Buccleuch Hunt Kennels. January 1982
Buccleuch Hunt Kennels. January 1982
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Once upon a time a popular column in this newspaper was A Day in the Life, in which a reporter and photographer spent time with various workers.

And in January 1982 scribe Hilary Gray (now Mactaggart) and snapper Jane Arres met up with huntsman Lionel Salter and whipper-in George Trotter at the Duke of Buccleuch’s kennels at St Boswells – both men appear in this photograph. Also on hand was kennelman John Brown.

It was an early start for the TheSouthern team, turning up at the kennels at 6.45am on a misty morning. The St Boswells kennels were large and once used as staging kennels in the days when the main base for the hounds was at Dalkeith.

The day involved feeding the animals, coupling young dogs to experienced hounds, and exercising them in the fields while most of St Boswells slept.

Hilary wrote of what she described as the respect the animals had for the huntsman and “sharing between them a language of their own”. Thick mist prevented horses and hounds being exercised together.

The day also included collecting dead stock from nearby farms. Sheep and cattle were taken back to the flesh house at the kennels. Depending on their condition, some of the fallen stock would be fed to the hounds, while the rest would be disposed of as a service to the farmers.

Lionel told how three generations of his family had been huntsmen, but that at first he had shown no interest. He was 14 before a cousin dragged him on to a horse – and he was, he said, hooked.

He worked with the Fernie Hunt in Leicestershire, Bramham Moor in Yorkshire, Croome and Blackmore Vale, and the Quorn Hunt. His first job as a huntsman was with Grove and Rufford and 1982 was his sixth year with the Buccleuch.

The Scottish Government banned hunting with hounds by 83 votes to 36 when it passed the Protection of Wild Mammals Act in February 2002. A ban on hunting in England came into force two years later.

In both countries there were protests from hunt supporters. Five of Scotland’s hunts were in the Borders, and 1,000 people and 150 horses turned out for a demonstration at Kelso Racecourse.

– compiled by Bob Burgess