Having lived in cities all of my life, it’s not often that I watch Countryfile on the BBC. But last night as I was wrapping Christmas presents and waiting for Strictly Come Dancing to start I found myself watching just that. Imagine my surprise when I found an item about hunting with hounds (which I’m very much opposed to) riveting and actually relevant to me. Tally ho!
Since the hunting ban came into force, a sport called “hunting the clean boot” has gained popularity. Instead of a fox, riders on horseback and their Bloodhounds chase a runner. Now, rest assured, this runner is consenting – they don’t just pick a random, unsuspecting runner. And when the hounds catch said runner apparently the worst he can expect is a big slobberly lick from one of the dogs.
One of the Countryfile presenters, Ellie Harrison, volunteered to be chased by the pack and accompanied regular ‘clean booter’ (I think that’s what he should be called) Lee Mansfield. Lee has never been caught by the hounds so I was a little worried that, with Ellie slowing him down, he was about to discover that he might be in for more than a big kiss off a Bloodhound. She put in a good effort but ultimately led Lee to his first defeat – but there was no snarling and showing of teeth – and the hounds were well behaved too.
I do love dogs, and I do love running – but having 30 Bloodhounds chasing me is not my idea of a relaxing Sunday run. I think I’ll be leaving this one to Lee for now.