book this is. Very well researched. Anyone with an interest in fell hunting ought to buy this book.

I've been told it will not be reprinted so get a copy while you can.

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The new book “The Flying Whip” the story of Brait Wilson Ullswater hunt servant 1911 – 1933 will be available from Monday 11th August. The life and times of a fell huntsman told using newspaper reports and other contempory material, Soft back, approx 200 pages at A5 with approx 50000 words. Price £25 inc p and p (UK mainland) other destinations please contact for prices) Note this book is a limited print run of 100 copies with no re print. The book is being launched at Lowther on Saturday 9th August by Countryman’s Weekly. Where yours truly will be available, between 12 – 2 in their tent.

Expressions of interest are being accepted and a non-refundable deposit of £5 guarantees a copy

For further details e mail me at cumbrian-lad@hotmail.co.uk

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It's a good read folks and I had fun helping Ron out with his research. Brait proved to be a bit of an enigma right to the end. Good luck with it Ron

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Available 12TH December from Gone2Ground books, approx 260 pages at A5, B AND W Illustrations, the story of Auld Hunty using referenced material, the first book on Bowman since 1921. Limited to 250 copies with no re-print. price £25 inc p and ppost-59971-0-52455900-1416120358_thumb.png

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Just took delivery of "BOWMAN" from Ron. After a quick glance through it, it looks like any other book but the contents tell another story. This is a book packed facts and figures, a miscellany on the life of Joe Bowman and the Ullswater Foxhounds and of life in the lake district during his tenure as huntsman. If you're a supporter of fell hunting and fell hounds, take a copy off Ron's hands, you will not be disappointed. This is very hard to put down. Thanks Ron

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UNSOLICITED REVIEW BY HERDWICK

 

Having read the other books written by Ron Black, when he told me that he was going to write about Joe Bowman I immediately asked him to save me a copy.

It duly arrived a few days ago.

I must say I have found it hard to put down! Many years ago, I read Skelton’s book about Bowman but this new one is riveting. It is research based, and many hours of research has gone into it.

But it is something more than research that makes this book what it is.

An excellent read, I thoroughly recommend this book to anyone who follows, or has followed hounds, regardless of whether it was one of the fell packs.

 

In my opinion a very worthy successor to W.C.Skelton’s Reminiscences of Joe Bowman.

Edited by craggers

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Just been in loft and found a box of over-printed books, The History of the Ullswater Foxhounds 1863 - 1913 and Vol 2 1914 - 1965

 

GOOD RESPONSE TO ORIGINAL ADVERT ONLY A FEW COPIES LEFT

 

Also Bowman (Auld Hunty) his life and times, the first book since 1921

The Flying Whip (Brait Wilson)

Finally The Mardale Shepherds Meet ( the only book recording the history of the world-famous hunt and merry making in the now flooded Mardale Valley)

 

will sign if required

 

ASKING PRICE £10 PER BOOK PLUS £2 POST AND PACKING

 

SPECIAL OFFER ALL 5 BOOKS FOR £55 INC P AND P

 

MAKE GOOD ITEMS FOR AUCTION AT HUNT FUND RAISING

 

 

They will never be re-printed when they are gone thats it

Edited by craggers

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